Congratulations to Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) on 25 years of building local resilience by strengthening connections between local farms and community.
Barstow’s Longview Farm and Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery are proud to be two of CISA’s 426 Local Heroes!
CISA has continued to be an advocate for local farms and businesses like ours. Claire Morenon has contributed to educating our community about the struggles of dairy farms in the wholesale milk business.
You can learn more about agriculture in the Valley and CISA’s 25 Years from Claire’s latest article in the Republican:
CISA helps farmers stay strong in face of economic challenges: Viewpoint
By Claire Morenon, communications manager for Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
The Pioneer Valley is home to 2,161 farms, which generate $128 million in annual sales, steward 182,430 acres of land and employ 4,300 people. The survival of these farm businesses is dependent on strong local infrastructure to enable them to process and distribute their products, on the support of local businesses like restaurants and grocery stores, and on the ongoing support of local shoppers choosing to buy local. But while the work to sustain local agriculture must happen at a local level, farmers in our region are affected by changes and pressures happening on a national and even global level.
Studies demonstrate that choosing local food does have a real impact on the local economy. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) maintains a local food impact calculator (online at buylocalfood.org) that shows how a shift of just $5 per week toward local produce in every household in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, with no increase in spending, would generate over $8.1 million in local income and 234 local jobs.
Financially viable farm businesses are a cornerstone of a strong local food system, but that is far from the whole picture. A truly resilient and vibrant local food system is manifested in sustainable use of environmental resources such as land and water, good working conditions and respect for agricultural workers, and healthy, culturally appropriate food being available to all members of our community.