MDAR staff joined SEMAP to meet with local farmers, hear about the challenges they face and support they need
DARTMOUTH, MA – On Tuesday, August 30, SEMAP led staff from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), including Commissioner John Lebeaux and Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle, on a tour of local farms in Westport and Dartmouth. Together, they met with local farmers to hear about their success and difficulties, and discuss what support is needed to keep local agriculture strong.
The tour began at Westport Dairy, and included stops at The Neighborhood Farm, Round the Bend Farm, Brix Bounty Farm and Westport Sea Farms, giving MDAR staff the chance to see a wide variety of agricultural productions in the area.
“We had a great experience today hosted by SEMAP, seeing the vast array of agricultural activities that happen in Southeast Massachusetts,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “I think we’ve learned, particularly over the last two and a half years, when the food supply was to some degree jeopardized, how important local food is – And it’s not just local food, it’s everything that makes that happen: keeping space open, supporting local businesses, and feeding the local economy as we feed the residents of Massachusetts.”
“We’re always grateful to have the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner, and the Department of Agriculture here in Southeastern Mass to show the diversity of farming operations we have here and for farmers to be able to interact directly with the Department,” said Karen Schwalbe, Executive Director of SEMAP.
SEMAP is one of the nine Buy Local organizations in Massachusetts, providing business assistance to farmers and farmworkers across 75 towns in Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk counties, including financial management tips, networking with other service providers, and marketing and social media advice. They also educate consumers on the benefits of local farms and local food, why local farms are important and how to find them. Founded in 1998, SEMAP will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.