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SEMAP is dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts through research and education.
Preservation: SEMAP works with farmers and the community to keep working farmland in production. In addition to protecting our existing regional food supply, safeguarding working farmland maintains a way of life and a treasured landscape.
Expansion: SEMAP offers workshops and technical assistance to farmers covering techniques and topics such as season extension, business management and marketing that result in increased production in sales. SEMAP strives to expand access to local food by working with the community to establish access to local food for all residents and visitors to Southeastern Mass.
Access: Local food should be available to everyone to enjoy it at home, at schools, in hospitals, daycare facilities, and in restaurants regardless of one’s socioeconomic background.
Local Food: Local Food is a hard phrase to define. Some define it as food grown, produced and sold within a 100-mile radius. For many, local would include your state and neighboring states. Regionalism is making a strong argument for sections of the country, such as New England or the entire northeast. However, we think everyone can agree that a tomato grown in your backyard or purchased from your closest farm or farmers market is a local food choice when compared to a grocery store tomato that most likely traveled 1300+ miles. Local is a state of mind and a higher state of consciousness - being aware of where your food came from and under what conditions - will define what local is for you.
Sustainable Farming: Sustainable agriculture is defined by the USDA as satisfying human food & fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; making the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources, and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustaining the economic viability of farm operations; and enhancing the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
This definition addresses the triple bottom-line of sustainability:
-PEOPLE: Social Equity & Well Being
-PLANET: Environmental Health/Protection/Conservation
-PROFIT: Economic Prosperity & Continuity
Research: SEMAP undertakes research projects that support the region’s agricultural community. Gathering and analyzing data provides a basis for requesting financial resources and a baseline from which to measure positive and negative changes to Southeastern Massachusetts’ food system.
Education: SEMAP provides educational opportunities for the public and farm community. SEMAP’s Farms Forever program runs a one-day farm conference in March and many technical workshops throughout the year for farmers covering such issues as farm transfer and land acquisition. Farms Forever has recently launched an entering farmer orientation series titled: So You Want to Be a Farmer?
SEMAP’s Buy Fresh Buy Local ? Educational Campaign works with the broader community to craft basic to in-depth informational events, demonstrations and workshops for the child to the adult covering such topics as Budgeting Your Local Food Diet, Preserving the Harvest and The Homesteader in You.
SEMAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving Bristol, Plymouth and Barnstable Counties.
Southeastern Massachusetts has a rich and diverse heritage of farming, with agricultural enterprises that range from dairy to vineyards to orchards, specialty herbs, and shellfish farms. These agricultural and aquaculture operations are increasingly challenged by the region’s rapid growth and suburbanization, and by market factors that make it difficult to keep farming profitably.
In 1998, a network of educational & nonprofit organizations and service providers formed the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership. SEMAP was a creation of necessity, as there was a void in our part of the commonwealth. SEMAP became the organization providing a comprehensive source to help the region’s farmers and aquaculture operators navigate the many agencies and organizations that provide support and resources to farming operations in the region.
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