The Vine - October 2022
Photo of Lane Gardens at St. Anne's Farmers' Market in Fall River
Dear Friends,

October marks a time of great change in our region and agricultural community. As the air cools, the days shorten and the leaves begin to fall, we are reminded that often it is nature dictating the terms of engagement with us, in life and in farming. By now, we've seen many of our favorite Summer crops phased out and replaced with a great bounty of Fall treats, from winter squash to potatoes and so much more.

As we prepare for this shift into Autumn, we still have some exciting programming for our community over the coming months. This month begins the Fall portion of our Twilight Grower series, starting with a soil microscopy session with our friends from NOFA/Mass. We also have a TIE presentation at the beginning of November, with more details coming later this month.

But perhaps most exciting for us is the announcement of our Succession Planning and Land Transfer Summit on November 17! We know access to land is one of the greatest issues facing our community and in farming generally, and we are thrilled to be able to host a space where land seekers and land owners can come together to tackle these difficult but important questions. This event will be followed by our Annual Meeting the same evening, as we celebrate and share what we've accomplished over the past year.

Grab a sweater and keep reading this month's newsletter for more updates on programming, helpful information on available grants, events across our local and statewide food system, and much more!

With gratitude,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
SEMAP Annual Meeting and Land Transfer Summit - November 17
Calling all farmland owners & seekers! Join us, Land for Good, and other service providers on Thursday, November 17 to discuss succession planning, land sale & leasing, and determining which transfer option suits your needs. We'll also hear from farmers & landowners who've been through it before. We'll have a session for land seekers in the morning, one for landowners in the afternoon, and a catered lunch for all! Register Here!

Please note: attendance is offered at a sliding scale of $0–30. Whatever you choose, you will be encouraged to join us for all relevant sessions and our networking lunch. We welcome your participation regardless of your financial contribution!
Later that evening, stick around or come by for SEMAP's Annual Meeting for 2022! Join us to celebrate SEMAP's accomplishments this year, look ahead to the year to come, and offer your feedback on where we can grow! After a delicious catered dinner, we'll be talking about all the progress we made in the past year, and everything we have in store for 2023.
Twilight Series Returns this Month
We are thrilled to announce the return of our Twilight Grower Series events this fall, starting this month with a soil microscopy workshop!

Want to take a look at your own soil under a microscope, learn what value microorganisms offer, and connect with farmers & ag students? Join us at Norfolk Aggie to look under the scope with NOFA/Mass! John Duke and Ruben Parrilla join us again to train participants to evaluate their own soil samples. Drop in with a soil sample, questions, and your appetite! We'll have snacks, pizza, and fun merch available. This event is FREE.
We are also excited to share our plans for November's Twilight event, featuring our friends at Skinny Dip Farm! Ben and Hannah received a SEMAP TIE Award in 2018 to study the use of low tunnels for winter greens, and they are excited to share their findings! Mark your calendars for November 1st at 5pm in Little Compton, RI.

Make sure to keep an eye on our Twilights page, as well as our social media, for dates, times, more details, and future event announcements.
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.

  • On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant: To support the purchase of specialized equipment that will improve milk storage, handling, and energy efficiencies. Goals are to streamline milk pick up, create efficiencies around milk storage, and improve handling.
  • Deadline: October 6th

  • Conservation Stewardship Program: To encourage current and new stewardship practices by developing & funding a plan to help farmers increase productivity and protect the value of their land..
  • Deadline: October 21st

