SEMAP is dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming in southeastern Massachusetts through research and education.
SEMAP was founded in 1998 as a Buy Local organization to connect our region’s farmers to important resources, and to educate the community on the value of local food. Our work area covers 75 towns across Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties in Massachusetts—home to over 150 farms of all sizes.
Over the past two decades, SEMAP has:
SEMAP’s programs and goals evolve alongside local and national changes in agriculture. We will continue to champion local food and build a strong farming future for Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond.
Karen Schwalbe, Executive Director
Karen has a life long passion for farming that benefits people and place. In her early years at New Alchemy she was trained in the basic concepts of sustainable agriculture, continuing her training as a project manager at Ocean Arks International developing ecological restoration projects and pond restoration techniques. Her later work was at the intersection of tropical ecology, climate change and industrial agriculture working on reducing tropical forest conversion to agriculture.
She represents Falmouth’s agricultural interests as the founder of Falmouth Farmers’ Market in 2006, a member of the Falmouth Agricultural Commission and on the board of the Barnstable County Agricultural Society.
Her family raises Nigerian Dwarf goats and operates a small homestead in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Shannon Hickey, Program Coordinator
Shannon joined SEMAP in 2021 with experiences in agriculture, food access, and policy. She coordinates workshops and technical assistance for direct-market growers and beginning farmers and ranchers. She has farmed veggies, fruits, and small-scale livestock in New York, Alaska, and here in her home state of Massachusetts. She sees food systems as the key to social and economic progress, including her passions of climate and racial justice work.
Shannon’s favorite crop to farm (and eat!) is garlic, and when she’s not in a field, you can probably find her at a beach, museum, or ice cream shop!
James Lehner, Communications & Outreach Coordinator
James joined SEMAP in November of 2021 after spending the past two years farming in Northern Massachusetts. This experience gave him a new perspective on how to think about our food – where it comes from, how much work it takes, and just how much their is to know about plants. Prior to this, he had a background in communications, working in print and radio news, and spent a few months as an intern in the Massachusetts State House. All of this culminates in a passion for local agriculture, writing, and public policy, which he combines in his role at SEMAP to connect farmers with their communities.
In his spare time, James enjoys hiking, reading, and the New York Times crossword puzzle. He is also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player.
Liz Wiley, Board President,
Liz Wiley comes to the SEMAP board with a diverse background focused on environmental and social sustainability. Originally trained as a biologist, Liz worked as a marine mammal scientist for over a decade. Her work ranged from pioneering methods to rescue mass stranded whales and dolphins, to investigating the impact of noise on killer whales, to conducting aerial surveys to locate critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. While passionate about environmental protection, her experience as a woman in science led to a greater commitment in improving the lives of underserved women and the need to form healthy communities that combine environmental and social needs. In 2007, she began working for Bristol Community College where she developed the highly successful WISE Women program, implemented multiple grant initiatives focused on workforce development and was the Director of the Green Center, a department focused on workforce training in support of the green economy. This work led to an interest in farming and food security and a role as the Education Manager at South Dartmouth’s Round the Bend Farm. Liz was most recently the Food Security Lead at IoT Impact LABS, where her role is to merge the technology community with small to mid-size, place-based food producers, primarily involving agriculture, aquaculture and commercial fisheries. Liz received her MS in Organizational Management and Leadership from Antioch University-New England, where her thesis focused on the ‘Role of Women in Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Communities’. In January 2019, Liz became the Executive Director of the Marion Institute
Fred Ames, Clerk, Treasurer
Fred is a longtime resident of Southeastern Massachusetts. Most recently, he was instrumental in bringing back Langwater Farm in North Easton as a productive agricultural enterprise. He also has a long record as a volunteer in waging successful historic preservation campaigns to save buildings and landscapes of historic importance. Mr. Ames has worked as a wooden boat builder, a commercial loan officer, and an urban transportation consultant. Fred holds an MBA from Babson College and a dual Bachelor’s of Arts and Science degree in Finance from Boston University. He enjoys world travel with his two children, and spending time back at home sailing and hiking. The Carrot Project
Sarah is the owner/farmer of Cluck & Trowel, a small certified organic farm in Little Compton, RI. Born and raised on the South Coast, Sarah has been a strong supporter of farms and local agriculture throughout her career. Sarah developed many close relationships with area farmers during her 7+ years working with agricultural non-profit organizations. Cluck & Trowel Farm
, Little Compton
Melissa grew up in Taunton where her parents have a dairy farm and produce hay, and she continues to stay involved in the family business today. She is a graduate of Bristol County Agricultural High School, UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and Bridgewater State University. Melissa has been an Animal Science Instructor at Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole since 1989. She is the FFA advisor at Norfolk Aggie and has been involved in 4-H as a member and a leader for many years. She is also a member of the Bristol County Farm Bureau, Anawan Oakton Grange, Rhode Island Sheep Coop, and the Worcester County Sheep Association. Melissa currently raises Border Leicester and American Southdown sheep on her farm, McKenna Acres, with her daughters Madison and Kaylee, where they sell lamb, wool, and breeding stock. Norfolk County Agricultural High School
Kendra, a previous SEMAP employee, has developed a true passion for local food and farming. After graduating from UMass Dartmouth with a degree in Management Information Systems, Kendra knew she wanted to make positive impacts with her work. Her minor in Sustainability Studies introduced her to a cleaner and greener way of life. After working with SEMAP for 3 years, she transitioned from her role as SEMAP Program & Marketing Director to a SEMAP Board member, keeping close to the local farming community. Kendra currently works as the Development & Outreach Specialist at the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust. In her free time, you can find her gardening, hiking, or at a local farm stand! Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust
Steven is the owner of Steven’s Farm Stand, a small farm in Rochester, MA that focuses on organic practices, using no chemical sprays and minimal tillage. They specialize in salad greens and a variety of tomatoes. Steven has always had a love for farming which he developed at Bristol County Agricultural High School, and later at Bristol Community College in their Sustainable Agriculture Program. Steven’s Farm Stand
, Acushnet, MA
Farmer, STEM Educator, Dighton
Farmer/Farmstand Manager, The King Farm
Co-Executive Director, Coastal Foodshed
, New Bedford
MA Board of Ag, Dartmouth