Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s Annual ‘Taste the View’ Fundraiser Friday at Quonquont Farm

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, September 16th, 2015, by Katherine Hazen

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) will host its annual “Taste the View” benefit at Quonquont Farm in Whately from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

The benefit, which is the largest fundraiser for CISA, features a locally sourced dinner prepared by Rob Watson of The Lone Wolf restaurant in Amherst using ingredients harvested from local farms, in addition to a live and silent auctions.

CISA started in 1993 as the Pioneer Valley Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to tackle agricultural issues in the region. A four-year grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Integrated Food and Farming Systems initiative helped establish CISA to aid farmers in developing a regional food and farming system.

Its marketing and education program, “Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown,” promotes farmers in the community. CISA’s current goal is to double the amount of local food in the diets of Pioneer Valley residents by 2035, according to its website.

Alexis Schneeflock, director of development for CISA in South Deerfield, said, “ ‘Taste the View’ is a celebration of all of the local food in the Pioneer Valley and our Local Hero farm members that we get the food from for the event.”
The fundraiser raises more than 5 percent of CISA’s annual operating budget, Schneeflock said.

“Purchasing local food keeps the money you’re spending in your own community — you’re supporting your neighbors who are farmers, and they in turn supply you with healthy food that does not have to travel very far,” Schneeflock added.

Philip Korman, executive director of CISA, said, “We all come together on a Local Hero farm, enjoy a meal highlighting the best of our local farms’ harvest, and raise funds that make CISA’s work possible.”

The benefit, which started about 10 years ago, used to be held at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton with a 400-person capacity, but CISA scaled it back to a 200-person venue.

Auction items this year include vacation homes on Cape Cod, 10 tons of Goshen Stone, cooking class for six with a four-course dinner at Good Stock Farm Cooking School in Hatfield, and Red Sox and Celtics tickets.

Details, tickets and a selected list of auction items are available online.