agriculture

What is an Agricultural Commission?

The purpose of an agricultural commission is to protect agricultural lands, preserve rural character, provide a voice for farmers, and encourage agriculture-based businesses. For years, New Hampshire farmers have served as stewards of land and water resources, and provided habitat for native plants and animals. As New Hampshire communities grow and change, citizens are looking for ways to support local farms, and foster new ones.

Agricultural commissions are a new idea for New Hampshire municipalities seeking to balance growth and quality of life issues, and preserve local character.

Agri-culture in New Hampshire

There are over 4,000 farms in New Hampshire. However, according to the 2012 New England Agricultural Statistics, fewer than 1,500 make $10,000 or more in annual revenue. As Bruce Crawford of the Boscawen Agricultural Commission puts it, it’s “hard work for little money.” That means a farmer’s work goes beyond the physical labor and the long hours: farmers must be creative and tireless to reach their customers.

And that they are!

New England's Food System: Distance Is Money

Planning and planners, by definition, look to the future. The question: What future are planners looking toward? A future which assumes continuation of the status quo? A future which is based in the past? Or a future which accepts the notion of fundamental and not incremental change? All of this depends on one's assumption about the future economy and, most particularly, the supply and price of oil.

New Hampshire School Children Getting Healthy by Eating Fresh, Local Food

New Hampshire school administrators, nutrition professionals, nurses, teachers and local farmers didn’t need a celebrity chef coming to town to get inspired to change the way our kids eat. With no film crew, no media buzz, creative people have been at work for years in New Hampshire to bring healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables into our schools, and they’re getting results.

Balancing Agricultural Use with Growth and Development: An Overview of New Hampshire Law

Throughout the 20th century, residential and commercial development extended into rural areas of New Hampshire, encountering preexisting agricultural uses that were often regarded as incompatible with the new subdivisions and shopping centers. Pesticides and fertilizers; farm equipment and animals; dwellings crowded with seasonal workers; retail roadside stands—all were seen by newcomers as detrimental to property values when conducted near residential developments.

Cultivating a Successful Farmers’ Market

A great farmers’ market is a lot of things. It is ripe tomatoes still warm from the sun and fresh herbs that smell so good you want to eat them on the spot. It is golden honey and just-baked pies. It is lemon verbena soaps and beautiful candles. It is a conversation with the local gardening expert who can tell you how to grow anything (and when to try something different). It is a place for children to try a craft, for families to spend an afternoon, for neighbors to reconnect.

Agricultural Commissions: Keeping Agriculture Viable in New Hampshire Communities

How many farms are there in your community? Does your master plan include a chapter on, or any discussion of, agricultural resources? Is a farmer required to go through full site plan review to put up a seasonal farmstand? These are questions that a local agricultural commission can help to answer.