The Vine - December 2021
Photo at Under the Sun in North Dighton
Dear Friends,

With the chill of the winter air setting in and the trees nearly bare, there is no denying that the year is quickly winding down. As we flip our calendars to their final page and await the first snowfall, we must settle in for December and the winter to come.

With the year nearly through, we at SEMAP want to reflect on the year that was. In our second year navigating a pandemic, we found new opportunities to connect with and support our agricultural community. Farmers showed their resiliency once again, pushing through another difficult year filled with record rainfall, widespread sales challenges, and an ongoing health crisis. [If there is a better, more detailed way to send this message, please edit]

While the year is winding down, there are still many opportunities to support our community at winter markets. If you are in need of holiday gifts or treats, read on to find our list of local markets, as well as more news and updates from SEMAP and our partners. So, grab a hot drink, find your warmest blanket, and enjoy this year-end edition of The Vine.

With gratitude,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
Find your Christmas Tree at a Local Tree Farm!
The Christmas season is now upon us, which means it's time to pick out a tree for the holidays. While our region is struggling with a shortage of Christmas trees, there are still many great tree farms in our region with product available, including:

To find your local tree farm, check out the MassGrown Farm Locator Map or the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association
MA Food System Collaborative Forum Continues This Month
The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative will be hosting the 2021 Food System Forum this December. The virtual event will be broken up over one week to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the food system in Massachusetts and strategize about how to best address them together. Sessions will include panelist presentations and discussions, and a keynote from Jessica O'Neill, Executive Director of Just Roots.

Anyone who would like to attend can register online. Registration is FREE but required for each session you plan to attend. All are welcome!
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
Many Grant Funding Opportunities Available

Are you aware of the many state and federal grant programs currently open to farmers, fishers, farmers' market managers, and other players in the local food system? Find a collection of relevant grants on our Grant Funding 101 page. What's available right now?

1) Dairy Business Viability & Technical Assistance Grant: For dairy processors and distributors seeking technical assistance, as well as service providers and dairy associations seeking funding for their assistance services.
  • Deadline: December 7th

2) Urban Agriculture Grant Program: For urban farmers, aquaculturists, and farmers' market managers who are producing, processing, and/or distributing food in urban areas. Some land acquisition costs are covered in this program!
  • Deadline: December 30th

3) Organic Transitional Education & Certification Program (OTECP): For farmers who have expenses associated with organic certification – including inspection fees, soil testing, and educational workshop registration. Payments made since October 1, 2019 may be eligible for reimbursement.
  • Deadline: January 7th
Don't forget that we can help you apply for grants or provide letters of support! We can also assist with lease crafting, website design, marketing strategies, and much more! Email shickey@semaponline or fill out this brief form to get started.
MDAR Seeking to Identify BIPOC Farmers in Massachusetts for Equity Initiatives
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) are hoping to connect with farmers of color and BIPOC-led agricultural organizations in an effort to more equitably serve the Commonwealth's food producers and "promote environmental justice principles through policies, programs, hearings, funding decisions, communication, and language access."

If you would like to self-report as a BIPOC food producer and contribute to MDAR's data collection efforts, please email
NESFP Agricultural Tech and Software Trainings Available Now

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project launched its Agricultural Technology Platforms training last month, and will host three Financial Risk Management workshops in December and January. To see the full listing of trainings, follow the link below. All trainings are free but registration is required.
New England Fruit & Veggie Conference on December 13th-17th

New England Veggie & Berry Growers is hosting their winter conference virtually December 13th-17th! Speakers will present on crop-specific topics, as well as climate adaptation, tillage reduction, and pest control methods. Tickets are $50 and accommodations are available if needed. Some sessions offer credits towards Pesticide Applicator Recertification.
MDAR Offering Two Courses for Farmers This Winter

MDAR will be hosting two courses for established farmers over the coming months. The "Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course" will cover an array of financial and business topics, and "Farm Succession School" will help senior generation farmers understand and develop a succession plan, with support from Land for Good. Space is limited, so sign up now!
Apply for a TIE Award

