A Message from the Director, September 2020

Sprouts at Sharing the Harvest Community Farm in Dartmouth

Continued from The Vine – September 2020

It’s the time of year when people’s energy and imaginations turn toward the harvest season.  Bright orange pumpkins and rustling corn stalks are filling farm stands.  Demand for locally produced food is high with increasing interest in bulk purchases for pickling, canning, and freezing.  There is pent-up demand for Pick-Your-Own experiences and the chance to be a farmer for a day.  Get out and enjoy those experiences while you can—it will be worth it.  Farmers have struggled through a long summer of drought- and COVID-related stresses and need your support!

Andrew Thornhill at Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth

Good things are happening at SEMAP.  In serendipitous timing, we started a new USDA-funded project this spring. With this grant, we are able to create stronger connections between our local farmers and communities in need of better access to local fruits and vegetables by promoting existing incentive programs in these communities – specifically the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP), The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), and Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons.  As COVID-19 changes how our communities access food, these programs help make nutritious local food affordable and pays farmers a fair price for their produce.  We are excited to work with new partners to increase access to healthy food grown by Massachusetts farmers.

We are working on our workshop series and technical assistance for early- to mid-stage farmers, covering business management issues like institutional sales, bookkeeping and finance, website design and direct marketing.  We can connect you with the resources and experts that you need.  Most workshops will be held live online and recorded for later viewing or future reference—please let us know what you would like to see.  Look for the signup link and survey in The Vine.

Mark Winsor (L) and Bill (R) at Rosasharn Farm in Rehoboth

Save some dates!  SEMAP’s annual meeting will be the evening of Thursday November 19th and the 14th Annual Ag & Food Conference is on Sunday February 28th.  New formats, new ideas!

We appreciate your engagement in the regional economy, and ask you to keep purchasing locally.

With thanks,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director

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