The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is preparing its 2020 budget and SEMAP has three budget amendments that we think are important to have included: 

  • Funding for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)
  • Equipment support for the UMass Soil Lab testing
  • Support to help measure food system policy impact

See details on each of these below.

Please call your representatives about these budget amendments (Find the contact info for your State Representative here .) It’s easy! Find the number and make a call. The whole thing will take less than five minutes.  It’s important that our legislators know that farmers and supporters of local food are paying attention and think these items are worth supporting .

Some tips: 
  • You will likely get a staff person and that’s fine. Some offices have a few options to press before you get the right office. 
  • It’s ok to just leave a message. 
  • It is okay to not know exactly what to say. We've all stumbled through our first calls and that’s fine. 
  • Emailing your representative or their staff is another good option.  
  • You don’t have to support all of these, but if you do, one call or email is fine.

Support for the Healthy Incentives Program
Budget line item #4400-1004
HIP provides some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families with access to fresh, healthy, local foods, and helps to sustain participating farms by increasing their sales. The House Ways and Means budget was released yesterday with $4 million for HIP. Representatives Hannah Kane and Daniel Donahue are submitting an amendment to increase that amount to $8.5 million. This higher amount would allow for the program to operate year-round without suspension, it would allow for continued growth of the program both in terms of users & farmers, and it would help to fill certain geographic gaps in the program where HIP is currently hard to access. Please call or email your State Rep today and ask them to co-sponsor Representative Kane & Donahue's amendment to increase HIP funding to $8.5 million. Learn more here .

Support for the UMass Soil Lab
Budget line item #2511-0100
The UMass Soil Lab needs our help. An amendment has been introduced that would provide $166,000 to the Lab to replace two pieces of equipment that they need to continue to provide their very important services. More than 6,000 farms, landscapers, institutions, municipalities, and homeowners in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Massachusetts rely on the services of the UMass Soil Lab each year, submitting thousands of samples for analysis. Ask your State Rep to co-sponsor Representative Paul Mark’s budget amendment that would fund these items. Learn more here .

Support for Food System Metrics
(Also) Budget line item #2511-0100
To make sure the food system is moving toward the goals of sustainability and equity established in the MA Local Food Action Plan, the state should invest $100,000 in measurement tools to track progress. There has yet been no formal mechanism established to measure the impact of certain recent policy changes to preserve farmland and alleviate hunger, among many other food system indicators. Establishing such a mechanism would allow for evaluation of the success and value of these and other public interventions in the food system. Ask your State Rep to co-sponsor Representative Natalie Blais’ budget amendment that would fund the development of food system metrics. Learn more here .

Thank you! If you have any questions, let us know.

P.S. own or operate a farm or food business? Make sure to add or update your free SEMAP Local Food Guide listing ! We distribute thousands of copies every year, and its important we are communicating the correct info about your business. Advertising opportunities are also available.

Executive Director, SEMAP

Outreach Coordinator, SEMAP
Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) |