Do you have an innovative idea that would increase your farm's efficiency or reduce your costs? Are you excited to share this innovation with others in the farming community? Apply for SEMAP's TIE program. Applications are due on February 1st, but will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis, so early applications are encouraged. Contact Karen at with any questions.
WANTED: Farmer Input on Value-Added Product Expansion

Have you been considering expanding your operations to produce value-added products from your crops, livestock, dairy, or fish? Are you already producing some value-added products but looking to increase your offerings? SEMAP wants to hear about it! We will be conducting interviews this winter to learn more about your plans, challenges, and needs for expanding into high-profit products. Farmers will be compensated for their time. Please email to learn more or express interest.
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
Winter Farmers Market Guide Now Available!
SEMAP is still putting together our list of Winter Farmers Markets, and we want to hear what you're up to as the growing season winds down. Are you attending winter markets? Offering home delivery or farm stand hours? Hosting holiday events? Fill out this quick (3 minutes!) survey so we can share ways to reach you with consumers across Southeastern Massachusetts.
8th Annual Re-Tree at Tiverton Four Corners this Month

Tiverton Four Corners Arts Center is pleased to be hosting it's 8th Annual Re-Tree showcase from December 3-17. The showcase of trees created with recycled materials will open on Tiverton Four Corners' Bright Night, and visitors will be able to vote for their favorite to win a prize from Four Corners businesses.
Kave Rock Farm Holiday Open Barn December 4th

The 7th Annual Kave Rock Farm Holiday Open Barn will be held on Saturday, December 4 from 11-3. Stop by to see many great local vendors (including several SEMAP members!), enjoy live music, and pick up some great holiday gifts!
Home Delivery in Westport & Dartmouth Areas

The Neighborhood Farm, new to Westport but veterans in all-natural farming, is still offering home delivery of their produce all throughout the winter. If you live in the Westport or Dartmouth areas, order online for Friday delivery!
NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Registration Open

.Join your peers in the organic, regenerative, sustainable living movement at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference this January. Gain access to presenters and information on the latest developments, insights and innovations happening on the farms and gardens of your local region and beyond. The conference is available virtually and in-person, and registration fees will be on a sliding scale model.
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Reading
The SEMAP team is excited to continue our newest Vine segment where we share what we're reading, watching, and/or listening to that's relevant to farming and food systems!

This month, we're reading (and cooking with) Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden. In this cookbook, McFadden maps out how to match up your culinary habits with the seasonality of local produce. This is a great resource as we head into the cold New England winter and begin to rely more heavily on storage crops. Find some inspiration for how to work with winter greens, potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, and other crops that define this time of year, and look ahead to what the changing seasons will allow you to create!

Have something you've seen, heard, or read that you think fellow farmers & foodies would like, too? Send your recommendation to!
What's in Season?
As the growing season continues, SEMAP wants to update you on current and upcoming produce in season in Southeastern Massachusetts. We hope this helps you plan recipes and get the most out of local food!
Throughout December, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Winter squashes
Have you checked out our Local Food Jobs page recently? You'll find local food and farm job listings relevant to Southeastern Massachusetts. Here are a few picks currently on the page. Want to share a listing? Email
Executive Director at Soule Homestead in Middleborough
Become a SEMAP Member
Renew Your SEMAP Membership or Become a Member Today!
Consider registering as a SEMAP Member. Membership in SEMAP helps us continue to provide promotion and support to farmers and consumers across Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond.

Members receive a host of benefits, including...
  • Access to business development and farming/gardening resources
  • Discounts to events like the Ag & Food Conference
  • Priority event sign-up
  • Special thank-you published in our Local Food Guide

Membership is available at several levels for businesses and individuals. Come join us!
PO Box 80625
S. Dartmouth, MA 02748 
Executive Director:
(508) 524-2601