We are currently recruiting volunteers for our Agriculture & Food Conference on March 1st.
If interested, please contact Kendra Murray at
|BECOME A SPONSOR|
We're still looking for sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors for our Ag & Food Conference.
|HELP SUPPORT US|
After meeting up with Fred Ames, a great SEMAP member and supporter from Easton, I wished him a happy new year. "By the way, at what point does wishing someone a "happy new year" sound crazy?" I asked. "Probably February," Fred laughed. "But no later." So, using that as my rule of thumb, may I wish you all a happy 2015.
Most of us, when we turn the page on our calendar, get a wistful feeling about the old and an anticipatory feeling for the new. Some may worry. Others may feel excitement. By and large, we all sense that something different is coming. Agriculture as we have come to know it, however, is based on a foundation of knowledge accrued over generations. It's the legacy we have inherited from those who have come before us. Sure, there are always new innovations, new technology and new blood, but, much like the scientific method itself, our farmers and growers apply those practices that have shown success, and chuck those that don't. Agriculture is built not on inflexibility but on the ability to adapt.
Looking forward at the programming and events scheduled for the upcoming year, I'd like to think that SEMAP will be an important part of continuing to provide the resources, education, and assistance that will help local agriculture continue growth and sustain that legacy for the future. We will continue to work toward that end, and certainly would appreciate your support in our efforts. Whether volunteering, attending an event or making a donation, that support goes a long way.
While preparing for a forum for new farmers on seeking land, I was forwarded a link to a video entitled "Born on this Farm" by Taylor Bettencourt, featuring his grandfather John, a farmer in Westport. It describes the family history of the farm, the good times and the not-so-good times. As a student of history, very little is as significant as first person accounts. Hearing John's words and seeing his emotion reminded me that, every time we buy local and support a farmer, be it old or young, we are ensuring that agriculture remains a part of our region's LIVING history.
So, as always, buy local...and make it your new year's resolution.
|BUY LOCAL BLURB|
It's a busy time of year for us here at SEMAP. We're currently planning a lot of great events for the winter and spring and we hope you'll be joining us! Looking for land to farm? Our Farmland Seeker Forum will cover finding land, lease language, legal help, as well as a farmer panel. It's a free event, but we do ask that you pre-register. Following our forum, we will be having our Annual Winter Networking Meeting and Annual Meeting. This will be a great opportunity to connect with local growers, buyers, meet new faces in southeastern MA, and learn about SEMAP's achievements and plans for the future. Also free, but please register here.
A couple months out is our Ag & Food Conference. It's a great day-long event for farmers, gardeners, and foodies. There will be many different workshops to choose from with a little bit of something for everyone. We'll also provide a fresh, locally sourced lunch, and there will be plenty of exhibitors and vendors to visit as well. Register now and get our early bird price...only $25 for SEMAP members! Great deal! Not a member? Sign up now to help support SEMAP and get great discounts on all of our events.
Our Ag conference is a lot of fun and it's also a lot of work. We're already looking for volunteers and appreciate all the help we can get. There's plenty to be done, but if there's something specific that you'd like to do, please let me know. All interested individuals can fill out this form or email me at [email protected]. We're also still looking for sponsors and exhibitors. If interested, contact Jason at [email protected].
I also just want to encourage everyone to keep eating locally year round. Be sure to look at our winter guide to find an off-season farmers market near you. There's always local food...you just have to look a little bit harder now. Well, I'm off to the market. Stay warm!
by Derek Christianson
How's the winter going? I was fortunate to spend an abundance of time with my family over the holidays and must admit the call of two giggling girls sometimes makes the planning work feel like it can wait just a bit longer. I reckon one can fairly judge just how warm the fall was by assessing how far along you are on the planning process by January 10th. This year's December warmth and the end of season to do list definitely pulled rank over office work. In some winters crop planning feels leisurely, in others it's experience is a bit more mundane, calculations of known quantities. Don't mistake my sentiment, selecting the seeds for next year's crop is far from drudgery. It is also work, and work worthy of your time. I've always counted myself lucky that the scope of our operation allows for quite a bit of flexibility for including trials in our planting plan.
