The Vine - May 2022
Photo at Medway Community Farm in Westport
Dear Friends,

We hope you are enjoying the wonderful spring weather we've had to start the new month. Beautiful sunny days means the growing season is upon us, and we can't wait to see what our farmers have in store for the year ahead.

While our farms are preparing to bring fresh local food to us, there are plenty of opportunities for buyers to support their local farm and market. Seasonal festivals are being announced, farms are selling CSA shares for the year, and farmers' markets are fast approaching opening day; the best way to keep track of all our local food happenings is with our Local Food Guide! Read on to find out how you can order Guides for your business.

In this month's newsletter, you will also find details on upcoming events on some of our local farms, important updates on food access programs in the state, and more events being announced for the coming year (which you can also track on the Events Calendar on our website).

As always, if you have something you want SEMAP to share either through our newsletter or on social media, feel free to reach out. We are always looking for ways to support your business, and look forward to seeing you out in the field this year.

With gratitude,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
Food Access Opportunities for Massachusetts Farmers Available!
Last month, Mass DTA released a Notice of Opportunity for new HIP Vendor Applications. The state will be opening several new terminals this year, and new and existing HIP vendors are encouraged to apply. The application period is open until June 8. DTA will be hosting a Zoom info session on Thursday, May 5 at 1 pm.

DTA is taking several factors into consideration in this process, including the ability to reach Priority Communities such as Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton, and Priority Populations, including SNAP clients with disabilities and/or Black SNAP clients, who have historically accessed fewer HIP locations compared to other client populations.

If you decide to apply, please email so that we can put in a good word for you!
Local Food Guide is Coming This Month!
Be on the lookout for the 2022 Local Food Guide, coming to a local farm stand near you this month! SEMAP staff are putting the finishing touches on the Guide as we speak, working with our printer to get it out to our community for the start of the season. We can't wait to share our catalog of local farms, markets, seafood, grocers, restaurants, and more.

If you want copies of the Local Food Guide delivered to your business, make sure to fill out the order form here. Orders must be for a minimum of a full box (60 Guides), but all deliveries are free!
Current Food Producer Grant Opportunities
'Tis the season for lots of open food producer grants! Take a look at a few of the currently open grant, reimbursement, and award programs below, then check out a complete list on our webpage.

  • Conservation Innovation Grant: To support the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in Massachusetts, especially in agriculture.
  • Deadline: May 13th

  • Urban Agriculture Program: To increase food security and the production, processing, and marketing of produce grown and sold in urban centers across the Commonwealth.
  • Deadline: May 31st

  • MA Food Ventures Program: To increase access to healthy, affordable food options and improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities.
  • Deadline: June 6th

  • Climate Smart Agriculture Program: To support proactive adaptation to climate-related risks, implementation of mitigation practices, and increased financial & ecological resiliency in the face of climate change.
  • Deadline: June 10th
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
Farmer Resource Fair May 13 with New Entry
Join New Entry Sustainable Farming Project for their Farmer Resource Fair on Friday, May 13! The event will feature representatives from an array of important and helpful organizations, including FSA, NRCS, UMass Extension, Massachusetts DTA, and MDAR. Enjoy personalized one-on-one time with each of these service providers, and meet other farmers, too!

This event is free, but folks are encouraged to sign up in advance so New Entry staff can coordinate a meeting time for you and the organizations you are interested in meeting with. The Fair will be held in-person in Beverly.
Featured Reading: "Soil: A Living, Breathing Ecosystem"
We recently read an article in Growing For Market, a magazine focused on local food, discussing the importance of soil health and rethinking how we understand the ground under our feet.

In "Soil: A Living, Breathing Ecosystem," author and farmer Jen Aron of Blue Raven Farm in Oregon discusses in detail just how alive the soil is. Even though we can't see it with our eyes, our soil is made up of countless microorganisms and other living matter, interacting with each other, our plants, animals and even us. When we understand the soil to be alive, it makes us rethink our relationship with it, and leads us to a different sense of how to treat and interact with it. Click below to read the full article - we hope you find it as interesting as we did!
Norfolk Farmers' Market Seeking Vendors

The Norfolk Farmers' Market is looking for more vendors to join them this summer. The market is held on Wednesdays from 3 - 6pm, June 8th - September 28th on the Norfolk Town Common. Cheese & dairy vendors, produce farmers, and value-added producers are wanted.
Farmers' Market Managers: Certify or Recertify to Accept FMNP Coupons 

Markets that have previously accepted or wish to accept FMNP senior coupons must certify for the 2022 market season. New markets to the program must complete a virtual training, and familiar markets should review the program guidelines. Certify or recertify here by May 15th and if you have any questions, email [email protected].
PERC Announces Funding for Agriculture Community-Based Projects

The Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative is now accepting applications to fund projects that will support farmworkers, pesticide handlers, their families and communities by providing educational support on the safe use of pesticides.

Two projects will be funded through this program, up to $100,000 each. Applications are due June 1, and there is an info session on May 18 at 12 pm EST.
Mass Ag in the Classroom Workshop May 28

Join Mass Ag in the Classroom (MAC) on Thursday, May 26 for their next educational workshop, "Simple Machines...Can You Find Them On a Farm?" This workshop will be led by Eric Starbard of Crystal Brook Farm, who will share examples from his own farming experience.

