The VINE - e-Newsletter


October 2013   

Farmer Grants from SARE
NOFA/Mass Seminar
BFN Fall Forum
Listening Session on FSMA
Letter of Support for Farmer/Rancher Investments
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Four Town Farm 
Dear Friends and Supporters: 
The data is in - spending your money on local food will make you happy!  According to Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, we are more satisfied with spending money when we spend it on experiences - like a farm stand, farmers' market or picking up you CSA share.
The book also uses the experience of eating a delicious meal as a worthwhile expenditure that keeps us happy with long-lasting fond memories.  I think we all know, that when that meal is prepared with local food it tastes that much better. 
A third point I found interesting and connected to eating local is the concept of delayed gratification.  When we buy local we must prepare it, which takes a little time, but science shows us that makes it taste even better!
And there we have it; spend your bucks on local food and you'll be happier for it!

Happy Eating,
Bridget Alexander
SEMAP Executive Director 

Farmer Grants Available from SARE 


Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.


The deadline for 2014 Farmer Grants is December 2, 2013.  Awards are announced in March 2014.   


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
is a regional program of the  nationwide SARE effort; SARE is part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  SARE's mission is to advance, to the whole of American agriculture, innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education.



 Learn More About Applying For a Farmer Grant Here. 


NOFA/Mass Offers Seminar Before Connecting For Change

 The Massachusetts Chapter of National Organic Farming Association (NOFA/MASS)  is offering a Full Seminar in Collaboration with the "Connecting for Change" Conference

Fat-Soluble Vitamins in Traditional Diets: Nutrient-Dense Animal Foods as the Keys to Vibrant Health
Thursday, October 24, 9:00am to 5:00pm
The Ocean Explorium, 174 Union Street, New Bedford, MA 

Chris Masterjohn, PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut, offers this full day seminar. Presentation covers what modern science reveals about why food practices of many non-industrialized cultures have supported vibrant health. Participants will learn to analyze claims about fats and disease, to identify superior sources of fat-soluble vitamins, and to assess and amend soils for improved nutrition.

"Connecting for Change" is an annual three day solutions-based conference consisting of keynote speakers, workshops, and various organizations addressing our food systems.  Organized by The Marion Institute, "Connecting for Change"  happens from October 25-27, 2013 in New Bedford, MA.




Beginning Farmer Network Second Annual Fall Forum

Tuesday, November 12th

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Charlton Public Library

40 Main Street

Charlton, MA 01507


  • Are you a new farmer or thinking about farming?
  • Are you looking to connect with beginning farmers or farm service providers in MA? 
  • Are you interested in beginning farmer success in MA? 
  • Do you want to figure out how to work together and leverage resources?
This free networking event will be a chance to meet other farmers, farm service providers, and engaged food system advocates who are concerned with beginning farmers' livelihood and success in the Commonwealth. We'll get a chance to meet each other, talk about hot-button issues, make action plans to address resource gaps, and figure out where we can collaborate to help farming thrive.

Register at: www.tinyurl.com/bfnfallforum2013 

About BFN/Mass:    Beginning Farmer Network of Massachusetts is a collaborative group  of farmers and farm service providers dedicated to beginning farmer success in Massachusetts. By creating more space for networking and collaboration amongst  Beginning Farmers and Service Providers BFN/Mass brings together people who want to work on similar issues, who want to share information and lessons learned, and who can inspire each other by the work they are already doing.  BFN/Mass is coordinated by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project



RSVP to the Fall Forum Here 

NOFA Offering Scholarships for Massachusetts Winter Conference


Beginning Farmer Scholarships are available for the upcoming Northeast Organic Farming Association Conference, being held on January 11, 2014.  


The NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Program aims to cultivate the next generation of Sharing the harvest photo committed organic farmers in Massachusetts.  The Winter Conference is the largest of its kind in the region and the opportunity for young and new farmers to learn new industry skills and build their professional networks. 

All applicants must be NOFA/Mass members.  All scholarship recipients are expected to contribute two hours of volunteer service either during or before the conference, and expected to complete an online evaluation after the conference.

Scholarship applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  The application
deadline is November 25th.


Learn More and Apply for a Scholarship to the NOFA/Mass Conference Here. 



Stay Informed on the FSMA

SEMAP and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation recently hosted a listening  session on proposed regulations for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). SEMAP encourages our region's farmers, processors, and caring consumers to learn more about these issues surrounding the new proposals for the Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule. 

