The Vine - June 2023
Photo at E.L. Silvia Farm in Dighton
Dear Friends,

As we begin June, farmers across our region are deep into their season already. Days are long and still getting longer, the weather is heating up, and the work seems to never end. While we all want to celebrate and enjoy the plethora of locally grown goods available to us this time of year, we should do so while recognizing just how much difficult work goes into providing that for us. Every delicious piece of locally grown or raised food is the product of countless hours of labor, both in the field and in business planning by our farmers. As we line up at farmers' markets and farm stands this summer, be sure to remember the people behind the crops you're looking for.

SEMAP's summer plans are picking up quickly, and we are excited to offer more workshops and support to farmers and markets across the region. Our Twilight Series got off to a great start last month, and we are thrilled to continue it next week at Langwater Farm in Easton! More details on that below, as well as on other upcoming Twilight workshops.

Be sure to keep your eyes out for our Local Food Guide this month at markets and farmstands in your area, too! This book is full of information on local food businesses, from farms and markets to locally-sourcing restaurants, brewers, and more! Our summer farmers' market guide is live on our website now, too, so be sure to check it out and find a market near you!

While you're beating the heat today or waiting out the rain this weekend, make sure to have a read through this month's newsletter! You'll find even more updates, from grants and other opportunities for your farm business, to local events and seasonal celebrations hosted by local growers, and so much more! You're sure to find something to help you think and buy local this month!

James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Twilight Series Continue Next Week at Langwater Farm!
Our next Twilight Grower Workshop is now less than a week away! Come join SEMAP at Langwater Farm in Easton on Thursday, June 8 to meet the farmers and learn how they rune their wash-pack operation. We'll be joined by Kevin O'Dwyer, co-farm owner, and Marie-Anne, Pack House Manager, to learn about their wash-pack facilities and best practices, as well as answering all your questions about their business. Staff from the MDAR Produce Safety Team will also be with us to share insights on food safety rules and regulations.

Afterwards, we'll also have food and drinks available, so be sure to stick around! This is a great opportunity to check out a fantastic farm business, get answers to all your questions from other farmers, and enjoy a fun late-spring/early-summer evening.

SEMAP Twilight events are free and open to all; commercial farmers are especially encouraged to attend. Registration ahead of time is strongly encouraged, but walk ins will be welcome. On-site childcare will be available at this and all Twilight events - please use the registration page to indicate if you are bringing children with you.
Can't make it tomorrow night? Not a problem! Our Twilight Series will continue throughout the summer and fall, as we continue to bring farmers together to learn from one another and connect with each other during the season. Check out these upcoming workshops, which you can register for now!

All SEMAP Twilight events are free to all, but we ask that folks register in advance whenever possible. Use the buttons below to sign up for these workshops, and be on the lookout for the rest of our Twilight Schedule, coming soon!
NOFA Summer Conference, July 24-29! Tickets On Sale Now!
The NOFA Summer Conference is the annual summer gathering of the Northeast Organic Farming Association

NOFA is a non-profit organization of over 5,000 small-scale farmers, gardeners, consumers and food system reformers. They promote healthy food, organic regenerative farming practices, and climate disruption solutions through soil management strategies

The theme for this year's Conference is Buen Vivir: Celebrating Harmony with Nature and our Communities.

Buen Vivir is a contemporary philosophy rooted in Indigenous Andean traditions of collective care, land stewardship and harmonious co-existence.

Monday, July 24 - Thursday July 27, with evening speakers and workshops. On Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29, the conference will gather in person at Worcester State University and online for knowledge sharing and celebration through: 

• Workshops and discussions in English & Spanish
• Racial equity caucus groups
• Children’s programming
• Local food & drinks
• A fair!

Find out more about the conference, keep up with workshop announcements, and register on their website 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.

