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The Vine - April 2019
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A Message from the Director 
 
SEMAP has its own version of spring planting. Each spring one of the ways we grow demand for local food in Southeastern Massachusetts is by publishing our Local Food Guide of the region's farmers, growers, fishermen, aquaculturists, and value-added producers. In a world where demand for a customer's attention is at a premium, we fill a unique role with the Local Food Guide where you can both peruse the offerings at leisure or zero in on a specific geographic area and type of local food. The Local Food Guide focuses solely on businesses that are part of our local food industry: farms, farmers markets, restaurants, and food establishments. We also highlight fairs and festivals to promote our agricultural heritage, and we work hard to be certain that as many people as possible learn about the options to engage with local food in our area.

Continue reading here  about the Local Food Guide and SEMAP's successful trip to Beacon Hill for Agriculture Day at the State House.

With thanks,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
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Four Acre Farm Reports on SEMAP TIE Grant-Funded Insulated Langstroth Hive
Four Acre Farm in Norfolk, MA was established in 2014. It is a small, yet growing farm dedicated to ethical, sustainable farming practices. They recently released their report on an insulated Langstroth hive that they built using funding from a SEMAP TIE Grant. Download the full report at the link below.

"It immediately occurred to us that humans have long ago added insulation to their homes to fix problems from heat loss, yet we were forcing them upon the bees. Our 3/4 inch pine box is failing in its ability to protect the bees from Mother Nature. Can bees work hard to deal with heat? Yes. Can bees eat extra food to keep warm in winter? Yes. But why should we force them to deal with this stress? Read more & download the full report .
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Bristol County Conservation District Seeking Board Members
The Bristol County Conservation District (BCCD) is a subdivision of state government and is responsible for the wise use and conservation of the County's natural resources. Conservation districts identify and address natural resource concerns in local communities, and coordinate public and private resources to meet local needs on a grassroots level.

Bristol County Conservation District is managed by a seven-member volunteer Board of Supervisors who are elected, during an annual meeting, to 3-year terms on a rotating basis.  Any landowner or resident in Bristol County is eligible to serve on the board or as a non-voting Associate Member. Continue reading.
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FREE Farm Technical Assistance from SEMAP
SEMAP has funding for farmers to make business and marketing improvements, especially beginning farmers and farmers who sell direct to  consumers. 

Some ideas for potential projects we could help farms with include web design, Quickbooks training, business plan development, LLC legal advice, finding farmer-to-farmer mentorships, Whole Farm Planning, and farm stand merchandising, among other business needs. Reach out to us with questions and ideas both large and small and we'll make it a priority to find the information and expertise to get answers. 

DON'T WAIT! Funding resources are limited, so contact us at info@semaponline.org today! Put "[Your Farm Name] Technical Assistance Request" in your email subject line.
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Local Food Guide Updates & Advertising
A lot can change for a business over the course of a year or two - hours, location, website, social media, product offerings and more. Make sure we've got you covered. 

Our Buy Fresh Buy Local Guideā„¢ is supported by businesses who know their target audience: folks who love locally made and locally grown goods.

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Cultivating Viable Farms and Food Enterprises with The Carrot Project
For over ten years, The Carrot Project has worked with start-up farms and food producers throughout New England to help them build the business skills vital to running successful farm enterprises. Our clients are small farmers grossing less than 500K in profits per year, and food and agriculture businesses that source their products locally. We want to see the local food businesses in our community thriving 5, 10, and 50 years from now. That's why, since our founding, we have supported food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses towards profitability. Continue reading.
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Apply to Mass Farm to School Institute
The Massachusetts Farm to School Institute is a year-long professional learning opportunity for school (or school district) teams from across Massachusetts. The Institute will kick-off with a Fall Retreat held at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA, October 18-19, 2019. 
Benefits of participation include:
  • Farm to School Program Development
  • Opportunity to apply for Farm to School grant funding
  • School-Year Technical Assistance
  • Networking
  • Teacher & Nutrition Staff Professional Development
Spaces are limited. Application due April 30, 2019. Learn more.
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June Wool Pool at Bristol Aggie
The Southeastern New England Fibershed is organizing a wool pool for June at Bristol County Agricultural High School. Wool collection & processing to be done by Green Mountain Spinnery. More details to follow. 

