The Vine - September 2022
Photo at The Neighborhood Farm in Westport
Dear Friends,

As the sun sets on summer, we turn our attention the Autumn season. Soon, the leaves will turn and paint the horizon red, orange and yellow, and the harvest on the ground will turn to beautiful squash of many different shapes and sizes. While this year's growing has hardly been easy, our farmers across the region have worked hard to ensure they could bring delicious local produce to all of us.

With only a few months left before we hunker down for winter once more, we are excited to announce several upcoming events from us and other partners to wrap up the season. First, we are thrilled to host a Land Transfer Summit, in conjunction with our Annual Meeting, on November 17! This is a time for land holders and land seekers to come together and build relationships, while also bringing in other experts with knowledge on succession planning. Before that, we also have two more Twilight Events scheduled for September and October - more details below!

Keep reading this newsletter for other updates from SEMAP on upcoming urban agriculture projects in the state, grant openings from MDAR, information on the upcoming state primaries and general elections, and more!

As always, if you have anything you wish to share with us, be it events or great harvest stories, or need our support with anything as we push through the growing season, do not hesitate to reach out.

With gratitude,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
SEMAP Leads MDAR Staff on Tour of Local Ag in Westport, Dartmouth
This past Tuesday, August 30, SEMAP was able to host MDAR staff, including Commissioner John Lebeaux and Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle, on a tour of local farms around the Westport and Dartmouth area. MDAR staff were able to see a variety of operations, from vegetables at The Neighborhood Farm and Brix Bounty Farm, dairy at Westport Dairy, and aquaculture at Westport Sea Farms. We also had a delicious farm-to-table lunch at Round the Bend Farm!

We always appreciate the opportunity to bring state staffers into the region and discuss successes, challenges and issues around agriculture in Southeastern Massachusetts and across the state. You can read more about the day in our recent blog post.
Twilight Series Returns this Month
After a brief pause in our programming for the month of August, we are excited to announce the next run of events for this Fall! We've got several great events in the works to share more skills and knowledge, and to network with other farmers and agricultural organizations.

Here is what you can look forward to over the coming months:
  • SEPTEMBER: Soil Microbiology and Microscopy w/ NOFA Mass
  • Location TBA
  • OCTOBER: Livestock Preventative Health: Minimizing Vet Visits
  • Location TBA
  • NOVEMBER: Low Tunnel Winter Green Production
  • Skinny Dip Farm, 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.

  • EBT/SNAP Equipment Grant: To provide free SNAP processing equipment to direct-market farms and farmers' markets.
  • Deadline: September 23rd

  • Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program: To support produce and aquaculture operations that are looking to improve their food safety practices and work towards minimizing the risks of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses.
  • Deadline: September 30th

  • 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
News For Farmers and
Food Professionals
USDA Declares 9 MA Counties Natural Disaster Areas with Drought
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 15, 2022, that Secretary Vilsack has designated nine (9) Massachusetts Counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the 2022 drought.

A USDA Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and the contiguous counties above eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers in eligible counties have until April 15, 2023 to apply for grants and emergency loans.

More information on assistance is available through the USDA website on Disaster Assistance Programs. You can also read the full announcement and details on the emergency loan process online.
SAVE THE DATE: Land Transfer Summit & SEMAP Annual Meeting
Mark your calendars! Join SEMAP on Thursday, November 17 for an in-person workshop and networking opportunity to discuss all things land transfer. If you're an experienced farmer starting to think about how to keep your land in production after you retire, or are looking for an opportunity to obtain your own land to run your business, this event is for you! Lunch will be provided and we're sure to have a great time.

More information on workshops and details will be available on our website, so please make sure to check back regularly for updates.

This meeting will also serve as the precursor to our Annual Meeting, also held on November 17.
Local Food Leader Program from Iowa St Enrolling Now

Iowa State University is once again holding its virtual Local Food Leader program in the Fall of 2022 and Spring of 2023. The 101 course features seven virtual workshops over four months, and a certificate of completion will be received at the end. Topic areas include equity in food systems, leadership, facilitation and coordination, evaluation, and creating teams and tools for success.

There are also 201 and 301 level courses available, as well as a training course for anyone looking to teach a Local Food Leader program on their own. Details on each course, as well as a syllabus and registration info, are available online.
Urban Ag Assessment in Plymouth County Live Now!

Plymouth County Conservation District recently launched two surveys on Urban Ag in the county. The goal of this assessment is to identify the needs and challenges of urban agriculture so the conservation district can better understand the community and plan a future program that is beneficial to urban agriculture producers and related organizations.

PCCD are conducting two surveys; one that is geared towards organizations with ties to urban agriculture and one that is geared towards producers.
MDAR Seeking Farmers for Paid TA, Mentorship Opportunities

MDAR is looking for people who can provide technical assistance (TA) to farmers and/or to serve as mentors for beginning farmers. Specific areas of expertise wanted include marketing, business planning, succession planning, and more. The relationship works on a 3-year contract on an hourly or fixed rate.

More details on this opportunity can be found in the RFR on COMMBUYS, which can also be submitted to the department.
Urban Ag Certificate Available Through TMU

Toronto Metropolitan University is offering two online courses this fall in Urban Agriculture. The foundation course, "Understanding Urban Agriculture," will highlight the practice of urban agriculture in its many forms around the world and show how it enhances and contributes to urban food security, health, community building, sustainable livelihoods and environmental management. In "Green/Natural Infrastructure," you’ll explore practices such as street tree planting, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, bioswales, and bioretention plantings.
Free Article: "Getting started with cut flowers part 1: the why and how of it"
Growing For Market, a magazine for local food producers and growers, shares a free article every month on a different topic related to farming and promoting your farm business.

