A Message from the Director, April 2019

April 16, 2019

SEMAP has its own version of spring planting. Each spring one of the ways we grow demand for local food in Southeastern Massachusetts is by publishing our Local Food Guide of the region’s farmers, growers, fishermen, aquaculturists, and value-added producers. In a world where demand for a customer’s attention is at a premium, we fill aunique role with the Local Food Guide where you can both peruse the offerings at leisure or zero in on a specific geographic area and type of local food. The Local Food Guide focuses solely on businesses that are part of our local food industry: farms, farmers markets, restaurants, and food establishments. We also highlight fairs and festivals to promote our agricultural heritage, and we work hard to be certain that as many people as possible learn about the options to engage with local food in our area.

Each year we ask our farm businesses selling directly the public to update their Local Food Guide listings so that the most current information is available each season. Our Members get a highlighted listing in the Guide, but a basic listing is free to all farms in the region. This is an easy opportunity to get your farm or local food business out into the community. Please help us provide the most current information.

In addition, we offer an opportunity to advertise in the Guide. This is a prime spot to reach new customers interesting in local food, nutrition and health, the outdoors, and sustainable living. The Guide is distributed year-round into the hands of over 15,000 people within our three-county region. We provide Local Food Guides to a wide range of venues – agricultural, educational, cultural, and commercial. It is a part of SEMAP’s outreach and marketing at farmers’ markets, fairs, and festivals. We will also deliver cases of the guides to member farms and businesses. The breadth of information makes it relevant throughout the year. 

This legislative session at the Massachusetts State House is in full swing. This current two-year cycle has begun with a long list of bills supporting agriculture that are working their way through the legislative processes. I covered the legislation we feel is most in need of support from the community in my February Directors Report. In addition, there are now amendments to the House budget being offered.  Sign on to these amendments is until the end of next week.  We covered those in an email last week. 

Along with a healthy crop of spring legislation we also participated in Ag Day at the State House in late March.  We had an opportunity for our farmers to meet with our area representatives at a Farmer-Legislator Coffee hosted by Senator Rodrigues, Representative Schmid, Representative Howitt and Representative Orrall.  It was a terrific platform to have one-on-one conversations with the legislators and for them to have more in-depth conversations with the farmers.  The day also included a Legislative Preview in the Hall of Flags, awards to local agricultural champions and a presentation to legislators on the value of Buy Local organizations to the agricultural community.

Best wishes for a productive spring season and a growing season without any extreme events.  

Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director

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