On this Blog Action Day where many bloggers are describing and celebrating “The Power of We” I give thanks for our local Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture – CISA. I live in a rural area and like many people I have become more and more concerned about the food my family and I eat. About 20 years ago, farmers producing vegetables, fruit, fiber, maple syrup and dairy, businesses, politicians, and consumers got together to talk about how to create a sustainable agricultural system that would benefit all. The result was CISA, of which I am a dues paying member.
Over the years I have watched the demise of dairy farms but I have watiched the arrival and growth of many small scale diversified vegetable farms. Along with these farms and the young farmers have come more farm stands, farmers markets that operate for five months of the year, as well as that new fangled system, the CSA farms. CSA farms are Communityn Supported Agriculture farms that allow the consumer to share the risks of the farmers, of drought or flood, of insect damage or disease. By buying a share in a CSA the shareholder gets to pick up a basket of what ever is being harvested that week – and often a little bouquet of flowers as well. In addition to CSAs that primarily supply a weekly load of vegetables, there are also specialty CSAs. Goldthread Herb Farm offers Community Supported Medicine which offers twice a season helping of medicinal herbs to help maintain good health. Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA has a once a season share of a variety of unmilled grains.
CISA helps publicize the bounty available from local farms through their Local Foods Guide which is available on line, as well as in hard copy that is widely distributed every spring. It has also helped farmers sell their produce to local schools and hospitals, those places where good healthy food is especially important.
CISA also helps farmers with business training. If they are going to be successful farmers they have to be good farmers in the field, and they need to know how to make a sustainable living.
A big thank you is to CISA, Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture. This organization supports local farmers with growing marketable crops and handling the business aspect of farming more efficiently. They have helped farmers AND consumers. They have helped to create more markets for produce,: and bringing healthful produce to more people.
Of course, we eaters like to have this good food all year long, not just in the main growing season. So what are we all doing about it? Getting Wintermarkets.
To all the other kinds of action this day click here.