CISA seeks to raise $100K by end of March

The Recorder, March 18, 2021, by Anita Fritz

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, better known as CISA, will continue to increase food access for the area’s most vulnerable residents, but it is seeking help from the community to do so.

The nonprofit is trying to raise $100,000 through its Local Food for All Initiative by March 31. When funded, the initiative will support outreach at farmers’ markets to families on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) benefits, and serve 500 low-income elders through CISA’s Senior FarmShare program.

“CISA works to support farmers and increase local food access in Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties,” CISA Executive Director Philip Korman said in a press release. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of local, community-based responses to crises, and Local Food for All can help strengthen the ties between farmers and the community.”

The release states there are 25 farmers’ markets in the Connecticut River Valley that accept SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, and 10 that accept HIP, which gives customers an instant rebate on fruits, vegetables and plant starts purchased directly from participating farms. CISA staff members increase awareness of HIP to families on SNAP.

The Senior FarmShare program provides critical food assistance to low-income seniors ages 60 and older, the release states. Seniors who join the program receive 10 weeks of fresh local produce delivered to participating senior centers and councils on aging. Shares are valued at $125 and participants pay a one-time fee of $10 during enrollment.

“It also offers farmers a reliable source of income earlier in the season and builds strong ties between farmers, seniors and the community organizations that host food distributions,” the release reads.

CISA, which receives state funding as well as funding from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, served about 450 seniors last summer during the pandemic. The release states the nonprofit hopes to serve at least 500 this year.

For information about CISA, the Local Food for All Initiative and the programs it supports, or to donate before March 31, visit

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or