Pitch your story for Field Notes: “In The Weeds”

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The window to pitch a story is now closed. See you at the show on Sunday March 10th!

CISA’s Field Notes is a live storytelling event celebrating the many ways local food and farming leave their mark on our lives and in our communities. We’re back for a 5th show on Sunday March 10th at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, and we’re looking for storytellers!

All Field Notes stories are true tales from community members like you about personal experiences with local food and farming. This year we’re also introducing a theme: “In The Weeds.” Do you have a story about growing, cooking, or eating local food where you found yourself “in the weeds”? What happened next?

Pitch us your story idea by January 10th, and you might be chosen to tell it at the upcoming show! See pitching directions at the bottom of the page.

Laurie Cuevas of Thomas Farm & Dairy (Field Notes 2018)

Field Notes is for everyone

Food is a part of all of our lives. Whether you’re a farmer, chef, service worker, gardener, food activist, passionate home cook, or anyone else with a story to share about local food or farming, this event is for you.

Never been on stage before? That’s okay, we’ll help you get there. All performers will have the opportunity to workshop their stories and performance with a professional storytelling coach.

The stories we’re looking for

Any story related to local food or farming and the theme “In The Weeds” will be considered. It should be a true tale based on your real-life experience – think anecdote from a memoir, not op-ed.  Final stories will be around five minutes.

Previous stories have included a single mother facing food insecurity whose life was changed by a farm share, love at first spicefried green tomato hornworms, and much more. See all past Field Notes stories here.

The storytelling experience

Past storytellers have described their Field Notes experiences as “thrilling,” “terrifying,” “exceptional,” and “oh so worth the effort.” It’s a great opportunity to grow your performance skills and confidence with public speaking and get to know fellow storytellers from all walks of life.

Man in plaid shirt on stage in front of microphone mimes speaking into phone

Pete Solis of Mockingbird Farm (Field Notes 2019). PC Jason Threlfall.

If your story is chosen, you will…
  • Attend a group orientation with coaches and fellow storytellers 12-2 on Sunday January 28th  
  • Meet periodically with storytelling coaches to work on your story
  • Practice your story on your own between meetings
  • Be invited to help promote the show
  • Perform on stage at the Academy of Music the afternoon of Sunday March 10th!

Storyteller benefits and support

  • Complimentary tickets: performers will receive 4 comp tickets for friends and family! 
  • Optional stipend: to lower financial barriers and honor storytellers’ participation, stipends of up to $500 will be offered upon completion, no questions asked. Storytellers who need childcare to attend Field Notes activities will be offered an additional stipend. 
  • Transportation to in-person activities if you don’t have access to a car.
  • Language support: if Spanish is a storyteller’s most comfortable language, CISA will provide interpretation services during workshops and the final performance. Translation and interpretation of the final performance will also be available for Spanish-speaking audience members to enjoy. Information about Field Notes is available in Spanish here – please share with your Spanish speaking friends! 

Take it from past storytellers themselves

“Field Notes was a wonderful experience and really helped grow my confidence in public speaking. It was really great to work towards a goal with a fun group of people. To farmers, I say go for it! It was totally doable.” (Kerry Taylor, Brookfield Farm. See her story)

PC Jason Threlfall

“I’m very happy I worked through my fear and was able to tell people who I’ve become today. When I go out in the food truck, people recognize me from Field Notes, and it makes me happy that a piece of my story touched their heart.” (Supicha Hillenbrand, Thai Chili Food Truck. See her story)

“Don’t overthink it, just do it. People want to hear your story and you’re the only one that can tell it. It’s fun, challenging, exhilarating, life changing, confidence building, educational, uncomfortable at times, and entertaining…and that’s just at the first workshop. You rock and your story will too!” (Bruce Hopper, Pure BS Maple Shack. See his story)

Pitching your story

The final deadline for pitches is Wednesday January 10th. The sooner you pitch the better! That gives us more time to consider your story and even help you improve your pitch. We will notify you if your story was chosen soon after.

There are two options for pitching:

  1. Call 413-247-4153 and leave a voicemail.
  2. Write out your story idea using the form below.
A woman in a pink shirt stands in front of a microphone with hand on chin and puzzled look on face

Mariana Lachiusa (Field Notes 2021)

Your pitch should be brief, but give a sense of your full story. It’s not just a teaser! Try to share a few sentences about each of these things:

  • Where were you? What was happening?
  • What was the tension or conflict?
  • What was at stake because of it?
  • What was the outcome?

Stuck on story ideas?

Trust your gut, and ask friends for advice! The best stories make you feel an emotion in your body while telling it, and they capture others’ attention and make them feel something too.

Want more tips for live storytelling? Check out these quick tips from The Moth, ideas from Jeff Simmermon of This American Life, or this essay from author and storyteller Melanie Hamlet.

The pitch deadline is January 10th

   We can’t wait to hear your stories. This is going to be FUN!

Nan Parati, formerly of Elmer’s Restaurant in Ashfield (Field Notes 2018)

Find It Locally

Search CISA’s online guide to local farms, food, and more!

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