BY KENDRA MURRAY
Back in March, SEMAP co-hosted a Statewide Grain Gathering at the Plimoth Grist Mill. We packed the mill with farmers, bakers, and millers to discuss a localized grain economy throughout the Commonwealth. While there, I spoke with George Whitley, the miller at Gray’s Grist Mill in Westport. He invited me to tour the mill and learn a little bit more about the history and what was currently happening where he was milling.
We know what April showers bring, but we hope May showers herald a drought free summer. Farmers have been working hard getting crops in the ground to take the benefit of the rainy weather. The cool rainy spring is perfect conditions for delicious early season produce: tender asparagus, green garlic, succulent lettuces and spinach, spicy radishes and bitter rhubarb. Remember to stock up with local offerings for your Memorial Day events – find what’s available nearby through our Online Farm Guide.
While farmers have been busy in the fields, SEMAP along with other Buy Local Organizations and other agricultural groups attended a very successful Ag Day at the State House last month. Farmers and friends of farming overrun the State House showcasing the agricultural bounty of the region. It is also the day to meet with legislators to discuss the issues impacting agricultural and the challenges and opportunities for farmers in Massachusetts. And with all the food offerings most of our legislators are in attendance. SEMAP offered watermelon radish donated by Ben & Hannah Wolbach of Skinny Dip Farm. These spicy and eye-catching gems attracted visitors attention and gave us a chance to educate about winter storage crops and what is in season in early April in Massachusetts.
Besides enjoying the flavor of Massachusetts at Ag Day, our legislators have been active in supporting local food and farming in the Commonwealth. Legislation has been filed to update the plumbing code to include agricultural uses, establish a Livestock Care and Standards Board, a provision to modify the state estate tax to assess farmland at its agricultural value, rather than its highest and best use value, several bills to protect pollinators, and substantial list of bills relating to food waste. You can search any bills filed with the legislature here. Let your legislators know what your concerns are and what you support.
Remember to buy local this Memorial Day weekend. Put your money where your heart is!
All the best,
Hi MAA Members and Industry People-
The Senate is currently putting together their budget for the next fiscal year. So far in the process, there are two budget amendments that are important to agriculture that are being considered. Debate and votes on amendments will being on Tuesday, May 23.
Please contact your state Senator and ask them to SUPPORT the amendments listed below. Please refer to the amendments by their number and title:
Budget Amendment # 802 – Massachusetts Aquaculture Centers, proposed by Senator Tarr
Want to help build a more sustainable food and farm future? NSAC is hiring!
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is currently seeking a full-time Field Organizer to work on the ground in six New England states along with New York, coordinating grassroots advocacy campaign efforts on behalf of NSAC and the American Farmland Trust (AFT). The Field Organizer will work with NSAC and AFT as part of a broader effort to educate, connect, and empower grassroots farm and food groups and practitioners around federal agricultural policy efforts to build a more sustainable farm and food system. Additional details and application instructions can be found in the job description.