  • Dairy Marketing and Branding Services Grant: To assist established value-added dairy processors and producer associations to access professional marketing and branding services to elevate value-added dairy businesses. To increase consumer awareness of dairy products, develop market channels and distribution opportunities to increase product placement, support innovative strategies to increase consumption, and/or increase business revenues.
  • Deadline: June 8th

  • Massachusetts Food Ventures Program (MFVP): To provide economic opportunities that promote job creation enterprises or new commercial businesses in the regional Commonwealth’s food system, especially in areas of low or moderate income.
  • Deadline: June 14th at 4:00pm

  • Danone Institute Sustainable Food Systems Initiative: To fund transdisciplinary, community-based work that designs, implements, and evaluates actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems that contribute to the nutritional health of populations, as well as communicates about their impact.
  • Deadline: June 14th

  • The New England Food Vision Prize: To support innovative ideas and collaborations that result in increased regional food sourcing by New England’s educational institutions.
  • Deadline for letters of interest: June 16th

SEMAP Business Member Updates
Shady Corner Farm Seeking Land for Compost
Shady Corner Farm is looking for 5-10+ acres of land on a certified organic farm to expand their compost business. They are open to Eastern MA broadly, but prefer to be within a 45-minute drive from their current land in Sherborn. The property should be accessible by vehicles, or you should be open to creating accessibility. Shady Corner is willing to enter a short or long-term lease. Looking for easy access to finished compost? Email Grisha at [email protected] if you might be interested!
Farm Bill Roundtable with Representative Auchincloss for 4th District Farmers
Join Congressman Jake Auchincloss on June 27th for a conversation about the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process. Congressman Auchincloss wants to hear directly from the agricultural producers of the Massachusetts 4th District to learn about your priorities and the issues most important to you as he considers the upcoming Farm Bill, which is reauthorized by Congress every five years.

Event Details:
  • Date: Tuesday, June 27th
  • Time: 3:00-4:00pm 
  • Location: Bristol County Agricultural High School (135 Center Street, Dighton, MA 02715) 
*This event is open only to producers operating in the Massachusetts 4th Congressional District:
Attleboro, Bellingham, Berkley, Blackstone, Brookline, Dighton, Dover, Fall River, Freetown, Foxborough, Franklin, Hopedale, Lakeville, Mansfield, Medfield, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Millville, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Wellesley, Wrentham
Please RSVP for the roundtable by using this Google form.
Additionally, the House Agriculture Committee is seeking public input on Farm Bill reauthorization. You can submit your input online HERE by June 9th. 
MDAR Livestock Producer Survey Due by June 16

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a study of livestock slaughtering and processing options for geographically isolated and rural communities. The Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG), a consulting firm based in Concord, is working under contract with DPH to interview stakeholders and prepare a report evaluating options to address current constraints. ERG is seeking input from as many livestock producers as possible to inform the study. If you have not already provided your input, please take a moment to complete this survey and provide any additional comments that you believe would be helpful in this effort.
On-Farm Discussion on Resiliency with NOFA-RI, June 4

As seasons change and each new day brings its own challenges, how do we as farmers keep it all going? Come join NOFA-RI and Martha O'Neal, Co-Owner at Windmist Farm, for an open-hearted discussion on the resilience and commitment it takes to run a farm.

Martha’s candid narrative of her journey offers a unique opportunity to delve deep into the realities of farm life and learn practical strategies for success. Attendees are highly encouraged to come with questions, ideas, or just stories from their own experiences. The ultimate aim is to foster a supportive network where we learn from each other and grow together.
Chainsaw Safety Training with AgriSafe, June 21

The AgriSafe Network, a non-profit organization, represents health professionals and educators who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community. They believe agricultural injuries, diseases, and fatalities can be prevented through the effective delivery of agricultural occupational health services.

Their upcoming Chainsaw Safety training program is intended for workers and managers in the agricultural and forestry industries. The major focus of the program is on the identification of and the safe operation of chainsaws. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36,000 people are injured by chainsaws annually.
Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) with NOFA

Recently, USDA launched a 5-year investment in TOPP: Transition to Organic Partnership Program. NOFA/Mass, the state's core partner, is coordinating a mentorship program this fall, and is currently seeking potential mentors and mentee farmers and partners for this exciting project. 

