The Vine - December 2022
Photo at Skinny Dip Farm in Westport
Dear Friends,

We are fast approaching the end of the year - and what a year it has been. A growing season defined by harsh environmental and economic conditions, but still filled with tremendous farming and delicious produce all across our region, is finally coming to a close, but undoubtedly our growers are already preparing for next year. Soon enough, crop plans will be finished, seeds will be ordered and delivered, and before we know it, spring planting will be underway. For now, however, we hope everyone in our community is able to find time for rest, recovery and reflection on the year that was. Giving ourselves time to rest our bodies and minds is important to sustaining ourselves in any work, but especially work as taxing as farming.

The winter months are a great time to focus on some of the skills and aspects of running a farm business that aren't as easy to do in the peak of the season. Thankfully, we have a great array of courses and workshops coming up in our region to help with these, which you can find more about below and on our Event Calendar online.

On top of that, we are excited to officially announce that date and keynote for next year's Ag and Food Conference on Sunday, February 26! We are thrilled to announce that this year's keynote speaker will be Neftali Duran - a chef, activist, and educator based in Holyoke, MA. You can find more about Neftali and registration information below, and be sure to follow SEMAP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up with other announcements as they come out!

Check out the rest of this month's newsletter for more updates, including farmland in Lakeville, a survey on the FSIG program, Christmas Tree farms and other winter and holiday events on farms across the region! As always, if you need anything from SEMAP, never hesitate to reach out to either myself or Shannon, our Program Coordinator.

James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
SAVE THE DATE - Ag and Food Conference, Feb 26!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - SEMAP's 16th Annual Agriculture and Food Conference will be hosted on Sunday, February 26! Join us for a day of engaging virtual workshops on topics ranging all across the food and agricultural space. Farmers, foodies, and agricultural advocates alike are all welcome.

We are excited to share that this year’s keynote speaker will be Neftali Duran! Neftali currently lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and is a chef, advocate, organizer and educator with a focus on building an equitable food system and indigenizing foodways. His work has spread across culinary arts, food access, and more, working with No Kids Hungry and co-founding the I-Collective, an organization focused on promoting indigenous people’s impacts on our food system, educating folks on indigenous food practices, and uplifting indigenous voices.

Tickets are available on a sliding scale, with scholarship and super supporter options, so choose the option you feel best suits you. If cost is still a barrier, please reach out to for a complete scholarship.
We are also currently seeking sponsors for the event, as well for the rest of our programming for next year, to make sure we can continue to provide the support and opportunities farmers are looking for. If your business is interested in sponsorship with SEMAP in 2023, check out the new sponsorship package on our website, and reach out with any inquiries.
SEMAP Annual Meeting and Land Transfer Summit Highlights
Last Thursday, SEMAP hosted our first Land Transfer & Succession Planning Summit alongside our friends at Land for Good, MDAR, Legal Food Hub, Wildlands Trust, and Martha's Vineyard Mediation Program. We had a great turnout of farmland seekers and farmland owners alike! Thank you so much to all who attended, as well as to all who helped make this event happen, including Cranberry Vine Catering, Fred Ames, Karen Schwalbe, and so many others.

Weren't able to make it? Don't fear! We recorded each session. You can find all recordings and resources at the button below. Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or to inquire about one-on-one assistance with land transfer processes!
Current Food Producer Grant Opportunities
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.

  • Massachusetts Food Ventures Program: To increase access to healthy, affordable food options and improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities.
  • Deadline: December 5th

  • Dairy Food Safety and Certification Grant: To improve the safety of dairy products, create access to new markets, and increase the overall marketability of dairy products in the Northeast.
  • Deadline: January 19th

  • Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program: To offer financial assistance for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years in 2022 or 2023.
  • Deadline: January 31st
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
State Farmland Availability for License in Lakeville
Three tracks of land (parcels 2, 3, and 7 in above image) have been re-released for proposals at the state-owned land on Bridge St in Lakeville. Up to 21 acres of prime ag soils are available in total, and you may apply for one, two, or all three parcels. Land is not currently served by any utilities, though MDAR is expecting to drill irrigation well and install deer fencing in the coming months. Applications for a 4-year license are due by 3pm on December 2nd. Priority will be given to historically underserved farmers and those working towards the MA Local Food Action Plan.
ENRA Survey on FSIG Program
The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA) is conducting an online survey in order to increase understanding of the impact of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) and identify areas for program improvement. The committee is hoping to learn how this program benefitted recipients and how it could be improved to better serve applicants and awardees going forward. Your voice matters here, especially as we anticipate another round of FSIG funding to be announced in the coming months!

