The Vine - March 2023
Photo at Osamequin Farm in Seekonk
Dear Friends,

If we consider the age-old saying, then March seems to truly be "in like a lion" this year. All that snow and winter weather we anticipated over the last few months seems to have packed itself into just a few weeks. While we may not be truly into spring just yet, SEMAP still has plenty of programs and events lined up for this month to help get you closer to the warmth ahead.

Before we look ahead, though, we have to look back to this past weekend's Ag and Food Conference and say thank you to everyone who joined us. If you missed the event, recordings of each session will be released over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes open for those.

Now, into the future - this month kicks off our spring programming. Our networking series will launch later this month as we host several in-person sessions around the region. The first of these is coming up this month on March 21 at Bristol Aggie, and will be focused on financing opportunities for farmers. We'll also have a virtual workshop on spreadsheet uses and management for your farm business on March 22. This workshop will have limited attendance, so if it sounds like the right fit for you, make sure you sign up ASAP!

While we're thinking about getting ready for the season ahead, now is also the time to get your business listing updated for this year's Local Food Guide! Whether you are looking to add a new business to the Guide, or need to update your listing from years past, you'll want to fill out our listing submission form to make sure your information is accurate.

This month's Vine is full of details on these programs and more! Information on upcoming grants, on-farm and virtual workshops across the region and state, and opportunities to support farmers with local and national advocacy can be found below, plus so much more! Hopefully you find something in here that helps you, but as always, if you need any more support from SEMAP, do not hesitate to reach out.

James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Thank YOU For A Great Ag and Food Conference!
THANK YOU to everyone who joined us for this past weekend's Ag and Food Conference! We had a fantastic day, and are so grateful to everyone who took the time to join us. Speakers, moderators, panelists, special guests and audience members alike, the day could not have been possible without all of you. We hope all who attended came away with new ideas, knowledge and inspiration for how they can be a part of our local food system, whether you're growing, selling or eating.

Conference registrants should receive recordings from the event in the near future. Folks who didn't register can expect to see recordings of sessions made available throughout the spring on our website and social media.
This year's conference would not have been possible without the support of our incredible sponsors: PCT Federal Credit Union, Davoll's General Store, Farm and Coast Market, Buzzard's Bay Brewing, NOFA-RI, Johnny's Seeds, Edible Southeastern Massachusetts, Turtle Tree Seed and MarketLink. Support for the Conference also comes from funding through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
Spring Networking Events for Farmers Begin This Month
Ready to get your farm season off to a strong start and connect with other farmers and service providers in your community? Come to one of our in-person networking events this spring! Over the next two months, we'll be gathering our community across the region to connect and discuss important topics for the year ahead. Full details will be released in the coming weeks, but mark your calendars now for these upcoming events:

  • March 21st at Bristol Aggie, Dighton, MA
  • Topic: Financing Options for Farms
  • Time: 4-7 p.m.; Tour of Aggie 4-5 p.m., Networking 5-7 p.m.
  • Early April: Date and Location TBD
  • Topic: Deer Pressure Mitigation and Control
  • Time TBD, details coming this month
  • Late April: Date and Location TBD
  • Topic: Networking for Beginning Farmers and Farmworkers
  • Time TBD, details coming this month

Registration to networking events is not required but is encouraged. All networking events are free, and will include light refreshments and food.
If you aren't able to join us in-person but are still looking for more ways to engage with SEMAP, we also have a virtual workshop all about how to use spreadsheets to improve your farm business on Thursday, March 22.

Spreadsheets have many uses on-farm: financial record-keeping, crop planning, payroll, and more. But they can also be so confusing! Join us in problem-solving common problems and discovering the full potential of spreadsheet software like Excel and Google Sheets. This session is geared towards farmers with a basic understanding of spreadsheet uses. This is for farmers/fishers with an existing familiarity with Excel or Google Sheets, who are looking to use it to its fullest potential and/or trouble-shoot a few common problems. If producers have no familiarity with spreadsheets, SEMAP can work with them one-on-one before this workshop.

SPACE IS LIMITED: We will close registration at around 15 people so we can take a look at individual spreadsheets and allow all to share their screens. If there’s a lot of interest, we will look into repeating this workshop.
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 Processing Research & Development Innovation Grant: To provide funds for dairy processors, producer associations, and educational institutions to conduct research and development projects that support innovation and allow producers to make informed, long-term business investments.
  • Deadline: March 23rd
  • Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants: Planning Projects – to expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs for initiating food production or expanding existing production. Implementation Projects – to accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve farmers and communities.
  • Deadline: March 27th
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
Update Your Local Food Guide Listing for 2023!
With the growing season just around the corner, now is the time to get your business listing up to date for this year's Local Food Guide!

