Agriculture and Farmers

Current City efforts to support agriculture include:

1. The city is committed to preserving all agriculture land in active agriculture. Part of this effort is to purchase, usually with the state, agriculture preservation restriction on farmland, which allows the farmland to remain in private productive hands with a restriction that the land must remain in active production.

2. The city is working to ensure that its own farmland, as part of conservation areas, is well managed and in no-till or organic farming practices.

3. The Agriculture Commission meets regularly to address farming issues and work to ensure farming remains viable in Northampton, most recently through the Keep Farming planning effort.

4. The city supports three farmers' markets, each accepting food stamps. The city worked with a Smith College student project on An Exploration of Permanent Farmers' Market Structures (PDF) to provide information for Northampton farmers' market managers to consider.

5. The city works with farmers to help them take advantage of state, federal, and NGO conservation programs, primarily through annual agricultural forums (January 2014 and January 2013).

6. The city has a right-to-farm ordinance to send a clear message that farmers were here first and have a right to use normal farm practices, with the odors and such that such practices sometimes entail.