Read the full cover letter from the committee, explaining in more detail the design of the survey, and take the quick survey, to help the FSIG program develop and work better for farmers and our food system in the future. This is a great opportunity to make sure farming and agricultural voices are heard in the Legislature. Westport Rep. Paul Schmid, co-chair of the Massachusetts Food System Caucus, also strongly encourages participation in this survey.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Shannon Emmett, Research Director for the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, at
NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Begins Soon!

National Farmers Union is again offering their Beginning Farmer Institute, a selective, year-long course for farmers just getting started. Participants will discuss business planning, labor laws, building credit, and so much more. Owning an operation is NOT required.

This FREE course includes a mix of in-person and virtual classes, as well as one-on-one work. NFU offers other benefits to compliment the course, including direct TA, membership, and financial planning resources. Applications are due on December 16th and can be submitted online or by mail.
The Carrot Project Hosting workshop on Micro Farm Insurance

The Carrot Project is offering free workshops and services to help strengthen your business through USDA Micro Farm Insurance! Join them for an in-person info session on Tuesday, December 6 in Beverly, MA, or virtually on Wednesday, December 7 and Friday, December 9.

USDA Micro Farm Insurance is a NEW insurance policy with a new approach, covering more farm processes and products than other crop insurance programs have in the past. Applications for this season’s Micro Farm Insurance close in March 2023, and it is highly encouraged to apply by the end of January to allow enough time for your application to be processed.
New England Veggie and Fruit Conference Dec. 13-15

The New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference includes more than 25 workshops over 3 days in downtown Manchester, NH, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. There is also a large trade show with over 120 exhibitors, and ample networking opportunities!

This year's conference will be held December 13-15th, with speakers from across the region and country joining in-person for the first time in years.
NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Registration Open!

NOFA/Mass is hosting their next winter conference, in person and virtually, on January 14th and 15th. This year's flagship event is focused on cooperative foodways, featuring more than 30 workshops, a community seed swap, free soil health consultations, and a keynote from Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. 

Saturday will be a hybrid day, with workshops available at Worcester State and over Zoom. Sunday will be entirely virtual. Registration is open now!
3-Day Land Transfer Course from Land For Good in Wrentham this Winter
Photo Credit: Land for Good
Are you unsure who will take over your farm?
Feel like your family needs to start talking, but you don't know where to start?
Have questions about retiring that you don't know how to answer?
Can the farm support two generations? 

Join Land for Good for a three-day winter course focused on navigating the many difficult facets of transferring land. This course is for active, commercial farmers looking to transfer their farm to a related or un-related successor. It is an opportunity for senior farmers and partners to talk with peers, learn from advisors, and get support on succession planning. Farmers do not need to have an identified successor to participate in this course.

The fee is $100 per farm, including all materials and support between classes. 
Farmers are required to attend all three days. There will be homework between sessions. Individualized support will be offered between sessions and after the course is concluded. 

The course will be in-person in Wrentham on January 26, March 2, and March 30, and one-on-one support will be provided. Registration is open now and must be completed by January 6.
If you're looking for more information on farmland option, join Land for Good and Cultivemos (formerly called NE-FRSAN) on December 12 and 14 at 1 p.m. to learn about group farmland access concepts, collective growing, and a newly developed resource addressing the intricacies of collaborative farming!

Accessing farmland as a group can solve some land access obstacles and offer multiple benefits. Group tenure can improve farmers’ chances of success, quality of life, social connections, and mental health, but also presents its own set of challenges, stressors, and considerations.
Local Food Trade Show on March 1, 2023 - Register Today!
The 12th Annual Local Food Trade Show of New England is back on March 1st, 2023! After two years of virtual shows, join Sustainable Business Network in-person for their flagship event at Russell's Garden Center in Wayland, MA!

With an expected 130 food businesses, this B2B networking event is a great opportunity for food entrepreneurs and wholesale buyers to connect, explore new sales arrangements, and strengthen the New England food system. This year's new venue, Russell's, is home to the largest winter farmers market in greater Boston and provides a unique, green, and accessible location to showcase some of the best New England food products.
Registration is open now for exhibitors and attendees, with early bird pricing available until December 16th. Attendee tickets include admission for up to two staff members, free parking, and lunch for purchase. Exhibitor Booths include a 6-foot table booth with chairs, parking, and lunch for purchase.
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
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Christmas Tree Farms Across Southeastern Massachusetts
While we still await out first real snow of the season, it is still time to get prepared for the Christmas holiday and pick out a tree from one of our many local tree farms. Tree farming, like the rest of our agricultural system, is really a year-round commitment, but December is by far the busiest and most critical month of them all.

With over 250 Christmas Tree Farms in the Commonwealth, now is a good a time as any to shop local. Here are just a few of the farms in Southeastern Massachusetts where you can find your tree for the year:

This is just a small list of the many growers in our area who can help you this holiday season. Check out SEMAP's virtual Local Food Guide to find farm stands, farmers' markets and more across Southeastern MA! If you need to find farms from another part of the state, Check out the MassGrown Map, which lets you sort by region, business type, crop and more.
Find Your Winter Farmers' Market in our Seasonal Guide!
Looking for where to find your local meat, produce, dairy and more this winter? Check out our seasonal guide for Winter Farmers' Markets in Southeastern Massachusetts!