Email your interest  to  fiber@semaponline.org  and we will let you know more details when they have been scheduled.
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Upcoming Deadlines for MDAR Grants
MDAR has several grants with upcoming deadlines:

Stewardship Assistance & Restoration on APR (SARA) Grant - t o address stewardship or restoration issues on property preserved by an APR (Agricultural Preservation Restriction) in order to maximize productive agricultural use of the protected resource. Provides funds to r eclaim inactive fields back into active cropland or remediate damage from natural disasters, among other restorative measures.  Deadline to apply is April 17th.

Specialty Crop Block Grant -  to enhance competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Informational webinar is April 17th (contact Rebecca Davidson to join webinar). Deadline to apply is May 1st.

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) - assists beginning farmers who are between 1 and 5 years in business by providing technical assistance and business planning for farm improvement strategies.  Deadline to apply is May 7th. 

APR Improvement Program (AIP) - provides business planning and technical assistance to farms with land that has already been protected through MDAR's Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. Deadline to apply May 7th.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP) - for established farms, it provides business planning and technical assistance to help established commercial farms identify strategies to increase farm viability such as new or expanded enterprises, increased productivity, marketing, and/or environmental sustainability. Deadline to apply is May 7th.
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Submit a photo for the Massachusetts Ag Calendar
The annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar is an excellent resource that serves as an educational tool for teachers, legislators and the public. The calendar provides an attractive daily reminder of the diversity of agriculture across the state. It includes monthly educational/teaching tips, special ag-related days and website links on each page. The deadline to submit photos for the 2020 calendar is July 1st.   Learn more .
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MDAR Survey for CSA Farmers
MDAR's Division of Agricultural Markets is developing a directory of CSA farmers that are interested in partnering with corporate headquarters in Massachusetts as drop off sites. If you are a CSA farm, please take 2 minutes to complete this survey . This will help MDAR begin building a directory of CSA farmers that are interested in partnering with businesses. Questions, contact Rebecca.Davidson@mass.gov or Richard.LeBlanc@mass.gov.
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SEMAP Member Announcements
Ivory Silo Farm's Extra Early Spring Plant Sale
Ivory Silo Farm in Westport is holding an Extra Early Spring Plant Sale with cold-hardy crops to get your garden started.  The sale will be held right on Hixbridge Road in Westport (west of the intersection with Horseneck Road) on Saturday, April 27th from 10am - 2pm. We will be accepting cash, check, or cards and will be open rain or shine - the plants don't mind!  Learn more here.
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Yoga with Alpacas at Hope Alpaca Farm
Hope Alpaca Farm is a 20-acre farm that raises Huacaya Alpacas.  Starting May 22nd, e very  Wednesday evening at 5:30pm we will be hosting Y oga with our Alpacas.

Please bring a yoga mat. Cost is $15/per hour.  Email Hope Alpaca Farm for more details.  Learn more about Hope Alpaca Farm
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Jobs & Opportunities
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Upcoming Events


4/20 & 4/27 -- Dartmouth Grange Pancake Breakfast, Dartmouth, MA

4/20 -- Round the Bend Farm's Open Farm Day, South Dartmouth, MA


4/24 -- MAAC Ag Com Bootcamp on Pesticides, Walpole, MA


5/5 -- Bristol Aggie Spring Expo, Dighton, MA


June -- DATE TBD - Wool Pool at Bristol Aggie, Dighton, MA



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Contact Us

Executive Director

Outreach Coordinator

Outreach Intern


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Meet our Members!


Cervelli Farm
Rochester, MA


Hay Ray's Farm & Feed,
Westport, MA



White Barn Farm
Wrentham, MA







Howden Farm,
Sheffield, MA
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