This month, Carolina Lees, farmer at Corvus Landing Farm in Neskowin, Oregon, discusses her experience adding cut flower production to her farm business: her successes, difficulties, and everything she's learned along the way. In the year between her first bouquets and the article, Carolina found a new love for flower production, seeing it bring a huge benefit to her business and how local flowers, like local food, are a part of building a resilient environmental and economic system.

While the transition to or addition of flowers might seem too big to manage for some, Carolina lays out how she was able to make it happen on her farm, and they customer demand she's seen and met since!
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
Get Ready for Fall: Pumpkins and Squash are On Their Way!
Fall is in the air, which also means many of our favorite Fall snacks will soon be on our plates! We hope you're as excited as we are for fresh pumpkin, winter squash, and potatoes.

If you're not sure where to find your favorite local goods, be sure to check out some of our great local growers, including:

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.
Election 2022: Keeping Food Issues in Focus for Primaries
With Election Day right around the corner, now is a critical time for getting to know candidates in your district and across the state, and learning about their approach to issues surrounding food and agriculture.

Last month, Project Bread and other anti-hunger agencies from across the state hosted a forum with the three Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor. The conversation covered issues including food access, supporting local agriculture, anti-hunger initiatives and more. The full conversation is now available online, and you can watch it here.

If you are looking for more information on local candidates and their approaches to food system issues, the MA Food System Collaborative shared surveys with state House and Senate candidates across the state, asking for their stances and goals to address food system issues. You can view all the received responses on their website.

The statewide primary election for Republican and Democratic party races will be next Tuesday, September 6, and mail-in and early voting is currently open across the state. The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8. Check your registration now.
Wampanoag Experience at Round the Bend - September 17

On Saturday, September 17th, from 10am-5pm, Round the Bend Farm are hosting a Wampanoag Experience during their Open Farm Day. The Wampanoag Experience provides opportunities to participate in Wampanoag traditions and lifeways to highlight Native wisdom and build bridges amongst diverse peoples. On September 10th, RTB will also be hosting a women's Soul Calling Retreat.

You can find details on these events and more on their Upcoming Events page.
Cracker Barrel Fair from Norfolk 4H Returns!
After a two-year hiatus, Norfolk County 4-H is excited to host the Cracker Barrel Fair once again, September 17-18! The event will be held at the Cracker Barrel Fairgrounds in Wrentham. Events during the weekend will be hosted by Norfolk County 4-Hers, and will be open to 4H members and members of the public. Events include animal exhibits, program exhibits and more!

You can find more details on the fair through their invitation packet.
Some SNAP Users Required to Re-Pin EBT Cards

SNAP/EBT families across Massachusetts, in particular in the East, have recently faced a skimming/fraud threat on their EBT cards. DTA has reset PIN numbers for SNAP users across several cities and towns in the area, and requiring them to reset a new PIN to use their card.

DTA asks that information on the re-pinning process be shared as widely as possible. Please see this flier on affected regions, and this flier on the re-pinning process, and share as widely as possible.
Dartmouth Grange Fair Returns Sept 9-10

After a two-year hiatus, the Dartmouth Grange Fair returns this month, September 9th and 10th! The event will feature games, flower displays, vegetable and other local produce exhibits, food, demonstrations, and other free entertainment.

Admission to both days is free. Events on the 9th begin at 4 p.m., and on the 10th things kick off at noon.
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
Farmers' Market Coalition Seeking Feedback for Farm Bill Advocacy
Farmers' Market Coalition is hosting a Listening and Learning Session revolving around the 2023 Farm Bill for Black market operators and food system leaders on September 7th at 12-1:30pm EST.

In preparation for a strong advocacy push in the lead up to the Farm Bill, FMC wants to gain a better understanding about the challenges and triumphs Black farmers, market managers and other folks involved in the food system have encountered and how federal farmers' market policies have impacted them.

What would you like to see achieved in this Farm Bill cycle? This will be a space to share ideas with one another and work together to create equitable farmers market policy for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and beyond.

You do not have to have previous policy experience to participate. FMC believes you are the expert about what your market or organization needs – it is this information that they want to amplify and learn from.
What We're Reading
Though we are still in the thick of the growing season, and there may not be as much time in the day for reading or other escapes as we all might hope, we still wanted to share a brief yet thought-provoking articles with our community to continue thinking about the bigger picture of food systems work.

In June, the Journal for Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development published their Spring issue, which included the article, "Food System Activism and the Housing Crisis." Written by Adam Pine of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the article explores the intersection of the housing crisis in America, and access to healthy, local food. While many of us can imagine how folks facing housing insecurity might also face food insecurity, the overlap of these issues is greater than that. Pine lays out how similar structures are at play in both issues, and what sort of work might be required to overcome these systemic barriers.

In our region especially, we see these issues building on top of each other in several ways. Most glaringly for our farmers, we see a lack of available and affordable housing tied directly to a lack of a consistent, year-round and long-term labor force. The housing crisis creates a greater strain on the food system, which in turn impacts the folks already struggling with food and housing insecurity already.

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 September, be on the lookout for...
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • 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 
Executive Director:
(508) 524-2601