Capital City Organic Gardeners (CCOG) announced today that it will form a feasibility committee to establish an agricultural commission in the City of Concord. CCOG was selected by the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission to receive a technical assistance grant, provided with support of the Community Technical Assistance Program (CTAP), which provides support and technical assistance to the 26 communities impacted by the I-93 improvements project.
“We are pleased to serve as the catalyst for getting this important process moving,” said Scott Morrison, CCOG founder and president. “In the coming weeks we’ll convene a group of Concord farmers and other people interested in preserving our City’s agricultural resources and heritage. I look forward to working with that group build support for an agricultural commission in Concord and awareness in general of Concord’s rich agricultural resources and history.”
The recent City of Concord Master Plan 2030 details several important agriculture-related goals for the City, which Morrison hopes this effort will support. The city currently has 1991 acres in agricultural use (using 2005 data) and the Master Plan articulates the need for preserving both the rural character of the City’s open spaces and its prime agricultural soils.
“Ultimately, an agricultural commission would advise City boards on the needs of the agricultural community, in order to ensure that these goals are met,” said Morrison.
Enabled by New Hampshire RSA 674:44-e, communities may establish agricultural commissions “for the proper recognition, promotion, enhancement, encouragement, use, management, and protection of agriculture and agricultural resources, tangible or intangible, that are valued for their economic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, or community significance within their natural, built, or cultural contexts.
The purpose of an agricultural commission is to protect farmland, support the local agricultural economy, preserve rural character and promote local agriculture to community members and visitors. Agricultural commissions are advisory only in nature, and do not have a regulatory role. Rather, they are the ambassadors of the farming community, acting as educators, advisors and promoters to help keep agriculture viable in New Hampshire.
At this time, there are 14 agricultural commissions in New Hampshire towns; if Concord forms one, it will be the first city agricultural commission in New Hampshire.
Any farmers or other individuals with an interest in agriculture in Concord should e-mail email@example.com for further information and to participate in an informal discussion about next steps.
agricultural resources and history.”