Pitch your story for Field Notes: An Afternoon of Storytelling

Para leer este anuncio en Español, haz clic aquí.

Field Notes is back!

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. After a pandemic hiatus, Field Notes returns in person to the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Sunday, April 30th.

Do you have a story to share? Pitch it to us by February 3rd. Read on for instructions, ideas, and more about the empowering experience of sharing your story at Field Notes.

Community Activist Isis Feliciano (Field Notes 2018)

Who should pitch a story for Field Notes?

ANYONE! (Really!) 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 storyteller.

What kind of stories are you looking for?

Any story about growing, cooking, selling, or eating local food will be considered. Previous stories have included a single mother facing food insecurity whose life was changed by a farm share, love at first spice, fried green tomato hornworms, and much more.

Stories should be true, based on your real-life experience. They should have characters and a narrative arc with a beginning that sets the scene, middle that introduces tension, and end that resolves it. Think memoir, not op-ed. And stories should have stakes – the central character (you) should have something to gain or lose. Final stories will be around five minutes.

Laurie Cuevas of Thomas Farm (Field Notes 2018)

Need some prompts for inspiration?

  • What life lessons have you learned through an experience with local food or farming?
  • Have any moments of personal transformation been tied to food? A new perspective? A new skill? A new door opened?
  • How does local food and farming drive us apart, bring us together, or connect us to the wider community and web of life?

Watch past Field Notes stories here.

What’s it like to be a storyteller?

Past tellers have described their Field Notes experiences as “thrilling,” “terrifying,” “exceptional,” and “oh so worth the effort.” It’s a powerful experience personally, and it creates bonds between storytellers supporting each other. We’d love to welcome you to this season’s Field Notes family!


  • Man in brown sweater stands in front of microphone and looks happy

    Jake Krain of Red Gate Farm and Education Center (Field Notes 2021)

    Through February 3rd, we’re accepting pitches.

  • In Mid-February, we’ll select 10 storytellers to participate in this year’s show and notify all who pitched.
  • Late March into April, storytellers will convene for 3 group workshops (1 in-person, 2 virtual), receiving professional support to develop stories and performance skills. We will also have a in-person dress rehearsal before the main event.
  • April 30th: Field Notes show at the Academy of Music Theatre!

Workshops, the rehearsal, and the show will total about 12-15 hours, plus some practice between sessions.

If finances are a barrier to participating, stipends of up to $500 will be offered discretely, no questions asked. All storytellers who need to pay for childcare to attend will receive a stipend to help cover that.

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, if needed. Information about Field Notes is available in Spanish here – share with your Spanish speaking friends!

I’m still struggling with story ideas. Any advice?

Trust your gut. If a story makes you feel something in your body while telling it, AND captures others’ attention and makes them feel something too, you’re onto something.

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.

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.

Ok, I’m in! How can I pitch my story?

There are two options:

  1. Call 413-247-4153 and leave a voicemail.
  2. Write out your pitch idea using the form below.

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

  • Where you were and what was happening
  • The tension or conflict
  • What’s at stake because of it
  • The outcome

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect 🙂 Give it your best shot. We will contact you to elaborate if needed.

The pitch deadline is February 3rd.

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

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