‘Buy local’ group wins state grant

The Recorder, November 14, 2017, by Andy Castillo

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s “buy-local” marketing push has received a boost from the state.

The Sugarloaf Street agriculture promotion nonprofit received $46,635 of $297,000 in grants issued by the Gov. Baker administration to regional food organizations throughout the state.

Specifically, CISA will work with other regional farming agencies at farmers markets, conferences and events promoting Community Supported Agriculture food buying models, and recently updated information available online.

“The CISA award funds the expansion and refinement of their ‘Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown’ marketing campaign, which helps to increase cash receipts for farmers by increasing the direct marketing of locally produced agricultural products,” said Peter Lorenz, spokesman for the state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs. “In turn, this increases consumer demand for local agricultural products, which benefits farmers’ sales,” he concluded.

CISA’s website says its buy-local food campaign is “the longest-running agricultural buy-local campaign in the country.” Essentially, the organization, founded in 1999, engages with the western Massachusetts community to build a local-food economy, promoting farm-to-table production.

Other agricultural organizations receiving money in the grant, which is mostly focused on education and visibility, include Central Mass Grown; Northeast Harvest; Sustainable Business Network; Berkshire Grown; and Southeastern Massachusetts Agriculture Partnership.

“Knowing where your food comes from makes good health and economic sense, so our administration is dedicated to supporting buy-local efforts across the state,” said Matthew Beaton, secretary of state Energy and Environmental Affairs, in a statement.

“Through these grants, regional buy-local groups will be able to continue to create innovative programs and resources to connect consumers and farmers and spread the word about the benefits of producing local produce,” he said.