Every year SEMAP distributes over 10,000 copies of our Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide for the Southeastern Massachusetts region. Ensure your Guide listing is up to date by checking out last year's virtual guide.

Once you submit your updates, changes will be made in your virtual listing right away, and will be reflected in our printed Guide coming later this Spring. Click the button below to complete our Business Listing Google Form, or head to our website for more details and to update your listing there.
Farmland For Sale - Mendoza Farm, Dighton
13 acres of farmland in Dighton, MA, are currently available for purchase. The property includes a 1200 sq ft colonial-style home on-site. The property is located on Elm Street. For more details, check out the full property listing on New England Farmland Finder.
Farm Marketing and Agritourism Webinar for Northeast Farms, March 29

The International Workshop on Agritourism is hosting a free webinar on Marketing Your Farm on March 29th. Learn the three essential components of marketing your farm, with a focus on agritourism.

The session will be led by farm marketing consultant Myrna Greenfield of Good Egg Marketing, Ellen Parlee of Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA, and Ryan Wilson of DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, NH. Together, they will discuss the three essential components of marketing your farm, with a focus on agritourism.

Click here for more info and registration.
Soil Course From Big Train Farm This Month

Join John Kenny from Big Train Farm in Chepachet, RI for a virtual course all about soil! This material will be accessible and stimulating for any kind of grower from any background.

John has over 20 years of experience as an organic farmer as well as an academic background in biology and chemistry. John approaches this course with a farmer to farmer and/or gardener focus.

The course will take place on the weekend of March 25-26, with two classes per day, each about 1.5-2 hours. Register for the course through this Eventbrite page.
Cold Frame Workshop at Holly Hill Farm this Weekend

Join SEMAP Member Holly Hill Farm for an in-person workshop this Saturday, March 4! Learn the ins and outs of constructing a simple cold frame to start early spring vegetables and plants outdoors with protection. They will provide tips on what to grow and some materials to start a simple frame. The event will happen rain (or snow!) or shine. 

Check out Holly Hill's website for all their upcoming events, including identifying native plants and invasive species, seed starting classes, and a community book club, all later this month!
Meat Marketing For Profit And Sales from Berkshire Grown, March 7

Trying to find better ways to turn a profit raising and selling local meat? Learn new marketing techniques for your business, and how to use the new Cornell Meat Pricing Tool to deliver profit from every channel.

Join Berkshire Grown and Matt Leroux, Extension Associate at Cornell University, for this workshop. Matt has over 20 years of experience serving farms through Cornell Cooperative Extension, non-profits, and consulting. Specializing in market strategy, Matt works with a diverse mix of produce and livestock farmers and food businesses.
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 taking care of children 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 17.

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 [email protected]­­­­­­­­­­­­
Northeast Food For Schools Funding Available from MDAR
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service recently signed a cooperative agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for more than $3.5 million to improve child nutrition and build new relationships between schools and local farmers.

This funding opportunity, Northeast Foods For Schools, is now available to all schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. Funds can be used to purchase unprocessed and minimally processed foods grown within 400 miles.

Massachusetts Farm to School is collaborating with local producers to support connections with schools that are receiving the funds. Farmers interested in selling to schools are encouraged to reach out to Simca Horwitz ([email protected]) for more information or with any questions. 

A key goal of the Northeast Foods For Schools is to create new procurement relationships between schools and Socially Disadvantaged farmers and small businesses. To that end, MDAR is supporting this effort by establishing a database of Socially Disadvantaged farmers to ensure that self-identified farmers are kept informed of the process. The more individuals we can reach, the more effective our work will be in the future.

Please complete this form to self-identify as a Socially Disadvantaged farmer or producer. If you have any questions about how your information will be used, please contact [email protected]. Please disseminate this form through your networks.
Massachusetts Ag Day at State House Returns on April 12!
Massachusetts Agriculture Day at the State House will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 2023!

Ag Day recognizes the cultural heritage, resiliency, and vitality of Massachusetts’s agricultural industry, and gives farmers and the organizations that represent them an opportunity to educate legislators about the industry.

Being held for the first time since 2019, the event will focus on farmers and the need for supportive state policy and investments. Commodity groups and Buy Local organizations will host tables with information about their work, and samples of food and agricultural products from their members.