  • 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
MDAR Agricultural Business Training Program Coming this Winter
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has opened registration for two winter courses through the Agricultural Business Training Program (ABTP). Applications for these winter courses will be accepted until December 2, or until each course is full.
Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course will run from January 17th  – March 14th, 2023, on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 8:30pm at the MDAR office in Southborough, MA. This will be a hands-on course to help established farmers develop a business plan and financial projections for their farm business, and covers topics including resource assessment, marketing strategy, financial management, risk management, quality of life, and goal setting. The course is taught by a professional business planner with years of experience working with Massachusetts farms and guest speakers on topics such as succession planning and online marketing. Enrollment is open to farmers who have been operating a farm business in Massachusetts for at least the two prior years. If interested, please complete the brief Growing Your Farm application and email it to, or mail a hard copy to: MDAR, Attn: Diego Irizarry-Gerould, 138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42, West Springfield, MA 01089. For more information, see ABTP program webpage or contact Diego Irizarry-Gerould at 857-248-1671. 
Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course will run from January 12 – February 9, 2023, on Thursday evenings 6:00pm – 9:00pm at the MDAR office in Southborough, MA. This 5-session course provides guidance to aspiring farmers through the decision-making process of whether to start a farm business. Participants will learn about the many aspects of starting a farm business, assess their own skills and knowledge, and get help finding resources for support, including marketing, financing, and regulations. The course utilizes the Exploring the Small Farm Dream curriculum and workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute. Through four guided group sessions and a farmer panel session, participants will analyze the feasibility of their small farm dream and clarify their vision together with other class participants. If interested, please complete the brief application found here: Exploring the Small Farm Dream and email, or mail a hard copy to: MDAR, Attn: Jessica Camp, 138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42, West Springfield, MA 01089. For more information, see ABTP program webpage or contact Jess Camp at 617-823-0871.
MDAR Survey on Farmer Mental Health Now Live
The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources is currently in the process of developing its mental health services program for farmers, farm workers and our agricultural community. To help inform this program, the department is seeking input from folks with agricultural experience via a short survey.

From the Department: "MDAR values your earned insights and vision. We would appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete our online survey to better understand the challenges you’re facing, your view of current mental health services for the Commonwealth’s agriculture community and the beneficial services MDAR can offer you." 
EEA Seeking Public Input for Energy & Climate Plan

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is developing the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2050 that will help the Commonwealth achieve net zero
greenhouse gas emissions. They are hosting a series of virtual public hearings to present on their plans and take in feedback from across the Commonwealth, on October 6, October 7 and October 12.

Few people are as in touch with the climate and environment as farmers, and it is critical to have an agricultural perspective on these issues and in these hearings. We encourage all members of our community to attend at least one of these hearings if possible.
NRCS Seeking Insight from Urban, Suburban Farms

NRCS are looking to identify and learn from urban and suburban farms across New England in an effort to better provide conservation assistance. Urban agriculture includes the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban areas.

Community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and vertical
production are all examples of urban agriculture, and there are plenty more examples which is why we want to hear from you! Tribal communities and small towns may also be included. Please use this anonymous survey to provide your feedback and input.
Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit Community of Practice Begins this Month

Join Farmers Market Coalition and creators of the Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit for a 6-month deep dive on applying anti-racist principles to your farmers market. The monthly 90-minute sessions will focus on applying and implementing the Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit. Participants can expect to hear presentations from the work group members who created the toolkit, and have time to process the material through activities, resource sharing, and facilitated discussions in affinity groups.  
Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due October 21

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that October 21, 2022 will be the cut-off date for applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to be considered and ranked for 2023 funding.

CSP helps agricultural producers take the conservation activities on their farm to the next level. It provides a payment for maintaining the current conservation efforts on the land and covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities.
MDAR Seeking Contractors for Water Supply in Lakeville
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is seeking applications for qualified contractors to provide access to a groundwater supply suitable for livestock watering, fire control, and other agricultural uses on state owned land in Lakeville, MA to prepare the land for commercial agricultural use in the Spring of 2023.

The subject property consists of two lots located south of Main St. in Lakeville, MA: a 68.65 acre parcel west of Bridge Street and a 12.2 acre parcel east of Bridge Street in Lakeville, MA which is historically agricultural land and is under the care and control of MDAR. The investigation, design, and installation of an agricultural water supply well must comply with all applicable governmental regulations, laws, permits, licenses, and registrations.
Tell Us Your Winter Market Plans!
Believe it or not, we are already making our way into the Winter and holiday season. This means it's time to let us know what your plans are for the next few months as we build out our seasonal Farmers' Market Guide.

Winter markets are an important way to keep local farms and food top of mind for families and consumers during what can be a down season, and we want to make sure we can help send people in your direction. Please send an email to James,, to update us on your plans so we can have our Guide ready by the end of October.

