Agricultural Commission – Ag Com

Nelson Agricultural Commission 2018 Lecture Series

January 27The Mighty Oak – From firewood to baked goods with

Beth Draper and Rob Germeroth

Our oak trees provide winter heat and acorns for baked goods. Beth and Rob will share their experiences making acorn flour. Be sure to attend and taste these nutrious products.

February 24Mayfair Farm Behind the scenes with Craig Thompson

Craig will share how they found Harrisville, their trials and successes and daily life on a farm. If you’ve ever enjoyed Mayfair’s dinners, shopped at the farm store or picked berries and been curious about their operation, then this discussion is for you.

March 31Protect your garden and livestock, fencing options

with Tiger Batchelder Ranchers first started using electric fences more than a hundred years ago as a way to keep cattle in and keep them from being injured by barbed wire. Here in Nelson electric fencing has saved many a garden from woodchucks and deer. Simple fences help chickens and sheep roam protected from predators.

April 28Pruning Apple Trees with Ted Lenk

This will be a hands on demonstration pruning Apple trees at the Nelson Library.

May 19Soil Workshop – Instructors TBA

Curious about no-till gardening, making soil with hugelkultur, discover how to determine the make-up of your soil. Bring your questions, a jar and a scoop of your soil to this hands on workshop. Rain or shine.



Nelson Agricultural Commission 2017 Lecture Series

January 28Wild Edibles with Al Stoops

Ever wonder what is there to eat in the woods and fields? Al will share his knowledge of our NH woods and wild edibles in this engaging discussion.

February 18Maple Sugaring with Becky & Nick Barrett

Becky and Nick have a sugar house, tap maple trees and will share their experiences with us. Interested in trying your hand at making maple syrup? Then this discussion is for you.

March 25 – Growing Mushrooms with David Wichland

Learn about varieties and the proper conditions for success when growing your own mushrooms. Did you know there is a mushroom farm in Nelson?  David teaches workshops throughout New England, sells wild-forged, locally grown, and exotic mushrooms and related products at the Keene Farmer’s Market and via mail order. Come with questions and learn from the experience.

April 15Pruning Blueberries with Ted Lenk

This will be a hands on demonstration pruning blueberry bushes at the Nelson Library.

May 20Wattle Fencing Basics with Kathy Schillemat

Learn the basics of wattle fences and put these new skills to practice while building a small wattle fence around a demonstration garden.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

They take place on Saturdays at 11am in the

Olivia Rodham Public Library, 1 Nelson Common Rd, Nelson, NH.



Gardening for Pollinators – Saturday, January 30th, 11 a.m. 2016

What kind of pollinators are buzzing around in Nelson? How do they help us? How can we help them?
In this presentation, local beekeeper, Val Van Meier, will give us a “State of the Pollinators” report. Val will talk about plants that we can grow in Nelson to encourage pollinators, and she’ll discuss other ways that we can support a healthy habitat for these vital creatures.
Fermentation February! – Saturday, February 20th, 11 a.m. 2016
Puzzled by pickling? Stumped by sourdough? Curious about kefir? You’re in luck! People are fermenting delicious foods right here in Nelson. Our panel of local experts will talk about how they make sauerkraut, sourdough, pickles, kefir, and kombucha! Join us to learn how you can make these foods in your own kitchen! Recipes, samples, and grains will be available.
Backyard Chickens – Saturday, March 12th 11 a.m. 2016 
Feeling cooped up after a long winter? Head over to the Library for our Ag Com Lecture Series poultry talk, presented by UNH Cooperative Extension Educator Carl Majewski. Carl will be available for Q&A, so bring your chicken questions!

Agriculture connects to nearly every aspect of life in Nelson—our food, our environment, our backyards, and our hobbies. Join us as we listen, learn, and grow together!

Harvest Market – September 26, 2015

We’ll be celebrating the abundance of the Fall season at this market of Nelson food producers. The market will be at the Nelson school from 9am~noon.

Farm Tour – October 17, 2015

Join us as we showcase animal husbandry in Nelson by touring local farms.

Backyard Chickens! – March 12, 2016

Feeling cooped up after a long winter? Head over to the Library for our Ag Com Lecture Series poultry talk, presented by UNH Cooperative Extension Educator Carl Majewski.

Lecture Series – Winter 2016

Watch for other upcoming events, including a local herbalism round table, a hand tool skills seminar, and workshops on fermenting, canning, and drying foods.

Old Home Day , August 15th  Stop by the Nelson Ag Com Old Home Day Table.  see our local animal exhibit, learn about Nelson’s Farm Animal population, and pick up an updated version of our Nelson Producer’s Directory.


Ag Com Strawberry Day

Nelson Agricultural Commission Mission Statement
The purpose of the Nelson Agricultural Commission is to raise awareness of agriculture’s role in improving the quality of life in Nelson. The Commission will function as a resource for producers and consumers alike, by providing valuable information on relevant topics, and by advocating for small, local producers.