The speaking program will begin at 11:15am at the Grand Staircase on the 2nd floor, followed by opportunities for networking with colleagues, legislators, and administration officials in the Hall of Flags until 2:00pm.

The event is free, but registration is required. Please use this form from MDAR to register. Please share the link with your networks - anyone who supports Massachusetts agriculture is welcome to attend!
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
2023 CSAs Opening Now - Buy Your Shares Today!
2023 CSA offers are available from farms all across the region now! 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, and eggs you need. Plus, check out some of the CSA and farm share offerings from our other producers, including flowers, seafood and aquaculture.

What makes CSAs so valuable? For farmers, money earned from CSA shares early in the year allow them plan for the season ahead with more support during what would typically be a slower time of year. For consumers, it locks in your access to fresh, local food during the year, and allows you to show your support for local farms all year round!

Looking for a farm near you to purchase your share from? Check out our new 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!
Tufts Nutrition Data Symposium March 8-10

The 16th Annual Tufts Nutrition Data Symposium proudly presents: Sustainability Now! Action-Oriented Solutions for Food Systems, Nutrition and Diet.

This year, the symposium is a hybrid event and free for all to attend. If you are in Boston on March 8th and 9th, you are welcome to join the in-person events! Please register here for in-person events if you plan to attend.

This 2.5 day event features an in-person kick-off keynote and social mixer, followed by two full days of virtual programming, including expert panels, workshops, research presentations, and featured speakers.
One Million Acres For the Future Campaign Heads to DC
The National Young Farmers Coalition are taking their campaign for land access, One Million Acres For the Future, to Congress! With millions of acres on the verge of changing hands and leaving agriculture forever, the 2023 Farm Bill is critical to ensuring this land passes down to the next generation equitably.

On March 7th and 8th, NYFC will travel with 150 Land Fellows, farmers, and staff to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Members of Congress to demand a 2023 Farm Bill that serves the next generation. If you want to get involved with the movement in your community, join the campaign using this form or by clicking the button below.
MACD Working Group on Farm Bill Next Month

The Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts will be hosting a Statewide Local Working Group, coming up on April 21. This is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input to NRCS on issues related to natural resources that are most important in their region. This input is then used by NRCS when shaping its programming.

More information on the working group can be found in this fact sheet, and a Zoom link will be available in the near future.
Pathways To Farming Retreat Application Open

Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming and GrowNYC Farmer Assistance have announced their Pathways to Farming Retreat, a free two-day learning experience for people who are curious about a career in farming but are unsure of how to start.
This retreat will be held for a community of 21 participants and will include hands-on service learning, introductory lessons about farming as a career, and opportunities to connect with a wide range of agriculture professionals from the Hudson Valley region. After the retreat, participants will receive support and resources from both organizations to define next steps in their farming journey. Participants are required to attend for the entire two day duration of the retreat (June 9-10, 2023).
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Listening To
This month, we wanted to share with you a couple of resources on the regulatory side of food and nutrition. We promise, it isn't as boring as it sounds!

First, we have an episode of the Firewall Podcast, hosted by Bradley Trusk. Firewall focuses on the intersection of tech, regulation and politics, and in an episode earlier this year, the focus was on nutrition and food. This episode features a conversation with Helena Bottemiller Evich, a nutrition and policy reporter previously of Politico, and now authoring her own independent newsletter, FoodFix.

The conversation ranges across a number of issues around food and nutrition, from hunger relief at a policy level, to FDA shortcomings, to the future of food in the United States. Helena brings her years of journalistic experience and first-hand knowledge on these issues in a way that is both insightful and (pun intended) digestible. Nutrition policy and regulation is a key piece of building a better food system, and we hope you take the time to give this a listen and consider this work as it relates to all of yours.

On top of this, we also encourage folks to check out Helena's work at FoodFix. It is a great source of information for the happenings around federal nutrition work, from FDA on down. Decisions made in these agencies affect our food system greatly, and knowing what's going on as a producer is incredibly valuable. When it feels like food and nutrition don't always see the attention we know they need, it is refreshing to have a strong, experienced journalistic voice covering these issues.

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 [email protected].
What's in Season?
While we are still just on the cusp of the growing season in Southeastern Massachusetts, we want to highlight the crops our farmers are growing to get you through the last stretch of winter. Head over to a winter market in your are and look for any of these amazing crops.

Throughout March, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Daikon Radish
  • 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! 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]
Development Director at Berkshire Grown in Great Barrington
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!
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S. Dartmouth, MA 02748