The Vine - February 2023
Photo at Flying Carrot Farm in Dartmouth
Dear Friends,

You might not have truly noticed it yet, but our days are slowly yet surely getting longer as they pass. Just a little more sunlight lingers each evening, as our (so-far) mild winter draws towards its end. Soon enough, we'll be deep in the throes of spring, and the new growing season will be well underway.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, we still have a little more winter to get through. Luckily, we have lined up some exciting programs this month to lead into the season to come, including our 16th Annual Ag and Food Conference, happening virtually on Sunday, February 26th! We've got a great lineup scheduled for this year's event, which you can find on our Conference webpage now! More details and registration can be found later in this email, along with information on our first in-person event of 2023 - a DIY germination chamber workshop with Osamequin Farm on February 16th! Osamequin received a TIE Award from SEMAP to test out this project, and we are excited to hear their results and share that knowledge with our community. Applications for this year's TIE Award can still be submitted before the end of the day today - find more details below!

Perhaps the biggest news of the month is the re-opening of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) Program from EEA. This year's applications window is tight, with proposals due by March 2nd. Read on to find more details from EEA on how this year's application and program are updated from previous cycles, and for ways SEMAP can support your application for this round of funding.

Check out the rest of the newsletter for important news on land opportunities, farmer roundtables on climate change, statewide and local farming workshops, CSA shares for 2023 in our region, and so much more. Whether you're a producer, backyard grower, market manager, supporter, or something else, we hope you find something in this month's Vine that catches your eye.

With Gratitude,
James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
SAVE THE DATE - Ag and Food Conference, Feb 26!
We are now less than 30 days away from SEMAP's 16th Annual Agriculture and Food Conference, presented virtually 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.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Neftalí Durán, co-founder of I-Collective, an organization focused on promoting Indigenous peoples' impacts on the food system, teaching about Indigenous food practices, and uplifting Indigenous voices. We will announce more workshops and panels this month, which you can keep track of on the Conference webpage and across our social media pages.

Register by Tuesday, February 14 to make sure you can receive the full printed Conference program in time for the event.

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.
This year's conference is made possible through the support of our incredible sponsors: PCT Federal Credit Union, Davoll's General Store, Farm and Coast Market, Buzzard's Bay Brewing, Edible Southeastern Massachusetts, Turtle Tree Seed and MarketLink. Support for the Conference also comes from funding through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
TIE Presentation at Osamequin Farm - February 16
Want to kick off your growing season earlier and improve your germination rates? Join us for an in-person TIE presentation at Osamequin Farm in Seekonk on Thursday, February 16! Last year, Osamequin received a TIE Award to build a DIY germination chamber on the farm. See how they did it and get tips on building your own. Come with questions, and your own experiences to share!
In other TIE Award news, we recently received a report from Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms in Westport covering their research project from last year's TIE award. For three months, they tested growth in American Oysters in a number of different equipment types and drying techniques, with the help of a local biology student. Pictures and an abstract from the report can be found on our website.
There is still time to apply for the current round of TIE Awards! Submit your research or project idea through this 10-20 minute application form before today's deadline!
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.

  • Dairy Farm Innovation & Alternative Management Grant: To enable dairy farmers to access resources and technical assistance to support the implementation of community- and climate-forward production strategies, especially those that take a whole-farm system approach and increase collaboration with other farms or dairy sector stakeholders.
  • Deadline: February 2nd

  • Commercial Refrigeration Grant: To increase the adoption of more climate-friendly low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment in Massachusetts.
  • Deadline: February 3rd

  • Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG): To increase equitable access to locally-produced foods in Massachusetts, as well as ensure that farmers, fisherman and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruptions.
  • Deadline: March 2nd
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
FSIG Applications Live NOW!
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) released the RFR for a new round of Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) for Fiscal Year 2024. This round of the program makes over $28 million available to support food security in MA. Proposals can be submitted until March 2, 2023, and all approved projects will be under contract until June 30, 2024.