The values of the Agricultural Commission are:

Sustainable local production
Small-scale, appropriate techniques
Community enterprise
Local economy

“…the tradition of using the land resource for agricultural production is an essential factor in providing for the favorable quality of life in the state.” New Hampshire RSA 672:1

Join the Nelson Agricultural Commissions Email List!
If you’d like to receive periodic updates about Nelson Ag Com events and news, you can join the Ag Com’s email list by sending an email to

Agricultural Commission Members & Terms

John Bunce – regular member – 2017 expiration
Judi Lang – alternate member – 2016 expiration

Pat Rich –alternate member – 2018 expiration
Jacqueline Roland – regular member – 2018 expiration
Val Van Meier – regular member – 2016 expiration

Barbara Voymas – regular member – 2018 expiration
David Voymas – alternate member – 2016 expiration

NH Agricultural Commission Info
More information about the role of Agricultural Commissions in New Hampshire communities can be found on the UNH Cooperative Extension’s website at


 Library Seed CatalogFarm Table

Thanks to various seed savers in town we have the following seeds in our Library Seed Catalog. Save your own seeds? Please share a few with your neighbors.

Bush Yellow Wax Beans “Indie”

Yellow Onion

Cucumber “Marketmore”

Sweet Pepper “Carmin”





If you save seeds, please feel free to contribute. Empty bottles are available at the library.

Needed: Small silica packages. Silica packages from over-the-counter medications make a perfect insert into seed containers by prolonging seed viability.

Nelson Agricultural Commission

At the 2011 Town Meeting, Nelson residents established an Agricultural Commission, as enabled by RSA 674:44. In so doing, Nelson joins a rapidly growing movement in the state, emphasizing the tradition of land use for agricultural purposes. In New Hampshire there are now over 25 municipalities with Agricultural Commissions, echoing similar such interest in other New England states. As more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of local agriculture, this movement can only continue to grow.

The members of Nelson’s Agriculture Commission each have experience in farming, gardening, and the production of food for sale. In selecting the membership, we have tried to strike a balance of age, gender, area of the town, and type of experience.

The Agricultural Commission is currently working on two projects. First is a presentation entitled “How Many MPG Does Your Garden Get?” in which Commission members will emphasize the connection between modern food production and energy consumption (and waste!), and offer several suggestions for simple, local alternatives. The presentation is part of the Nelson Library Summer Forum series, scheduled for July28 at 7:00 PM.

The second project underway is an initial directory of Nelson producers and their produce. If local food is important, why not buy as locally as possible? We hope to have this list available at the Forum presentation.

Other projects in development: an all-Nelson harvest supper; a recommended reading list on food-related issues; and various informational meetings to encourage and assist residents in agricultural production, however small! The Nelson Agricultural Commission invites all residents to participate in our activities.

Agriculture is Growing in Nelson!

Ag Facts:

The words “acre” and “agriculture” derive from the same Greek root, meaning “a field.” Agriculture is literally “the cultivation of the field.” The Latin word for farmer, “agricola,” meant “a field worker.”

In Medieval England, an acre was measured in terms of time, not size: it was the amount of field which a man could mow (using a hand-held scythe) in one day. However, later records show that a good mower could cut as many as two, three, or occasionally even four acres in one day. The “field worker” who could mow the most land was called “first in his field,” which is the origin of our modern expression. The next time we power-up our garden tractors to mow the lawn, we should try to imagine cutting it all by hand!

Most folks who have used a scythe remember the experience as hard, backbreaking work; this is because the typical American-style scythe is very heavy and cumbersome. By contrast, the European or Austrian-style scythe is a smaller, lightweight, and more maneuverable implement, with a hand-hammered blade. In earlier days, Americans were not able to import the better European tool, and so were forced to create blades out of heavy, stamped steel. The heavier blade, in turn, required a bigger, heavier handle (called a “snath”), resulting in a much bulkier tool.

Scythe mowing is best accomplished early in the day, when the grass is wet. This is because the stems contain more moisture earlier, before the sun climbs and dries them out; moisture-laden grass stands up straight and “presents” to the blade. A good mower would often start cutting before dawn, and plan to quit by noon. So, the timing of hand-mowing is the opposite of that for machine-mowing; in the latter, it is best to wait for the grass to dry out, so as to reduce clogging in the machinery.

As far as the grass itself is concerned, studies show that it is best to cut it on a 10-day cycle. This allows the grass to adequately rehabilitate itself before re-cutting (ask any local sheep-farmer about the “2/10 rule”). A longer cut-cycle means a longer lawn, of course: a possible hassle for a machine mower, but of no difference to a hand-scythe. In addition, a longer cut-cycle means a healthier lawn, which in turn means fewer chemical additives needed to keep that lawn “green.”

Wendell Berry, the popular author and agrarian philosopher, writes about using a hand-scythe in his collection of essays “The Gift of Good Land.” He lists several reasons why he prefers a scythe to a power-mower; among them is the fact that the scythe “requires no fuel or oil. It runs on what you ate for breakfast” (p. 173). I would only add, with a scythe you can cut the lawn and still hear the birds sing.

Hmmmm….what can our modern society learn from “the old ways?”

Protect your garden and livestock, fencing options

Mayfair Farm Behind the scenes with Craig Thompson

– The Mighty Oak – From firewood to baked goods

R.P. Hale

Colonial – Inspired Dooryard Garden

Garden Tour on Saturday, June 17th

Pollinators: From Soup to Nuts (or From Flowers to Fruit) with Francie Von Mertens

Wattle Fence Workshop

May Pole Event

Nelson Agricultural Commission 2017 Lecture Series

Beyond Pesto: the many uses of herbs from your garden

The Real Dirt on Soil

Fermentation Workshop at the Library

Nelson, NH in the New York Times

2015 Celebrate Nelson

One of Nelson’s Old Mills: the Stephen Osborn Place written by Rick Church

Nelson Town Hall Front Door

2015 Preservation Merit Award

Igloo on the Nelson Green

Haying at Tolman Pond