MAC offers courses and lessons to help educators build their agricultural literacy and bring agriculture into the classroom. If you or an educator you know is interested, you can register online today and check out their other courses!
Fairshare CSA Coalition Hosting 6-Month Course on CSA Incentive Programs
Join FairShare CSA Coalition and the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) for a 6-month deep dive on Incentives for CSA. This Community of Practice will provide a facilitated discussion space for individuals and organizations actively administering CSA incentive programs.

Participants can expect to learn from one another's programs, engage in real-time problem solving of top issues, as well as aid in the development and dissemination of resources by FairShare and the Farm Direct team of the Nutrition Incentive Hub.

Guided by input from farmers and TA providers, this group will focus on some of the biggest challenges for administering incentive programs for CSA. The group will spend 2 meetings on each of the following challenge areas, with flexibility depending on the needs and interests of participants:

Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
MA House Passes Budget with Buy Local Funding, Moves to Senate
Last week, the Massachusetts State House of Representatives passed its budget for FY23, which included full funding for the state's Buy Local organizations! It also included support for other important local food priorities, including the Healthy Incentives Program, Massachusetts Farm to School, a School Meals Extension and more! Check out this breakdown of the food security budget from the MA Food Policy Council to see the full details.

The next phase of the budget process is the State Senate taking up their own budget items, which will begin this week. Now is a great time to tell your state senators to let them know you would like to see Buy Locals and food security funded in the next budget, as well as thanking your State Representatives for their support in the House Budget! Your support is greatly appreciated.
Community Open House at Bristol Aggie May 7
Join Bristol Aggie High School this Saturday for a Community Open House! The day will feature an exhibit on Massachusetts Agriculture Today, the opening of the newly renovated Gilbert Hall, a campus tour and scavenger hunt, plant and flower sales, and a Bristol Aggie baseball game to end the day.

The event kicks off at 9am at Keith Hall, where you can find many different groups talking about their role in our food system and how they support local agriculture, including SEMAP. Be sure to stop by and say hello, and stick around for the rest of the today to learn more about what Massachusetts agriculture looks like in the present, and what lies ahead in the future!
Mother's Day Bouquets at Crooked Barn Flower Farm

Looking for a great Mother's Day gift? Try a bouquet of locally grown flowers from Crooked Barn Flower Farm! These magnificent mixed bouquets will feature early Peony, Garden Roses, Viburnum and Tulips

Pre-order by May 4 to get yours, and plan to pick up from one of three sites on Saturday, May 7!
Osamequin Farm Hosts First Live Storytelling
Osamequin Farm in Seekonk is hosting their first-ever storytelling event, Mother Nurture, on Sunday May 8 from 3-5pm. The event will feature local music, snacks and drinks, beautiful Spring weather, and some great story-tellers from across the community.

Tickets are available online, as well as details for prospective storytellers. Come out and enjoy the day!
Soule Homestead Plant Sale May 6-7

Looking to get your garden started off right? Come down to Soule Homestead in Middleboro this weekend for their annual plant sale! The sale opens on Saturday, May 7 from 10-3, with a member-only pre-sale on May 6 from 12-5pm. Plants are available on a first come, first served basis while supplies last, and all proceeds support Soule Homestead.
Seedling Sale at Medway Community Farm May 14-15

After the success of last year's seedling sale, Medway Community Farm are looking forward to another great turnout this year! Varieties for sale include several different heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes hot and sweet peppers, herbs, and much more! Check out their full list of offerings online, and make sure to get down their in time to get your favorite plants for your garden!
Local Food Fest Returns to Newport This Summer - Tickets Available Now
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is excited to bring back their Local Food Fest for the first time since 2019 this summer on August 9 in Newport RI. The event features dozens of local farms paired with chefs from some of the top local restaurants. Meet these local food stars, watch live dish preparation, and enjoy their delicious creations along with local wine, beer, signature cocktails, live music, and the beautiful water-view setting of Castle Hill Inn's Chalet Patio and Lawn overlooking the Newport Bridge spanning Narragansett Bay.

The event will feature several of our great local farms, including Langwater Farm, Hocus Pocus Farm, DaSilva Farm, Ward's Berry Farm, and more. You can see the whole lineup and purchase tickets at their website.
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Reading
With the weather finally warming up, and the days getting longer, now is the perfect time of year to settle into a nice porch chair or spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the sun with a good book.

Robin Wall Kimmerer's classic, "Braiding Sweetgrass," is a foundational text for thinking about our relationships with food, land and indigenous peoples and cultures. Drawing upon her experience as a biologist and a member of the Potawatomi Nation, she weaves a touching and heartfelt narrative in her search to confront our current world, including modern food and agriculture.

The book moves across Kimmerer's own personal journey, detailing her learning about her own background and culture, her discovery of and passion for botany and plants, and the tension she has felt trying to educate and share these ideas with a world so far removed from them.

Have something you've seen, heard, or read that you think fellow farmers & foodies would like, too? Send your recommendation to [email protected].
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 May, be on the lookout for...
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Lettuce & Greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Pea Shoots
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Sprouts
And don't forget about year-round local products like meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood!
Local Food Jobs
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 [email protected].
Multiple Field Positions at Skinny Dip Farm in Westport & Little Compton
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