The FSIG program has provided money for farmers, fisheries, food banks and other key pieces of our food system, in an effort to bolster food security across the Commonwealth. Over the past two cycles, projects across the state have been funded to ensure producer, distributors and more are better equipped to proved for Massachusetts residents amid supply chain and distribution disruptions.

EEA hosted two information sessions over Zoom last month, with recordings of both sessions now available. The deadline for sending questions to EEA is February 16 at 4 p.m. Questions can be sent in by email to
SEMAP is able to provide assistance to applicants in Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk counties. Available support includes SEMAP's capacity to assist:
  • discussion of and feedback on eligibility of farm or project
  • review of up to 2 drafts per applicant ("draft" can be bulleted list of notes)
  • must receive all drafts for review by Monday, Feb 20th
  • letter of support - we must read your project description first
  • feedback on application writing to support completion - we CANNOT write applications for you

We also have available a recording of our FSIG Grant Writing Workshop from 2022, and a brief update for this new cycle, both done with the help of Rose Wilson.

Please send all review or letter requests to
Three Parcels of MDAR Land in Lakeville Available for Lease
MDAR is seeking applications for the use of up to three parcels of agricultural land in Lakeville off of Bridge Street. The parcels available are Fields 2, 3 and 7 in the graphic above, which you can find with more details in the RFR. Soils are classified as prime and state important. Applicants may bid on any number of the parcels. 

Responses to the RFR are due by February 17. For all questions on the property and the RFR, please contact Barbara Hopson at
Northeast Cover Crops Conference This Month!

The Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC) annual conference will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2023. The meeting will take place at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine, and is open to farmers, students, extension agents, crop consultants, and other agricultural professionals.

This event will include presentations covering the economic and financial opportunities in cover crops, how to diversify cover crop species, cover crops in vegetable production, the role of cover crops in climate change mitigation, and more.

Registration for the conference is $75 for farmers and students and $100 for the general public. Financial support is available to eligible registrants.
Statewide Meat Producers Networking Meeting

Join fellow meat and poultry producers to discuss challenges and share ideas related to raising, processing, and selling meat in Massachusetts. This statewide virtual networking event is open to all, but oriented toward small, mid-sized, or homestead meat producers. The event will include a presentation from poultry farmers Kat Chang Laznicka and Peter Reed Laznicka of Reed

The meeting will be held over Zoom on February 15 from 5 - 6:30 p.m., and is free to join. This event is hosted by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). Please contact Molly Funk at 413-665-7100 ext. 35 with any questions.
Legal Food Hub Winter Webinar Series Starts Today

The Legal Food Hub's annual Winter Workshop series begins today! These sessions will provide participants with foundational legal knowledge for various aspects of their small business. Workshops will be held on a weekly basis throughout the month of February. All sessions are free, virtual and open to the public.

Legal Food Hub is a project of the Conservation Law Foundation, and provides Pro Bono legal assistance, workshops, and trainings to farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations in order to foster a sustainable, resilient, and just food system.
Certified Naturally Grown Offering Course Discounts

Certified Naturally Grown is currently offering a 25% discount on their upcoming Foundations of Crop Production course for farmers who apply to join and are accepted! Farmers who are accepted will receive the discount code via email.

Join a class of peers who share your ambition for a thriving ecological farm. Led by a team of seasoned farmers and agricultural technicians, this four-part series will dig into the crucial components of crop management. A vibrant mix of course content will keep the learning process exciting as we cover the principles behind key topics before diving into practical, on-farm solutions. Course begins February 8.
No More Normal: A Climate Adaptation Roundtable at Ward's Berry Farm
Let’s face it– there is no more ‘normal’ growing season anymore. The first and last frosts are erratic, and precipitation is all over the place– heavy rains one summer and droughts the next.

