Agricultural Commission Update

by on October 18, 2010 in Civic Opportunity, Cultural, Life in Nelson

Efforts are progressing to establish an Agricultural Commission in Nelson. The potential to have such a commission is provided by RSA 674:44-e and 673:4-b. To date, several towns in New Hampshire have established AgComs, and a few more are currently in the process of doing so. Generally, AgComs serve as a local voice advocating for farmers, farm-related businesses, and broadly defined agricultural interests. An AgCom is non-regulatory, and may be called upon to assist other town boards in their regular work.

On July 6, the Nelson Planning Board sponsored a public informational meeting at the Town Hall, to determine the interest in forming a Nelson AgCom. Twenty-seven residents came out in the sweltering heat. We heard presentations by Amanda Costello, from Cheshire County Conservation, and Jeff Littleton from Moosewood Ecological Services; a lively discussion followed. All present agreed that the concept of a Nelson AgCom deserves further investigation. Six people volunteered to form a Steering Committee, which has met three times.

The Steering Committee is exploring ways to cultivate broad community support for an AgCom, in hopes that the Town will officially establish the commission at the 2011 Town Meeting. In addition, the Steering Committee is developing a list of “Nelson Producers and Their Produce”: hopefully, next season you will be able to consult the list to find a very local source for a wide range of agricultural products.

Other ideas on the drawing board: An Agricultural Arts day during Old Home Week; an all-Nelson (that is, produce only from Nelson) Harvest Supper; presentations on agricultural and forest issues ( such as the Asisan Long-horned beetle, early and late blight, livestock concerns, etc.); forums on political and cultural issues that have impact on agriculture; recommended reading lists; farm tours; and more. In all of these efforts, the Steering Committee welcomes input from the community.

Steering Committee members are: Gigi Batchelder, Bob Jones, Mike Iselin, Owen Iselin, Margaret Schillemat, and David Voymas. For more information, or to make sure you are included in the “Directory of Nelson Producers,” please contact David at 847-3137 or baileybrookgardens@gmail.com

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