By Kerry Rickrode
The Hillsborough County Conservation District (HCCD) serves the most populous county in New Hampshire and several refugee resettlements. Recently, HCCD launched a new initiative to provide technical assistance to these new Americans, who want to grow their own food, but aren’t familiar with farming in colder climates or urban settings.
Urban agriculture technical assistants (TA) have contracted to serve the refugee, immigrant, and underserved farmers in urbanized Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Bedford. Much of their work has been completed across several sites.
The first is the Common Earth Farm. The operation employs refugee and immigrant farmers who grow unique, ethnic crops that would otherwise be unavailable at the farm’s produce stand and the Manchester Farmers Market. The district has provided assistance to the Common Earth Farm through soil health practice implementation, pest management strategies, and the re-establishment of a greenhouse.
The second is Grow Nashua. Through community collaboration with over 20 organizations, Grow Nashua provides urban farming spaces and education to families that may not have the land and/or financial means to have farm space of their own. Grow Nashua acts as a resource and partner in providing space, fostering neighborhood activities, and hosting nutrition education through collaboration with the city, local schools, and local hospitals.
Our TA has been able to offer assistance to Grow Nashua in various capacities from garden planning, on-the-ground training, and participating in volunteer planting days, to offering guidance on managing soil health, intensive planting, algae issues, and more.