Drought, the worst in recent history, was the focus for both farmers and local food supporters this year. Farmers had a laser focus on the weather – eyes on the sky desperately hoping for a rainstorm headed their way. Their finances were stretched to boost irrigation (if they were lucky enough to have it), and workers’ time was spent moving hoses and pipes instead of planting, weeding, and harvesting. Crops were either under yields or undersized, hay fields were crispy, and water sources dried up. A majority of farmers had a mediocre to poor year. The situation is dire for many farmers and, unfortunately, some might not survive it.
While some crops failed, others did thrive as the dryness kept down fungal diseases and the heat sweetened the melons. Fortunately customers continued to visit the farm stands and farmers market through this very difficult year. SEMAP supporters like you especially understand the value of buying local and you showed up in force.
SEMAP creates a culture of buying local. With your support we deliver the daily reminders of why it is important to foster regional farms, coordinate workshops and on-farm education across Southeastern Massachusetts, and celebrate the local bounty with our glorious Farm to Tapas event each summer. We keep our boots in the dirt visiting local farms to understand what the farming community needs to stay viable. We have our ears on Beacon Hill meeting with lawmakers, sharing important new regulations, and getting feedback from farmers on the effects of these laws.
Please consider a donation to SEMAP this year. Your contribution helps us advocate for farmers, educate on nutritious local food, and build resilience in our farming system.
Our choice to eat locally is an investment in the future – in both personal and environmental health, but more importantly it is an investment in our farmers. Please give! Your donation is crucial to our success.
Karen Schwalbe, Executive Director
Kendra Murray, Program Coordinator
Recognizing the hardship that farms throughout the Commonwealth have faced during the 2016 growing season due to unprecedented drought conditions, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced additional grant funding for water conservation projects to be released through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).
MDAR will administer $250,000 of grant funding through its Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) for water conservation projects that help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for, and recover after, this years’ severe drought. Selected proposals will be reimbursed up to $25,000 or 85% of total project costs of approved projects.
Agricultural operations interested in applying will need to submit their Request for Response (RFR) by 4:00pm on January 6, 2017. For a copy of the application, visit the AEEP website or call 617-626-1739.
BOSTON – November 21, 2016 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $300,000 in grants to the Commonwealth’s regional Buy Local agricultural organizations for projects that will enhance efforts in western, central, northeastern and southeastern Massachusetts. Regional agricultural Buy Local organizations connect Bay State farmers with their surrounding communities. Started in the Pioneer Valley with Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Buy Local organizations are committed to the idea that knowing where your food comes from makes good health and economic sense. Their efforts have helped generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while at the same time improving logistical access to these important food sources.
“It is more important than ever that, given our current challenging drought conditions, all residents of the Commonwealth support our hardworking farmers by buying their agricultural products locally,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Buy Local supports Massachusetts’ food economies and agricultural industry by generating consumer awareness and increasing the demand for our fantastic locally grown food products.”
“The Commonwealth has a proud history of farmers growing and supporting their communities by providing food that is unparalleled in quality while creating jobs,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By supporting Buy Local initiatives, Massachusetts consumers are not only growing their local economies but providing increased access to nutritious, locally-grown products for all.” Read more →
Needham Community Farm, Needham, MA – Part-time Farm Manager
Needham Community farm is seeking a part-time, year-round Farm Manager/Gardener. Needham Community Farm (NCF) promotes food justice by increasing access to fresh, sustainably grown produce for food insecure individuals and families; practicing and encouraging environmental stewardship; and deepening our community’s connection to the food system through educational, volunteer and youth leadership programs. We grow on two sites and distribute produce through food access partnerships with a community food pantry and four affordable housing sites, provide support and guidance to multiple affordable housing community gardens, offer opportunities for learning
through our family gardening programs, and partner with local organizations to provide youth programs focused on food sovereignty, nutrition, and gardening. Read more →
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