NOFA staff will help mentee farmers navigate the organic certification process, and will partner with other organizations to provide community building opportunities, technical assistance, train-the-mentor support, workshop and field day activities.

If you are a Massachusetts farm, please indicate your interest in participation on this form.
MA Health Connector For Small Business Webinar Next Month
Health Connector for Business is a one-stop shopping solution for small businesses and brokers looking for affordable, high-quality health and dental insurance. Through the Health Connector, you can compare plans from leading insurance carriers side by side.

Their new online tools make it easier for employers, brokers, and employees to apply, compare options for health and dental insurance, and enroll.

Health Connector for Business offers an easy way to provide health insurance that’s affordable for your business and your employees. If you're a small employer (1-50 FTEs) and want to see if you save on premium costs, join them on July 12 for a free info session.
Health Connector for Business offers a variety of resources and options for small business, including farms and agricultural producers, and they want to help you find a plan that works! Check out these informational flyers to learn more about how to enroll, and their ConnectWell Program - and be sure to attend the July 12 webinar too! Health Connector staff are also willing to help you directly, and SEMAP can get you in touch with them as needed!
Buy and Sell With Other Farmers, Food Businesses with MassGrown Exchange
Are you a business looking to bring in more local farm products this season? Does your farm have an abundance of some crop or crops and need to find a new buyer? Check out the MassGrown Exchange from MDAR to make the connections you need!

The MassGrown Exchange platform is a tool for businesses looking to sell, donate or purchase Massachusetts crops, seafood, products and services, which includes farmers, fishers and other food producers, wholesale buyers like grocery stores, institutions, and restaurants, and service and equipment providers. Business users can sign in to both post their goods and services, or request from other local producers. This is a great way to make business-to-business connections and find new outlets for your farm!

For more information or questions, contact Richard LeBlanc at MDAR: [email protected], or [email protected]. For technical issues, contact [email protected].
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
Farmers' Markets Are Back! Find Your Local Market and Shop Today!
Farmers' market season is officially here! In cities and towns across Southeastern MA, markets have begun to open up, with farmers and other vendors offering some spectacular local goods. From Braintree and Quincy, to Dartmouth and Westport, to Wrentham and Franklin, and all over the area in between, local growers and makers are ready for you to shop!

Farmers' markets are an extremely valuable tool for growers and producers across the state. Massachusetts is a top-ten state for direct market sales in dollars, meaning many farmers depend on these direct-to-consumer outlets to run their business. The more you spend with them directly at the market, the more money stays with them, too!

You can head over to our website now to find our directory of Farmers' Markets in Southeastern Massachusetts for 2023. This includes links to market websites when available, days and times, and whether or not the market or any vendors accept SNAP and HIP!
America's Farmers' Market Celebration and Contest Begins June 19
American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition are again hosting America’s Farmers Market Celebration this summer! Running from June 19 to September 18, 2023, the 15th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration (AFMC) showcases the essential markets across the nation making a difference for farmers, ranchers, and communities. Farmers' market supporters can also log on to vote for their favorite market. AFT and FMC are giving away $15,000 in prizes this year, so make sure to get your votes in!
Head to their website to find a list of resources for managers to participate, including a form to update your market's information on their website, a communications toolkit with social media templates and more, forms to order "No Farms, No Food" bumper stickers, and more.

And be sure to get ready for National Farmers Market Week, August 6th through 12th!
Farm to Food Assistance Learning Lab Applications Open

Providing a stable market for farmers while simultaneously alleviating hunger is a powerful approach to building more equitable and resilient food systems. Nationwide, organizations are creating and implementing Farm to Food Assistance Programs, paying farmers a fair price for their product and channeling that product into food banks, food pantries, and other anti-hunger efforts – and seeing incredible results.