A full audio recording of the session can be listened to with the link below:

SEMAP Signs Letter of Support for Beginning Farmer/Rancher Investments in Farm Bill


One opportunity and crucial investment a farm bill must make is in the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers.  With the appropriate policies in a 2013 Farm Bill, this nation can properly support successful new farmer start-ups and also mitigate some of the major obstacles new producers confront. By supporting new farmer opportunities with public policy we can strengthen the economic base and vitality of many of our rural and urban communities.


138 agricultural, environmental, and educational organizations from across the nation signed and submitted an official letter to Congressional leaders in favor of what has been called the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act.  


FREE Manual on Managing Community Supported Agriculture

The Food & Farming Network of Northwest Michigan
produced an extensive Training  Manual for new CSA producers. This manual was funded through a Farm Grant from North Central  SARE  and is FREE to download for personal or educational use.   

Community Events, Members and Announcements

October 24, Nationwide
Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. It builds all year long and culminates on October 24. Massachusetts is leading the way in number of Food Day events (more than 40 just in the Southeast region!) - everything from film screenings and potlucks to healthy eating competitions and farm walks! Click here to find a Food Day event in your community. 

Bioneers Connecting for Change Conference

October 25 - 27, Downtown New Bedford, MA

The 9th Annual Connecting for Change: A Bioneers by the Bay Conference presented by the Marion Institute is an annual three-day, solutions based gathering that brings together a diverse audience to create deep and positive change in their communities. This internationally acclaimed event summons environmental, industry and social justice innovators to bring focus on food and farming, health and healing, green business, indigenous knowledge, environmental and social justice, women and youth empowerment, spirituality and sustainability, all working to catalyze a movement to heal our world. Learn more and Register Here.

Raised Meat Marketing Workshop
Saturday, October 26, 1pm - 6pm
Louttit Library, 274 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI

An event for any New England livestock farmer- beginning, experienced or prospective. Explore how best to market your beef, pork, lamb, goat or other meat animals. Topics will include: Selling the whole animal; pricing cuts; choosing a marketing channel; and finding and communicating with your target market.  This workshop will wrap up with a round table discussion of marketing techniques attendees use, or have questions about utilizing, in their own markets.  Cost is $35 and includes lunch and resource materials.  Coordinated by RI Raised Livestock Association. 
October 29, 6pm - 9pm
The Waterfront Grille, New Bedford
Support the Ocean Explorium at their Annual Dinner Gala! Guests will be treated to a creative dining experience, exploring the flavors of sustainable seafood paired with incredible wines, highlighting the local fishing industry and the many talented chefs in our region. Learn more here. 



Tools for Improving Farmer Financial Skills - A FREE NGFN Webinar
Thursday, November 21, 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Farmer trainers now have a new resource in their arsenal - a curated collection of tools to address this critical issue, and people to help them incorporate them into their curricula.  This is an introduction to the tool library, and several of the tools.  Hosted by the National Good Food Network.  Register Here.

Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners - A FREE NGFN Webinar 
Thursday, December 12, 3:30pm - 4:45pm

Food banks have tremendous infrastructure, and a commitment to feeding people nutritious food. Several food banks across the country are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Hosted by the National Good Food Network.   Register Here.

Bristol County Conservation District Annual Meeting 
Monday, November 4, 4:00pm
Keith Hall, 84 Center St., Dighton, MA 
BCCD meets monthly to assess natural resource problems within the county.  Agriculture is a top priority when addressing these issues.  

This year's annual meeting will focus on the Natural Resources Conservation Service   (NRCS) Soil Health initiative. The program will commence with a site visit to a cover crop trial which is a collaborative effort among BCCD, Bristol County Agricultural High School, NRCS and UMass Cooperative Extension.  Please attend to learn more about this exciting project and the benefits it can bring to your farm fields.

All BCCD meetings are open to the public, and patrons are especially encouraged to participate in the annual election.  Any landowner in the county is eligible to run for a three year term, and voting is open to all Bristol County residents.  For more information call David Rose, BCCD Field Agent at 508-674-4645 or Sue Guiducci at 508-990-2854.


Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Announces Winner of This Month's Calendar Photo Contest

Photographers who enjoy capturing images of the Bay State's farms and farm and horticultural products are invited to enter the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Winning entries will be published in the 2015 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc., and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).  Fill out the entry form for the Calendar Photo Contest here. 


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Bridget & Kristen