Since 1993, CISA has been working to strengthen farms by engaging the community to build the local food economy.
CISA’s Local Hero campaign is the longest running “buy local” program in the country, and it has grown into a comprehensive public awareness and marketing effort with 400 local business members. Farmers, specialty food producers, retailers, and wholesale buyers, find out how what membership in Local Hero program can do for your business!
From starting a new farm to marketing and expanding an existing one, CISA offers a wide range of technical assistance to farmers and other Local Hero members: workshops, one-on-one consulting, online resources, and more.
Local Food For All
CISA’s Senior FarmShare program subsidizes summer CSAs for low-income seniors, providing them with 10 weeks of local healthy produce. In 2019, we will serve 420 seniors in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties receive farm shares from one of 11 farm partners. Most seniors that participate in Senior FarmShare report that it has a significant impact in improving their overall diet.
HIP (Healthy Incentives Program)
The Healthy Incentives Program, or HIP, offers individuals and families in Massachusetts receiving SNAP benefits (formerly called Food Stamps) a automatic rebate on purchases of fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and CSAs. CISA works with a coalition of organizations throughout the state to ensure that farmers and markets are well equipped to serve HIP customers, and to advocate for continued funding for the program.
Emergency Farm Fund
CISA created this fund in 2011, in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Equity Trust, in response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. The Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses struggling to meet their immediate needs in the aftermath of severe weather events and other emergencies.