Some trials are forced upon us, when a supplier drops a staple variety or in the case of last year's Winterbor kale shortage, seed's become suddenly harder to come by. At the end of the season I make a quick list of seed traits which I want to seek out in the off-season. High on that list this year is a decent downy mildew (DM) resistant cucumber for a September crop (we don't utilize fungicides on our farm and despite our efforts investing in fertility improvements, we've yet to crack the DM code). Last year we trialed SV4719CS to mixed results, they definitely yielded well in our late August planting, bettering their partner variety; but the September crop showed relatively little resistance (hence the "intermediate resistance" label from the seed companies). Just a decade ago this disease was nearly a non-factor in the Northeast, but times have changed quite rapidly with some varieties once noted for their resistance already losing that classification. I suppose we can find comfort in the knowledge that quite a bit of effort and research is underway to improve resistance among commercial cultivars, thanks in part the sequencing of the cucumber genome
This year I plan to trial an Organically Grown OP released from Cornell which has performed well in a SARE trial at Twin Oaks Seed Farm in Virginia, DMR-264
. I'm willingly to sacrifice the coveted 9'' slicer trait for a stumpier slicer, and hopefully our customers will pleased to have cucumbers later into the fall. (I should note for conventional growers Harris is offering Centella F1
as a good option for improved DM resistance). With today's bitter cold temperatures there was ample time to pick up the phone and have a conversation with a couple of seed companies. I encourage you to utilize the valuable knowledge that seed companies offers through their staff.
Now is a great time to get in touch with your accountant and/or financial professional to assist you with your tax preparations. Farm Credit East
is a great resource for reviewing your tax paperwork before submission. Best to get last year's books wrapped up before the allure of allium seeding becomes too present.
Hope to see you at our annual winter networking meeting on the 26th of January!
Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Tuesday, January 13th
This conference brings together farm to cafeteria advocates for workshops and panel discussions addressing a wide variety of farm to school topics.
Wednesday, January 14th
Workshops, panels, and individual consultations to help a farmer with business growth through good marketing strategies. Progressive Grower Annual Meeting
Friday, January 16th
Earn 4 Pesticide Credits, meet manufacturer representatives, and enter to win great prizes. Call 508-273-7358 for more information.Roots Down Gardeners Potluck
Wednesday, January 21st
Please join us on at the Dartmouth Grange at 6pm for a potluck, a brief conversation focusing on tillage decisions, and a group think exercise.Farmland Seeker Forum
Monday, January 26th
Searching for farmland? Join us for an afternoon of learning on topics including finding and analyzing land, land tenure options, and more!
Monday, January 26th
Our annual winter networking meetings offer opportunities to connect with your fellow growers, potential buyers, chefs, and eaters.
New England Grows
February 4th to 6th
Learn about the latest design, products, technology, and consumer trends and exchange ideas with your green industry colleagues.
Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing and Trade Show
February 25th and 26th
Sessions on new marketing ideas, promotion, business planning, ag-tourism, managing farmers' markets, ag comms, and more!
SEMAP 2015 Ag & Food Conference
Sunday, March 1st
Workshops for farmers, gardeners, and consumers. Featuring a local lunch and Agricultural Service Provider & Business Trade Show.
Sustainable Business Network Local Food Trade Show
Tuesday, March 10
This event is ideal for restaurants and institutional buyers interested in buying more locally produced products.
NOFA/RI Winter Conference
Sunday, March 29th
Join NOFA/RI for a day of interesting workshops and seminars and a potluck lunch.
For a more detailed event listing visit SEMAPonline.org/events
The Online Farm Guide
Farmers: Keep your farmfresh.org listing up-to-date! The online farm guide, farmfresh.org, is a go-to for anyone looking for local foods, beverages and farm fun. Eaters: Visit www.farmfresh.org to find local food near you.
The Beginning Farmers Network of MA has resources for beginning farmers, including an ever-expanding calendar of events statewide, helpful tips from guest bloggers, a jobs board, and a referral network. Get in touch or check out the BFN/MA site today to find the help you're looking for. See links to Young Farmer Nights (RI & MA super fun farm visits!) and New Entry's brand new publication, An Entrepreneur's Guide to Farming in Massachusetts.
Members joining SEMAP between now and December 31st will automatically be eligible for listing in our next Local Food Guide. The guide will contain SEMAP member farms and local food businesses, as well as a list of winter farmers markets, farmstands, & CSAs in our region.
Current, up to date listing of markets across southeastern Massachusetts2014/2015 Winter Markets
No need to let the cold keep you from buying local!
|JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES|
|Mass in Motion New Bedford is currently looking to expand and diversify the New Bedford Farmers' Market for the 2015 season. MiM NB will be hiring a Market Coordinator and creating a token system so all vendors can accept SNAP benefits and credit/debit cards. The Downtown Market runs Thursdays, 2-6 and the Brooklawn Park Market runs Mondays, 2-6. If you are interested please contact Kimberly Ferreira at 508-979-1500 or [email protected].
The Middleboro Conservation Commission is inviting proposals for a lease for an agricultural or horticultural opportunity within the historic section of East Middleboro on Thompson St. More information here.
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