Join American Farmland Trust's New England Climate and Agriculture team and Jim Ward of Ward's Berry Farm on February 13th from 2-4 for a farmer roundtable discussion of strategies and ideas for building resilience on our farmlands. Jim will kick off the event by sharing some of his observations and approaches to farming in increasingly variable weather conditions, and the role that soil health plays in managing for crop resilience

This event is geared toward mechanized vegetable farms of medium to large scale; both conventional and organic strategies will be discussed. This is a free, farmer-focused, peer-to-peer event. AFT Staff will provide refreshments, logistics, and detailed note taking so you can have access to notes from the conversation after the event.

Please RSVP to ensure there are enough chairs and refreshments for all!
No More Normal: A Farmer Roundtable Discussion on Climate Adaptation
Date: February 13th, 2-4pm
Location: Ward’s Berry Farm, 614 S Main St, Sharon, MA 02067
Local Food Trade Show on March 1 - Register Today!
The Boston Local Food Program will host its 12th Annual Local Food Trade Show of New England, taking place on March 1st, in-person at Russell's Garden Center in Wayland, MA.

The Local Food Trade Show curates a selection of unique New England food producers who have a dedication to sustainability, with a focus on local, green, and fair efforts, who are then paired with a selection of buyers who are specifically looking for the sustainable food products that Trade Show exhibitors are producing. 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.

To attend the Trade Show as an exhibitor, you must apply by Sunday, February 12. Exhibitors will be provided tables, chairs, parking, and lunch made available for purchase. Folks can also come to the Trade Show as an buyer, with tickets available until March 1. This includes tickets for you and two staff members, parking, and lunch available for purchase.
National Survey on Balancing Family and Farming, Ranching
Researchers at the National Farm Medicine Center and The Ohio State University are looking for farmers and ranchers who are raising children 0 to 18 to participate in an online survey. The survey asks about your families’ experiences of taking care of children (age 0 to 18) while also working on and off the farm/ranch. The survey is open to part time and full time farmers, ranchers, and their partners operating in rural, urban, or suburban areas. Participants have the option to enter a raffle for one of fifty $50 checks. Survey responses are due by March 15.

To fill out the 15 to 20 minute survey, click here or use the button below.

For questions or to request a paper survey, contact project lead Florence Becot at 715-389-9379 or­­­­­­­­­­­­
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
New Entry Workshop Series Continues This Month!

The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project will be hosting trainings to producers on record-keeping and financial management strategies to improve access to grants, cost-share, and loan programs. Register today for any of the next classes, including:

Exploring USDA Rural Development through BA/SBIR Business Development Programs, (February 13, 6:00-8:00. Online). >>Details

Crop Insurance and Other Research-based Opportunities, (March 6, 6:00-8:00 PM. Hybrid). >>Details

Lessons from the Field from Small Scale Farmers (March 20, 6:00-8:00 PM. Online). >>Details
Bristol County Farmer Seeking Land for Flower Operation
Russells Mills Flower Co. based out of South Dartmouth is looking for a suitable location for their business to continue to grow. They would love to continue to operate in Bristol County, but would entertain other properties in Mass, RI, and CT.

While they are looking to purchase a pre-existing farm operation, they would be open to a lease agreement if the terms were mutually agreeable.

Utilities and basic farm infrastructure must be in place. On farm housing is prefered but not a priority. Minimum of 25 tillable acres required. Ideal farm site would have 50+/- tillable.

APR farms preferred over other restriction holders, must have flexibility around water usage, and building envelopes.

Please email with any questions or inquiries.
Buy Local News
2023 CSAs Opening Now - Buy Your Shares Today!
It's time to get your CSA share for the 2023 growing season! Many of our wonderful local farms have started rolling out farm shares for this year already, so now is the time to buy yours and make sure you get all the great local fruits, veggies, meat, eggs and more this year!

SEMAP has just launched a CSA page for Southeastern Massachusetts, which you can view now to find offers near you! Check out the mini-guide today, and get your share for the season!

