More than Honey: Film Explores Relationship Between Bees & Human

Film & Local Panel Explore
Relationship Between Bees & Humans

Bee pollination is vital to the survival of 80% of the world’s plant species, yet populations of the fuzzy flying insects are declining all around the world. What does the decline in bee populations mean for farmers? Learn about this current and pressing issue at a screening of More Than Honey, a documentary that explores the effects of colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon responsible for bees’ recent scarcity.

Amherst Cinema and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) have partnered to offer a special showing of the film More Than Honey at 7pm on Tuesday, October 15th. Along with the screening will be a panel discussion featuring local bee experts Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary and Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms…

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Film Maker & Local Farmers Lead Community Conversation on Farming Past and Present

Pothole Pictures presents “Root Hog or Die”
May 17th & 18th in Shelburne Falls, MA

“Root Hog or Die” captures the lives and stories of the old time horse farmers in Franklin County in their own voices, faces, ingenious technology and well-tended land. According to Pothole Pictures coordinator, Fred DeVecca, “Rawn Fulton’s film provides a vibrant and down-to-earth historical context for the resurgence of local agriculture, CSAs and micro-farming in Franklin County today…It connects us to our neighbors, our history, the land and the farms we depend on and gives us all an opportunity to show our support for local agriculture.”

Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17th & 18th at 7:30pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in historic Memorial Hall Theater in downtown Shelburne Falls.

On Saturday, May 18, the film’s director, Rawn Fulton will present the recently re-mastered digital version of the original 56-minute film made in 1974, and will lead a community conversation about farming then and now together with a panel of local farmers. They include farmers and local families whose experience stretches back for generations and who are connected to many of the farmers featured in “Root Hog or Die” – Jim Wholey and the Dole family of Shelburne, and Al Pieropan of Ashfield.

Contemporary farmers with long family roots in Franklin County also include Faith and Peter Williams representing the Our Family Farms dairy cooperative and John and Carolyn Wheeler of Wheelview Farm. Newer arrivals to Franklin County farming include Paul Lacinski and Amy Klippenstein of Side Hill Farm in Hawley and David Fisher and Anna Maclay of Natural Roots CSA in Conway. New Roots brings the horse-powered farming tradition back to Franklin County in a new form – community supported agriculture. Recent Mohawk High School graduate will represent the new generation of young farmers revitalizing agriculture in Franklin County.

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Northampton Winter Fare Helps Families Eat Locally Year Round

Northampton Winter Fare
Saturday, January 14th, 2011

Bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Claire Morenon, CISA Program Coordinator writes:

CISA’s Winter Fare, a vibrant, diverse farmers’ market and community event, is coming to Smith Vocational High School in Northampton on January 14th, 2012 from 10am-2pm. Winter Fare is a celebration of the amazing local food that is available year-round in the Pioneer Valley, bringing together vendors from winter farmers’ markets around the Valley to kick off the new year.

Twenty-two vendors, including many from the weekly winter farmers’ markets in Amherst and Northampton, the bimonthly winter market in Springfield, and the once-monthly market in Greenfield, will be present with their goods to inspire shoppers to make farmers’ markets a regular part of their winter routine.

CISA strongly believes that healthful, local food should be available to everyone in the community, so Northampton Winter Fare will accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and CISA will be matching the first $10 of all SNAP purchases. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market. Topics include home food preservation, cheese and yogurt-making, and herbal medicine. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home, and the workshops are free and do not require pre-registration.

At 11am, the Soup Café will open for business so shoppers can take a break and enjoy a hot cup of soup made from local ingredients by Local Hero restaurants. Bring your own mug to help us reduce waste.

The Barter Market, a fun, lively food-swapping event, begins at 1pm. Bring your own home-preserved foods and trade with your neighbors to diversify your pantry and get to know other people that can, dry, and freeze the local harvest.

More details about Winter Fare, including complete lists of vendors and workshops, are available at Volunteers are still needed to make this event possible! Please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 or to sign up or for more information.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Bounty of Local Food and Farm Products Grows in Western MA!

UPDATE: Read about CISA’s 2011 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide HERE.

CISA’s 2010 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide

Let CISA help your family be a Local Hero by picking up their new 2010 "Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide" and discovering local products, farms, restaurants, retailers, and much more!

Summer is almost here, and the bounty of locally grown produce and agricultural products continues to grow. Western Massachusetts farms are geared up to provide everything from asparagus and alpaca wool to zucchini and zinnias. But where to begin your search for the best that Valley farms have to offer? With the annual Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide, a free full-color publication distributed by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) during the week of May 24th.

This year’s Guide contains more than 60 pages of farm and local agricultural products listings, including 202 farms, 46 restaurants, 28 retailers, eight landscape and garden centers, and 24 other businesses and institutions that make, sell, or serve locally grown goods. Readers will also find a farm product seasonality calendar, a farm and garden locator map, profiles of this year’s Local Hero Award recipients, and information on the growth of the area’s local food system.

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Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week

Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week: August 16th – 22nd

Ashfield Farmers Market

Ashfield Farmers' Market: Saturdays from 8:30am-12:30pm. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Farmers’ markets “help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space,” according to Governor Patrick’s proclamation. “Farmers’ markets create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering. It is befitting for the citizens of Massachusetts to recognize the continued contribution of farmers’ markets to local consumers, as well as their positive impact on the economy of the Commonwealth.”

Shelburne Falls' Farmers Market on Fridays

Shelburne Falls Farmers' Market: Fridays from 3-7pm (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

“There are over 30 Farmers’ Markets in western Massachusetts that are providing the freshest produce, meats and specialty farm products”, says Philip Korman, Executive Director of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture). “Almost every day of the week, there is a farmers’ market that enriches our community and provides an opportunity to bring the best to our family table.” Farmers’ markets are a great way to get to know local farmers and ask questions, get fresh produce, mingle with neighbors and enjoy free entertainment. It is fun for all ages!

Greenfield Farmers' Market Sign

Greenfield Farmers' Market: Saturdays from 8am-12:30pm (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

To find a Farmers’ market near you look in CISA’s Locally Grown Farm Products Guide for a listing of markets in the Pioneer Valley, or click HERE to discover on-line. Help support our local farms by shopping at a farmers’ market this week and every week throughout the growing season.

Founded in 1993, CISA is a nationally recognized community organization comprised of farmers, consumers, and professionals working together to sustain agriculture, strengthen the local economy, preserve the unique rural character of our communities, and enhance the well-being of western Massachusetts. Located in South Deerfield, CISA is the creator of numerous innovative programs, including Senior FarmShare, Farm2City, the Pioneer Valley Women in Agriculture Network, and the Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown® public awareness campaign. Learn more about CISA at or call (413) 665-7100.

Blueberry Bake Off with Local Blueberries

Get the Kids a Cookin’ for the Blueberry Bake Off
Hosted by the CISA and Greenfield Farmers’ Market

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

On Saturday, August 1, CISA and the Greenfield Farmers’ Market will host a contest featuring desserts made from locally grown blueberries. Participants should drop off their blueberry creations at 9am that day. No need to pre-register. A CISA staff member, a local farmer and other judges will determine the winning recipe. A $50 Greenfield Farmers’ Market gift certificate and a CISA Community Membership valued at $60 will be awarded to the winning entry; a $25 market gift certificate and a CISA tote bag will go to the runner up. Look for entry details soon on the CISA website and at the Greenfield Farmers’ Market.

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