While the traditional farmer's market season may be over, there are still plenty of great options for buying from local farms throughout the winter months. Winter markets, both indoors and out, can be found all across our region. Head over to our website using the button below, and be sure to look at our entire virtual Local Food Guide for a list of farms in Southeastern Massachusetts, including those who you can still buy from this Winter!

If you have winter plans at your farm or market you want us to share and promote, let us know by email or through this Google form!
Holiday Farm and Artisan Market in Dedham, Dec 17

Dedham Square Circle is hosting a massive Holiday Farm and Artisan Market on Saturday, December 17 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. This market will feature over 25 vendors, including some of your favorite local farms like Oakdale Farms and Big Rock Acres, as well as local crafters, artisans and more!

Through March, visit the Dedham Artisan Market on Saturdays from 10-2 for local produce, foods and other craft and art products. You can find the full list of vendors on their website through the button below.
Dartmouth Grange Holiday Concert, December 6
Spend an evening enjoying a spirited performance of Christmas and seasonal music! The Dartmouth Grange is hosting their annual concert for the community and you are invited!

The event will feature The Unlikely Strummers, a community-based group of ukulele players from across
Southern Massachusetts and
Northern Rhode Island, and their repertoire of holiday favorites will surely delight you! Bring your family and friends, and stay afterward for light refreshments.
Local Beef Available This Winter at J.H. Beaulieu Farm in Fairhaven

Looking for more local meat this winter? Head over to J.H. Beaulieu Farm in Fairhaven for some hormone- and antibiotic-free, pasture raised beef, raised and processed locally in Southeastern Massachusetts. They offer a variety of beef cuts including steaks, ground beef, roasts, sausages and more.

Beef is available for pickup at the farmstand in Fairhaven, at the Sandwich Farmers' Market on December 10, or at the Braintree Farmers' Market on December 17.
Hope Alpaca Open Farm Tour Dates for Winter

Hope Alpaca Farm in Little Compton, RI welcome you to join them this winter for any of their Holiday Open Farm Tours this month! Come down to see the farm, say hello to the alpacas, and visit the store for all sorts of good to keep you warm. They've got hats, gloves, scarves, mittens, socks and more!

Holiday Open Hours are the first three weekends of the month, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. There will be no Holiday Open Farm on the weekend of December 24 or December 31.
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
Coastal Foodshed Virtual Market Back for Winter Shopping
Coastal Foodshed's Virtual Market is back on a new platform! The virtual market, now hosted on Local Food Marketplace, offers weekly, year-round delivery and pickup from farms across the south coast, and accept benefits for both SNAP and HIP users. To start shopping today, head over to their new page and sign up as a customer.

Coastal Foodshed is a non-profit food hub on a mission to make it easier for all Southcoast residents to buy directly from our region's farmers and local food artisans. Their goal is to strengthen the local food economy by creating the supply chain infrastructure that supports small farm operations and growth and makes it easier for customers to purchase local food, and to create equitable access to local food among those households living in communities without enough places to buy fresh, healthy food, (food deserts) or relying on SNAP benefits to purchase the majority of their groceries.
What We're Listening To
We're wrapping up our reading, listening and watching series for the year with one last recommendation this month, and once again we are bringing you a podcast to hopefully bring some big issues together into one cohesive discussion.

UK-Based Farmerama Radio, Land In Our Name, and Out on the Land (the LGBTQIA+ Working Group of Land Workers' Alliance) released a six-part podcast series earlier this year, "Cultivating Justice." The show is a deep, thought-provoking look at how land, growth and identity intersect in myriad ways, featuring interviews, conversations and music from BIPOC, trans, queer, and female folks.

The first episode sets a strong foundation for thinking about these ideas, but also poses questions and ideas that we ourselves found challenging. We wanted to share this not necessarily as a full endorsement of all these ideas, but because the series asks big questions that we are still thinking about after listening.

We hope you've enjoyed all the content we have shared in this section this year. From podcasts, to articles, to books, movies and more, this has been a chance for us to share some of the learning we've been able to do, and bring you all into those conversations. If you have any thoughts or recommendations for this section going forward, send an email to
What's in Season?
With the growing season hitting its peak this time of year, we want to make sure all of our readers and local eaters know what fresh finds you can find at your local farm or farmers' market. We hope this helps you plan recipes and get the most out of local food!

Throughout December, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce & Greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Sprouts
  • Winter Squash
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
New England Policy Associate at American Farmland Trust, Remote (preferably based in Maine)
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