The Vine - January 2023
Photo at Westport Sea Farms in Westport
Dear Friends,
Happy New Year to everyone across our region! We hope you and your loved ones had a restful end to 2022, and are preparing to start 2023 with energy and enthusiasm. While it may feel far away, days of bountiful harvest and fresh produce from our farmers lie just around the corner, as seed catalogs and crop plans are worked through in the coming weeks.

SEMAP is excited to kick off the new year by officially introducing our new Executive Director, Susan Murray! Susan joins us after many years of farming with her husband, most recently at Flying Carrot Farm in Dartmouth. She brings an immense amount of experience to SEMAP as a farmer, scientist, administrator, and leader, and we are thrilled to have her join our team! You can read more about Susan's background and her vision for the organization in our upcoming issue of The Plowshare, our season print newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

As we prepare for this year's Ag and Food Conference in February, we are thrilled to offer workshops throughout the winter to help farmers prepare for the season to come. This month, we are hosting two virtual workshops for farmers: one on Micro Farm Loans with The Carrot Project, and another on Off-Season Social Media Planning. More details can be found below, including links to register.

Below, you can also find updates on funding opportunities for your food business, including SEMAP's TIE Award program and the upcoming round of FSIG funding from MDAR, as well as more ag community events to help you get through the winter months. We hope you find something here that is of use, and as always, if there is any way SEMAP can support you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With Gratitude,
James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
SAVE THE DATE - Ag and Food Conference, Feb 26!
We are now less than 60 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.

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 sponsoring SEMAP in 2023, check out the new sponsorship package on our website, and reach out with any inquiries.
Winter Workshops on Farm Loans, Social Media Planning This Month
Start the new year off on the right foot by joining us for our first two virtual workshops of 2023! Both are FREE.

On Wednesday, January 18, join SEMAP and The Carrot Project in a workshop exploring the new USDA Micro Farm Insurance Program! Speaker Amanda Chang is well-versed in this program, which could be perfect for farms with up to $350,000 in approved annual revenue. Learn whether this program is right for you, understand your next steps, and network with other small farmers!
Then on Wednesday, January 25, we will be hosting Mieko Ozeki of Radiance Studios, LLC to discuss the most effective marketing strategies to adopt during the off-season. How do you keep your business on customers' minds when markets are closed and product offerings are sparse? This workshop specifically focuses on Facebook and Instagram presence.
Registration for both events is open now through our website. Head over to the SEMAP event calendar for more details and to sign up today!
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.

  • NYFC Young Farmer Grant: To support young (18-40 years old) and beginning farmers with flexible funding for costs associated with start-up and business growth.
  • Deadline: January 13th

  • 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

  • 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
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
SEMAP TIE Award Application Open Until February 1!
SEMAP is excited to announce that applications are now open for our Technology, Innovation, Excellence (TIE) Award for 2023!

SEMAP’s TIE Award program encourages local farmers to trial non-traditional equipment, implement novel farm systems, and address challenges farmers in the region collectively face. This program enables our local farms to explore new ideas locally and share their findings with the region's farming community to increase local knowledge, capacity, and resiliency.

The TIE Award is intended to lower the economic barriers to innovation, with awards ranging from $500 to $3,000 depending on the merits of the project.

Applications are due February 1, 2023, but the application takes only 15 minutes to fill out, so tell us about your idea or vision today!
FSIG Funding for FY24 Announced, Listening Sessions This Week
Working to combat food insecurity throughout the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the availability of $28.5 million in funding for the FY24 Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) Program. This funding will allow the Commonwealth to ensure equitable access to healthy, locally-produced food for individuals and families throughout the state.

In order to best support applicants within the state’s local food production and distribution system, the FSIG Program administrators will be hosting two virtual question and answer sessions on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, from 1:00PM to 3:00 p.m. and Thursday, January 5, 2023, from 4:00PM to 6:00 p.m. to answer potential applicant questions related to project ideas, as well as hear any feedback in response to previous rounds. Following these sessions, a Request for Responses (RFR) will be issued, seeking proposals from stakeholders.
NOFA Tri-State Bulk Order Now Open for 2023

The NOFA Tri-State Bulk Order is now open for 2023! Orders can be made through their online catalog until the end of January, so get your orders in today!

The Tri-State Bulk Order program is great for organic growers of all scales. NOFA/Mass organizes this annual regional buying program for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with pickup sites for purchased items throughout these states in March and April (locations & dates for pick-up TBD).
Local Food For Schools Program Virtual Information Session, January 19

Join Massachusetts Farm to School for a virtual info session to learn about a big new sales opportunity for Massachusetts Producers! Massachusetts schools are set to receive $3.5 million dollars to spend exclusively on local, unprocessed or lightly processed foods.

This one-time USDA funding will be available to schools beginning in the spring of 2023 and schools will have 18 months to spend the funds. The funding is part of the USDA's Local Food For Schools program.
National Survey for SNAP CSA Farmers from CSA Network

If you currently or previously have offered SNAP CSA options at your business, the CSA Innovation Network, Farmers' Market Coalition and FairShare CSA Network want to hear from you! They are currently compiling survey results from farmers who have worked with SNAP CSA models to inform training, technical assistance, & resource opportunities around administering & implementing SNAP incentive programs in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) settings.
Cooperative Business Webinar from NFU Jan 31

How do co-ops stay competitive in evolving markets? Hear from Adam Schwartz, Founder of The Cooperative Way, on how user benefits, member relationships, appreciation of common needs, and active participation of members all underscore the cooperative advantage and ensure the viability of cooperative business.