If you are looking for a market to get your Fall, Winter, or Holiday needs, be sure to check out our current Farmers' Market Guide, which includes Summer markets still running, as well as last year's Seasonal Guide until updates are completed for this year!
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
Local Cranberries are Back!
October is Massachusetts Cranberry Month! While the traditional growing season is inching towards a close, there are still some great local crops to enjoy - and some are event entering their prime season, like cranberries! Cranberries are a staple of Massachusetts agricultural identity and history, especially in our region. With so many incredible growers and such a rich history, local cranberries are a must this time of year!

Look for fresh cranberries from some of our local bogs, including:
For more information on cranberries, and the incredible folks growing and harvesting them in our region, be sure to keep up with the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association through their website and social media.

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.
Food-Focused Candidate Forums in Bristol, Plymouth Counties
As we close in on this Fall's General Election on November 8, we are excited to share our plans for two Candidate Forums to discuss issues around food, farming and agriculture with state House candidates in Bristol and Plymouth counties.

On Tuesday, October 25, SEMAP and the Southcoast Food Policy Council will host candidates in the 8th and 10th Bristol districts for a virtual forum discussing food insecurity, infrastructure for the food system, and more crucial issues to our work and community. This event will be hosted by SFPC over zoom, with more event details and a link for registration to come soon.

Then, on Thursday, October 27, SEMAP will host a forum for House candidates running in Plymouth county. We will be discussing similar issues on this night with more candidates, all as part of our effort to continue educating lawmakers on our food system and ensuring they are thinking about local farms and food as they serve in the State House.

Be on the lookout for registration details for both of these events in the coming weeks, either through our social media, our Events Calendar, or other email communications.
Dock-u-mentary Series at New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, a small museum dedicated to telling the story of New Bedford's commercial fishing industry, hosts a monthly film series on the third Friday of each month, Dock-U-Mentaries.
In October, they will be screening the film "FISH & MEN," which exposes the high cost of cheap fish and the forces threatening local fishing communities and public health by revealing how consumer demand drives the global seafood economy. Tickets are free and available online.
2nd Annual Harvest Festival at Elliot Farm, October 8!
Elliot Farm in Lakeville is excited to host their second annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 8! There will be plenty of local food, local brews from Harper Lane Brewery, PYO pumpkins, apple cider donuts, live music and more!

All the proceeds from this year's event will go towards charitable work to provide local families in need with essential groceries in 2023. The farm stand will remain open to the public, but the parking lot will be closed for the event. Details here.
17th Annual Fall River Chowder Festival October 8

The 17th Annual Blount Fine Foods New Bedford Seaport Chowder Festival will have local restaurants and caterers competing for your vote! Come sample delicious chowders and soups and cast your vote for your favorite one!

Tickets are on sale now, but advanced ticket sales end on October 7! Prices go up on tickets day-of, so be sure to get yours now to enjoy a day of food and fun in Fall River!
Sauchuk Corn Maze Opens & More Fall Fun!

Sauchuck's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is officially open for the Fall! Come by any weekend through the end of October for the maze, pumpkin picking, hayrides, barnyard games and over 40 activities! Tickets must be purchased in advance through their website.

If you're looking for even more farm events to celebrate the Fall, check out this helpful guide from Edible Southeastern Massachusetts, including PYO apples, pumpkins, and more!
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Watching
We've got some more great food systems content to share with you all this month, and this time it's more than just one book or video - and it's going on right now!

Last month, the University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium launched their ongoing lecture series, "Just Good Food: Creating Equitable, Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems." The series features speakers from across the food system discussing ways to reconnect with our food systems through topics including: food history and culture; social-ecological impacts and planetary limits; food, race, and gender; political economy of food systems; indigenous foodways and food sovereignty; agroecology; and urban agriculture, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.

Lectures are streamed live on Youtube most Tuesday evenings from now until December 13. The first two presentations are already available for viewing as well, featuring Winona LaDuke discussing indigenous foodways, and Vanessa Garcia-Polanco on being a food justice advocate. We hope you will consider viewing some or all of these lectures as we work to build a community of strong food system advocates.

SEMAP is always looking to build up our reading, listening and viewing list. If you have a recommendation you would like us to share here, 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 October, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Cranberries
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • 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
Program Coordinator at CISA in South Deerfield
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