Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture

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Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) "strengthens local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community."[1] It is headquartered in western Massachusetts.


"In 1993, a consortium of educational and nonprofit organizations formed the Pioneer Valley Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to identify and address issues facing agriculture in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. With some of the finest agricultural soils in the world, Valley farmers produce vegetables, dairy products, meat, maple syrup, tobacco, and fiber. In addition, the region is home to the cities of Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke, the academic communities of Amherst and Northampton, rural hill towns, aging mill towns, and suburban communities.
"The W. K. Kellogg Foundation's Integrated Food and Farming Systems initiative awarded the Alliance a four-year grant to assist farmers and others in creating a sustainable regional food and farming system. Stakeholders from retail, farming, media, politics, the nonprofit sector, and the public participated in working groups to improve and strengthen agriculture in the Valley, through a project they called "Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture."
"In 1999, CISA incorporated as a 501c(3) organization, formed a Board of Directors, and in launched the ‘Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown'® marketing and education program. With funds from Kellogg and others, CISA's promotion of farmers and their products reached consumers throughout Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. Using newspaper and radio advertising, direct mail, bus board signs, buttons, bumper stickers, and point of purchase materials in grocery stores and farm stands, the "Local Hero" slogan became a household phrase."[2]


CISA lists the following funders on its website:[3]

Government Grants:

Foundation Grants:

Business Sponsors:


CISA's board, as of July 2011, is as follows:[4]

  • Chair: Rachel Moore, Director of Campaign Initiatives & Leadership Support at Smith College
  • Vice Clerk: Risa Silverman, Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach at the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences
  • Treasurer: Greg Melnik, retired senior loan officer with First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA.
  • Clerk: Nancy Hanson, Manager of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at the Hampshire College Farm Center
  • Do-Han Allen, Former publisher of the Valley Advocate
  • Bob Antil, Founder and director of the Residential Arts Program of the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts
  • Ann Burke, Vice president and director of the HomeField Advantage Program of the Economic Development Council of Western MA.
  • Ben Clark, Clarkdale Fruit Farms
  • Sara Coblyn, Past president of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets
  • Laurie Estes, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual
  • Warren Facey, Bree-Z-Knoll Farm
  • Mary Nourse, Nourse Farms
  • Rus Peotter, General manager of WGBY, Springfield, and vice president of the WGBH Educational Foundation.
  • Diane Roeder, Sojourner Sheep
  • Gary Schaefer, Snow's/Bart's Homemade and Connecticut River Valley Foods
  • Casey Steinberg, Old Friends Farm
  • M.A. Swedlund, Serves on the Town of Deerfield Energy Committee
  • Mark Tanner, Attorney at Bacon & Wilson P.C./Morse & Sacks
  • Mike Wissemann, Warner Farm


CISA's staff, as of July 2011, includes:[5]

Contact Information

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. CISA - Our Mission, Accessed July 10, 2011.
  2. CISA - History, Accessed July 10, 2011.
  3. CISA - Funding Partners, Accessed July 10, 2011.
  4. CISA - People - Board, Accessed July 10, 2011.
  5. CISA - People - Staff, Accessed July 10, 2011.

External Resources

External Articles