This webinar is hosted by National Farmers Union, which represents family farmers, fishers and ranchers across the country, with formally organized divisions in 33 states.
MassGrown Wellness Trainings Begin This Month
MDAR's 2023 Farm Stress and Mental Health Awareness Training for all members of the Massachusetts agricultural community, beginning January 9, 2023. The peer-based training groups are customized for Massachusetts farmers and those that support them, including family members, our staff and MDAR partner organizations.

The Training programs are designed to enable participants to become allies in the Department's mental health outreach efforts. Those that take part in the training will learn how to recognize signs of stress a farmer and their family may be experiencing, and have the skill set and knowledge to engage and identify helpful resources developed by MDAR. The program's goal is to provide language, context and resources to enhance
mental health conversations.

Trainings will be available online and in person, with sessions available throughout the state over the coming months. Full details on every session and how to register can be found on the MDAR website.
NOFA Winter Conference Season Kicks Off in MA!
The seven NOFA chapters are preparing to kick off their Winter Conference season this month, and you're invited! On January 10, the 2023 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Keynote Speaker Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange will join all the NOFA organizations to discuss the importance of food security and how seed saving continues to play an important role in feeding our communities. Representatives from each of the NOFA chapters will also join to discuss the food security work being done in the Northeast states.
If you're looking for more great workshops with NOFA, don't forget to register for the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, January 14 and 15! Saturday will be hybrid, with in-person workshops at Worcester State University, and Sunday will be entirely virtual. Registration is available on a sliding scale model to allow all folks who would like to attend the ability to do so.
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Free Article: "Farming Small With a Recipe for Profit"

Check out this free article from Growing For Market magazine, featuring insight from Evan Quigley, a single-acre farmer at The Kitchen Garden Farm in Ontario, Canada. This article is a great resource for small-scale farmers, covering strategies for soil healthy, crop rotations, and other helpful tips from Evan!

From the article: "In 2018, Evan scaled back from three acres to around an acre and decided to farm solo without employees. "I realized that I needed to simplify my systems and be as efficient as possible,” he recalled. “There was no way I was lugging wheelbarrows of compost or hauling around a backpack sprayer every week to foliar spray.'"

"Cutting out tasks felt good, but yields dropped while disease pressure increased. So, he continued experimenting and researching with lots of trial and error to establish a high return on investment with a limited budget, and importantly, limited time. Over the next few years, the ongoing R & D paid off."
Buy Local News
Get Ready for 2023 By Updating Your Local Food Guide Listing!
With the new year finally upon us, it is time to start thinking about getting your farm, market, or other food business seen by consumers across the region. What better way than with a listing in SEMAP's Local Food Guide?

Every year SEMAP distributes over 10,000 copies of our Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide for the Southeastern Massachusetts region, as well as offering a digital version on our website. As we prepare our 2023 guide to print and distribute this Spring, now is the time to update your virtual listing and order copies for your business!

Check out SEMAP's virtual Local Food Guide to review your businesses listing, and to find farm stands, farmers' markets and more across Southeastern MA!
Fall River Winter Indoor Market Opens January 9

Mass in Motion - Fall River are opening a new winter market in Fall River to continue providing residents with access to healthy foods through SNAP and HIP! Come to Cardinal Medeiros Towers in Fall River on Fridays from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. to shop for fresh, local produce this winter, and pick up recipes and other useful information about how folks can keep living healthy lives over the winter months!
Master Urban Gardening Course Begins January 21
Want to take your gardening skills to the next level? The Trustees’ Winter Master Urban Gardener class is open for applications! Apply by January 5th for an opportunity to learn from local farmers, gardeners, and university experts about all aspects of small-scale organic gardening.

Classes are in person in downtown Boston on Saturdays from January 21 – March 11, priced on a sliding scale with full scholarships available.
Winter Children's Education at Holly Hill Begins Jan 3

Friend's of Holly Hill Farm start their year-round educational programming for 2023 this winter, beginning on January 3. This program includes 10-week sessions for children of all ages, depending on the session. Full details on each program can be found on their website.

Last year, Holly Hill provided 8,000 school children from diverse backgrounds access to nature-based learning on the farm and through field trips and special school programming. They are excited to continue providing these opportunities!
Winter Markets Still Open in Southeastern MA

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! Head to our website to view 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!
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Listening To
Kicking off our 2023 recommendation list is another insightful and thought-provoking podcast series from the folks at Farmerama Radio. This month, we are excited to share their program from a few years ago, "Landed," which explores and questions long-held assumptions about land ownership through and examination of the family farm structure, as told by seed researcher Col Gordon upon returning to his father's farm in Scotland.

The four-part series takes a close look at how we think about land ownership, succession, and access, and what that means for the viability of our agricultural system. While primarily focused on this structure in the United Kingdom, we think there are still many points that we can bring into our own thinking as we consider what sort of food system we want to build.

From FarmerAma: "This series isn’t about dismissing the small family farm, but rather, bringing it to life within its full ecological, cultural and historical contexts. It challenges us to learn from these to make our landscapes more sustainable and accessible for all."

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
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Rutabagas
  • Sprouts
  • 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
Farm Crew at Roots Farm in Tiverton, RI
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