Agricultural Commission Being Reestablished
Do you like to grow things, raise chickens or rabbits, sell eggs, keep bees, make soap, have a tree farm, run a nursery, or raise apples? Are you involved in 4-H or do any other activities connected to gardening, agriculture, or farming? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the newly resurrected Tuftonboro Agricultural Commission (Ag Com) is looking for your input and support. If you’ve read this far, you are probably asking, “What is an Ag Com and why does Tuftonboro need one?” The purpose of the commission is to serve as an information bridge between those in the town who are involved in farming and agricultural–related pursuits and those who aren’t – to maintain agriculture as an integrated, viable, and vibrant segment our community. While it has no regulatory or enforcement powers, the Ag Com will work cooperatively with other town governing and land-use boards and commissions to advocate for the interests and needs of agriculture in the community.
So why should Tuftonboro invest time and effort in organizing an Ag Com? Here are some things the Ag Com could do:
- Conduct inventories of agricultural resources, historic farms, and farm buildings that can be included as a database for the new town-wide mapping effort; Educate the community and serve as a local voice advocating for farm and forest interests and providing visibility for agricultural–related activities; Conduct activities to recognize, promote, and encourage agricultural resources and agricultural-based economic opportunities in town; Advise other local boards on matters affecting or potentially affecting agricultural resources;
- Hold educational workshops on intergenerational transfer of property and helping to protect farmland and other natural resources by obtaining technical assistance on conservation easement planning, woodlot management, nutrient management, environmental stewardship, and non-point source pollution management, and on state and federal grant and land protection programs.
- Two immediate responsibilities of the Ag Com will be coordination of the town garden plots and monitoring the Cheney Farm easement. In the future, the Ag Com will have the opportunity to provide input on those sections of the updated Tuftonboro Master Plan concerned with agricultural resources. What other projects should the Ag Com consider tackling? We are looking for your input and want to know if you are involved in or have an interest in any aspect of agriculture, large or small, from raising a few chickens to a market garden, from caring for an apple tree or running a nursery, from concerns about native pollinators or keeping bees, from gardening to managing a tree farm. This is the opportunity for your voice to be heard. What do you see as needs that the commission can address? Are you interested in serving on the Ag Com, either as a member or an alternate?