The Farm to Food Assistance Learning Lab from Food Systems Leadership Network will support and learn from people working on initiatives that buy food from local farmers and make it accessible to food insecure communities, with an emphasis on racial equity and community driven solutions. Through this 12-month Lab, they will provide funding, mentorship, and peer support to folks working on these efforts.
BLOOM Weekend Retreat with Cross Street Flower Farm this July
Come BLOOM with Cross Street Flower Farm in Norwell this summer for their first-ever weekend retreat among the flowers. Connect with an amazing circle of people right here at Cross Street Flower Farm while supporting a community of women and girls halfway around the world.

Through your retreat ticket sales, Cross Street Flower Farm and their team of creatives have set the ambitious goal to raise $10,000 for Quilts for Kids Nepal. 
Dive deep into the practice of meditation, start the day with a gentle yoga, experience a plein air painting workshop, and so much more! The weekend will create a virtuous circle of investing in ourselves, each other, and in turn, a community of women halfway around the world.
Buzzards Bay Brewing Summer Hours and Events

Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport has announced new hours for the summer - now opening at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday! Come down for live music every weekend in the Livin Local Music Series, enjoy great local food trucks every night, and of course, indulge in some amazing locally grown, locally malted and locally poured beer!

Last month, Buzzards Bay Brewing released Sow & Pigs, their annual summer beer, a perfect drink for the long, hot days ahead! Head down and get yourself a glass!
34th Annual Strawberry Festival from MCC and Tuesday Club of Assonet

Join the Tuesday Club of Assonet to celebrate everyone's favorite summer treat on Sunday, June 18, for their 34th Annual Strawberry Festival! This event will be held rain or shine from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and will feature a wide array of local crafters, some delicious strawberry treats and baked goods, live music and more! This annual celebration is held to provide scholarships for local students in Freetown, so you can feel even better while you enjoy delicious strawberry goods! Come down to the Bandstand at Assonet Village Four Corners and enjoy a great summer celebration!
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Reading
We've got a bit of a different recommendation this month for your reading pleasure. With the busy season upon us, we wanted to provide you something less time-intensive yet still informative. Luckily, we came across some valuable and thought-provoking resources to share with you all!

For the past few years, the National Farm Medicine Center has conducted research on farm families, their childcare needs, and how accessible childcare services are to farmers. Through interviews with farmers across the country, they found what many of you already know to be true - that the needs of farm families are the same as for other working families across the country, if not greater due to the nature of farm work.

NFMC published their findings last month in The Conversation, an online academic news site. This article lays out the 10 myths around farm family needs, the realities behind them, and looks at childcare as an essential need for farmers. They've also made their findings available in a one-page document for easier sharing. Agricultural childcare needs are pressing for farm families across the country, and helping more people understand the reality of these issues is a major step in getting critical resources for our farm community. This research is a great jumping off point to advocate for better childcare policies and services for farmers, and for working families broadly.

What are you listening to or reading this growing season? Have a favorite podcast for working in the field? Any books that have inspired your work or thinking? Let us know! We are always looking for your recommendations. Send any suggestions to [email protected].
What's in Season?
Fresh crops are herein Southeastern Massachusetts! As farmstands and markets begin to open, and CSAs begin to distribute, keep your eyes open for some of our favorite local foods, including:
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Lettuce & Greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Summer Squash
And don't forget about year-round local products like meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood! We hope this helps you plan recipes and get the most out of local food!
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]
Become a SEMAP Member
Renew Your SEMAP Membership or Become a Member Today!
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...
  • Premium Space in Vine Newsletter
  • Discounts to events like the Ag & Food Conference
  • Special member listing in our Local Food Guide
  • Dry-erase "Buy Fresh Buy Local" price cards

Membership is available at several levels for businesses and individuals. Come join us!
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S. Dartmouth, MA 02748