Editorial: Marking 20 years

The Recorder
April 11, 2013

Talk is cheap … that’s an idiom that has proven itself true time and time again.

But back those words up with action and you’re talking a completely different story.

We can only imagine what the landscape in Franklin County would look like if the people involved with getting what is now Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) had been only talking, and not doing, what was needed to support the farmers here. Some 20 years later it would quite different and, we think, the state of the agriculture here would be nowhere near as healthy as it is.

From the start, the effort that evolved into CISA has understood the vital connections between farms, their home communities and the greater county at large. As CISA Special Projects Director Margaret Christie put it this week in The Recorder, “We learned that people in this area already cared about local farms and saw the connection between how they spent their food money and how it helped the local economy.

“They didn’t need us to point it out to them, but we made it easier for people to act on that and show them they could make a difference and how they could do it every day.”

One of those efforts, the “Be a Local Hero” campaign, helped create that greater awareness of the farms and show how accessible those farms and what they produced could be to a public interested in fresh and local.

It’s worked.

The Local Hero effort and other work that CISA undertook in support of local farmers has provided a serious boost to agriculture in the area as well as created an interest among young people in getting involved in farming, an influence that isn’t only happening here in western Massachusetts.

It’s a success story that is far from finished.

The work continues … or as the nonprofit organization says on its website, “as demand grows for local farm products, CISA is connecting the dots between farm fields and kitchen tables, workplace dining rooms, and grocery store shelves.”

It’s that kind of talk, backed by hard work and a sincere desire to see a difference for our farms and community, that continues to serve us well.

It’s a success story with many more chapters to write.