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It’s hard to believe that exactly one month ago today was our Ag & Food Conference. There was a tremendous amount of hard work put into that conference by many hands, including our staff and board, as well as a thriving group of volunteers. All that hard work really paid off, and our crowd of over 225 people seemed very happy. Of course, this couldn’t have been done without our generous sponsors: The Trustees, WhatsGood, Southcoast Health, Farm Credit East, Next Step Living, Bay State Organic Certifiers, and Fertrell.
Anyhow, for at least the month prior to the conference, all I did was work on the Conference and didn’t really seem to have any free time for other SEMAP projects. I kept saying how after the conference it would all slow down, and that hasn’t been further from the truth! It’s always busy over here at SEMAP. My current big project is putting together our 2016 Local Food Guide. Farmers, business owners, please consider becoming a SEMAP member to be listed in our guide! We print 10,000 copies and distribute throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.
We’ve also started initial planning for our 2nd Annual Farm to Tapas. We’ll be partnering with the Livestock Institute of Southern New England (formerly SEMALA) again to throw a great bash filled with local food from great restaurants and caterers in Southeastern MA. Save the date! Sunday, July 31st. Tickets will go on sale soon. They are limited, so make sure to sign up early. By the way, SEMAP members (not listed? Sign up here!) will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets. Hope you’ll join us!
Prior to July 31st, we’ll also be having a few more of our Twilight workshops. We’ve secured a several more workshops and are just waiting on dates for a couple more. It’s proving to be an interesting series! We kicked off the workshops at Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth for a fantastic workshop on hydroponic growing. Next up is mushroom production. Unfortunately, that workshop had a limit, and it is full! Check out our full listing here.
Hope to see you at future SEMAP events!
Keep it local,
The time I spend directly on the farm is the most important (as well as my favorite) part of my work at SEMAP. A perk of the job is to be able to buy at all the farm stands and farmers’ markets. Buying food locally is a crucial aspect of community building. We hear many reasons why local food is important but the community aspect has one of the most far reaching results. In an increasingly mistrustful and cynical world, local food puts a human face on our food system, builds connection to our farmers, and generations can experience time-honored traditions of grower and eater. Communities support their farms but farms also support their communities.
There is something special when we are able to see the person producing our food, asking questions about how it was grown or raised, and how to prepare it. Having our neighbors growing a diversity of food helps a community survive and thrive in good times and in bad. The wealth of knowledge a grower provides – whether shared over a table at the farmers market, across a row of veggies at a local farm or in a more formal workshop – cannot be replicated in a large chain store, and is crucial to community independence and interdependence.
Best of all, farm stands and farmers’ markets are excellent places for community gathering. We hope to see you at one of the winter farmers’ markets in our region and also join us at our 9th Annual Ag & Food Conference.
BY KENDRA MURRAY
Although our winter started off pretty mildly, I’m currently staring out the window watching a heavy snowfall. I’ve accepted that fact that winter is finally here. What better way to warm up on a winter day than with a nice, hot bowl of soup? Destination Soups, situated in the heart of Downtown New Bedford is the perfect place for a winter warmer.
Nestled in a sweet spot between routes 24, 495 and 44, Freedom Food Farm is the embodiment of farm riding a wave of excitement and enthusiasm. Since their move from Rhode Island two years ago, Freedom Food Farm’s growth has been intensive, building both infrastructure – coolers, greenhouses and a new farm stand – as well a customer base in their new location just north of Rte. 44 in Raynham. The integrated farm uses organic and biodynamic principles to manage vegetable production and animal husbandry practices.