Look out for CSA Week, organized by the CSA Innovation Network, from February 20-26! Farms all across the country participate in CSA Week, promoting their business and the value of CSA for farmers everywhere. If you are looking for ways to participate, check out their CSA Week guide and promotional packet!
2nd Annual Community Maple Series at Osamequin

Osamequin Farm in Seekonk is kicking off their second annual Community Maple season with a tree-tapping demonstration on February 11th! Come learn how to tap the maples in your yard, and purchase a tapping kit if you need one. Then head home and tap, collect your sap weekly, and bring it back to the farm to contribute to the boil on Sundays through February and March. At the end of the season, we'll have community maple syrup! All the details can be found on their website.
Online Chicken Workshop for Families by Rodrigues Farm
Rodrigues Farm in Berkeley is hosting a virtual education series all about raising chicks! Each event will cover the life cycle of a chicken, and will include a raffle of chicks for attendees! This is a great event for children and families to help them learn more about some of our favorite farm animals and nature.

Each event will be broadcast live on the Rodrigues Farm Instagram, and will be presented in Portuguese.
InTents Farmers Market Conference

Join Farmers Market Pros for their 7th Annual InTents: The Farmers Market Conference, March 6th-8th in-person in San Diego, CA or virtually! The three day conference will feature panels and workshops from leaders across the farmers' market network in the United States, Canada and beyond. There will also be networking opportunities, community learning spaces and a resource lounge. With another market season right around the corner, this conference is sure to have something for anyone preparing for the year to come!
Round The Bend "Cash for Carne" Meat CSA Now Open

Round The Bend Farm in Dartmouth is now accepting new members for their "Cash for Carne" Meat CSA for 2023! Cash for Carne allows you to choose a package size that best fits your family, and gives you the ability to choose what cuts of meat you would like.

All animals are raised on the farm by Paradox Acres & Goatbusters. Purchase your package on their website, or email with any questions or for more details.
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
Local Farms Receive Major Recognitions to Start New Year
Last month, two local farms and food businesses received some major recognition for their work in the past year.

First, Rodrigues Farm in Berkeley were featured in The Brazilian Times Newspaper after receiving an award at the Brazilian Times gala dinner in late 2022 for "Outstanding Community Service." Owners Paolo and Amina were interviewed about their family farm, how they got started and what the honor means to them. You can read the article from the Brazilian Times here, which can be translated from Portuguese to English through a Google Chrome extension.

Second, in late January, the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts hosted their Sustainable Business Awards Celebration for 2022, which included recognition of Rehoboth's Gilded Tomato Company as the Farm to Table Business of the Year! SEMAP recently featured GIlded Tomato in the most recent issue of The Plowshare, our seasonal print newsletter, which you can find on our website.

We are always thrilled to see our local farms and producers recognized for their great work.
What We're Reading
As we prepare for another undoubtedly tiring and hopefully fulfilling growing season, we want to provide you with a recommendation that, while still unpublished, should serve well to ground farmers in the year to come.

"Soils and Spirit: Cultivations and Kinship in a Web of Life" is a collection of essays, poems, and reflections from farmer and educator Scott Chaskey. After decades of agricultural work that took him all over the world, Chaskey has taken his notes and observations in his work and compiled them into this text, available from Milkweed Editions.

While it is different for us to recommend a text we haven't read, let alone one that hasn't been released yet, there is an interesting parallel to be had between a work before it is printed and the anticipation of the season ahead. Our hope is that by the time this book arrives in May, your fields will be full of early crop and hope, your days long and fulfilling, and that this book might help serve as a reminder of why your work means more than we can sometimes say ourselves.

We are always looking for new suggestions of resources to broaden our understanding and learning about what matters to farmers, and we especially want to hear from you about what you've read, heard or watched recently. 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 January, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Komatsuna
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Rutabagas
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnips
  • Winter Radishes
  • 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
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