This is the perfect time to order takeout!
Whether it's a special treat for Valentine's Day, something warming for these cold nights, or just a tasty break from cooking: order in!

Find Local Hero restaurants here, along with details about COVID adaptations like curbside pickup and expanded menu offerings.
Let's keep local restaurants going
It’s almost hard to remember the feeling of being in a busy restaurant on a weekend night. Many of us are really missing that connection to a casual social fabric, and being in the spaces that foster it, as COVID-19 has required us to withdraw into our homes and pods. Even as local restaurants have hustled to keep their doors open and keep serving their communities, this has been a tough year for them. What are the places that you want to be able to return to when the pandemic is over? They could use your support now!

Get to know a couple Local Hero chefs
Local Hero Profile: Alice's Kitchen at Honey Hill Homestead

“We feed our friends and neighbors in times of hardship and in times of celebration, and all the ordinary days and ways in-between,” says Alice Cozzolino, owner of Alice's Kitchen in Cummington.
Valley Bounty: Nourish Wellness Cafe

Northampton's Nourish Wellness Cafe started with a vision for an eatery where, as co-owner Ethan Vandermark put it, “after enjoying anything on the menu, you’d leave feeling satisfied and happy for your body and the world.”
WRSI Local Hero Spotlight: Fitzwilly's

Fitzwilly's Restaurant has been a fixture of downtown Northampton for decades. They've rolled with the punches this year, offering every kind of dining imaginable (almost), to keep serving our community.
WRSI Local Hero Spotlight: Local

Beware, you may crave burger-y goodness after listening (meat-eaters and veggies alike) to chef and owner Jeff Igneri share Local's story.
Field Notes is back -- and we want to hear your story!
We’re excited to share that CISA’s Field Notes: An Evening of Storytelling and Connection will be back this spring -- and we’re looking for storytellers! Field Notes features community members telling true, personal stories on the theme of local food or farming in western Massachusetts. Do you have a story you'd love to share? Pitch it to us by March 19th and you could be part of this year's (COVID-conscious, online) show!

CISA is hiring: Program Coordinator
Are you interested in providing farmers with the resources they need to implement practical and meaningful changes to their operations? Are you knowledgeable about business and employee management?

You might be a great fit for the Program Coordinator position currently open at CISA! We are hiring a full-time Coordinator to join our Farm and Business Support Team.

Local Hero profile: Dufresne's Sugar House
Maple season is coming! CISA intern Talia Brown talked with Keith Dufresne of Dufresne's Sugar House in Wiliamsburg, and she writes, "The story Keith told me during our conversation was one of constant change, constant improvement, and constant care, living within the rhythms of season and syrup. As Keith said, he lived every season, and his pride for the syrup he produces is clear.

Column: What sort of food system do we want to build?
The winter always brings an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to look ahead to the promise and hope of the new year, and this is more important than ever as we consider what “returning to normal” might mean. What are the old ways of doing things that we shouldn’t carry forward, and what should we bring with us into the future?

The pandemic brought previously hidden realities about our food system into the light: our utter reliance on essential food system workers, the number of people in our community who live one lost paycheck away from hunger, and the brittle design of our industrial food system.

It also showed the immense positive impact that grassroots efforts, community work, and robust state support can have.

Refugee and immigrant farmers are looking for land.
Can you help?
Refugee and immigrant farmers in the Springfield area are building a food system by and for the community. They know intimately the needs and strengths of their communities and are working together to build a just local food system, one that is led by and serving some of our most marginalized neighbors.

Secure access to land is the number one barrier refugee and immigrant farmers face. Structural inequalities and wealth disparities bar these farmers from individually purchasing farmland, and land leases are often short-term. All Farmers -- a Springfield-based nonprofit -- is working with these farmers to find and acquire a piece of farmland for 60 multigenerational farm families.

Join us in local land redistribution, and building a just food system by helping us secure a permanent farming home for refugees and immigrants in the Springfield area. If you have land in Hampden County that might meet the needs of the farmers, please contact Hannah Spare at, or by phone at 413-342-0064. Don’t have land but want to get involved? Learn more at, and please spread the word!
Local Hero enrollment is open now!
Farmers, restaurateurs, retailers, specialty food producers, and institutional buyers, this is the time to join CISA’s flagship program and become a Local Hero member! Boost your business, reach new customers, and access all the resources CISA has to offer. We're offering a sliding scale this year so that fees won't be a barrier during this crisis.

Quick Links

Check out our press page for news stories about local farms and local agriculture, along with our weekly interview series on WRSI, monthly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and more!

Job opportunities, land, equipment.
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1 Sugarloaf Street,
South Deerfield, MA 01373