SEMAP is dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming in southeastern Massachusetts through research and education.
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.
Olivia Hart, Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Olivia is a recent graduate of Simmons University in Boston, MA where she studied Communications, Marketing and Sustainability. A lifelong resident of the Bay State, she has completed internships at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Climate XChange, Harvard C-CHANGE, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Olivia is deeply aware of the social and ecological dimensions of nutrition and health, and works within these intersections to promote initiatives that increase food access/equity and strengthen local food systems (like the Healthy Incentives Program
Emily Mellgard, Beginning Farmer Coordinator
Emily joined SEMAP in early 2020 to work on program development and delivery to assist farmers and build a strong local food system. She focuses specifically on the Beginning Farmer program and the annual Ag & Food conference. She brings to the team a passion for resilient local food systems and sustainability.
In addition to working on SEMAP programs, Emily runs her own craft kombucha company; Fieldstone Kombucha
. The kombucha (a fermented tea drink) is hand crafted with local ingredients, producing delicious seasonal flavors.
Shannon Hickey, Program Coordinator
Shannon joined SEMAP in 2021 with experiences in agriculture, food access, and policy. She primarily coordinates workshops and technical assistance for direct-market growers. 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!
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 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
Ed serves as the Port Director and Executive Director of the Port of New Bedford, MA, the nation’s #1 fishing port by value. Before becoming the Executive Director in 2015, Ed served as the Deputy Port Director and Director of Operations dating back to 2010. Since 2016, Ed has served as the Chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) Maritime Economic Development Committee and has serves as the Vice Chair of the Port Council of the Steamship Authority. He received a B.S. in Urban Studies from Cornell University and a M.S. in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts- Boston. Ed lives in New Bedford with his wife Pamela, son Charlie and dog Tula, where he spends his free time hiking, skiing, fishing, kayaking and developing New England-style barbeque, a New England clambake combined with southern barbeque. Port of New Bedford
, New Bedford
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
Kitty de Groot,
Upon returning to Massachusetts, Kitty cofounded Buzzards Bay Bee Company where she provides hive services to people who would like bees but are not beekeepers themselves and to new beekeepers who want some help with a second set of eyes and support, as well as farmers for crop pollination. Through her beekeeping work and involvement in farmers markets, Kitty has begun to learn more about farming and the farming community and is excited to have the opportunity to continue to learn and help support the farming community as a member of the Board of SEMAP. Kitty is also a member of many county beekeeping organizations as well as on the Board of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.
Board Clerk, Buzzards Bay Bee Company
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
Andy is a longtime gardener, writer, and former gardening columnist for the Boston Herald and author of the book, “Organic Hobby Farming
,” (I-5 Publishing, 2014). For more than a decade, Andy has been a columnist and correspondent for Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home magazines, along with other national and regional publications, including the Standard Times. For six years, he and his wife, Valerie, have operated a small-scale commercial CSA farm from their 1-acre suburban plot in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Farmer, STEM Educator, Dighton
Farmer/Farmstand Manager, The King Farm
Co-Executive Director, Coastal Foodshed
, New Bedford