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AGvocate Program

Building farm friendly communities throughout Connecticut.

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE

AGvocate Program Website

Here you will find information about current municipal Agriculture Commissions in Connecticut, along with resources for building farm friendly communities, and links to local, state, and federal organizations that can provide assistance in keeping local agriculture viable. This website will provide guidance and resources to municipalities, agriculture commissions, and farmers.

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Promoting Agriculture Since 2009

The AGvocate Program is administered by the Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development Area, Inc. (CT RC&D) in partnership with a Steering Committee comprised of members from The Last Green Valley, USDA FSA, USDA NRCS, USDA RD, UConn Extension, participating communities, agricultural businesses, and other federal, state, and non-profit agencies and organizations. AGvocate is a grassroots program providing a forum for municipal officials, agricultural producers, and other stakeholders to strengthen the farm-friendliness of Connecticut towns. In the past, the AGvocate program received funding from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture through a Farm Viability Grant to promote agriculture by supporting the creation of committees and commissions at the municipal level to support local farmers while helping residents understand the importance of agriculture in their town.

The Roots of the Program

Prior to the creation of the AGvocate Program, there were no local Agriculture Commissions, and as a result of the effort, the program assisted 14 Eastern Connecticut towns in the creation of their own committees and commissions. 

Year One

AGvocate Towns

• Ashford

• Brooklyn

• Canterbury

• Franklin

• Sterling

• Thompson

Year Two

AGvocate Towns

• Eastford

• Hampton

• Windham

• Woodstock

 

 

Year Three

AGvocate Towns

• Bozrah

• Killingly

• Pomfret

• Scotland

 

 

Making Strides for Connecticut Farmers

The fourteen towns who participated in the AGvocate Program have all made significant strides in promoting agriculture at the local level. This includes implementation of Right to Farm ordinances, updating zoning regulations, including agriculture in Plans of Conservation & Development, and promoting agriculture at the local level through events for producers and the public.

The AGvocate Program has created brochures while working with each town to showcase their agriculture products and services, and has also developed  a “Farms in our Community” and “Living Next to a Farm” brochure to teach residents how to be good neighbors to farms. AGvocate has hosted numerous workshops, including a “train the trainer”, and regional conferences to showcase the value and need of agriculture in the community and to also give an opportunity to learn about programs and projects that can bolster the farming community. Since the Program’s creation, the direct assistance provided to municipalities, the “Train the Trainer” sessions, and the program template has led to the existence of 35+ agricultural committees and commissions across the state. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has built upon the success of the AGvocate Program, including the existence of a local Agriculture Commission as one of the prerequisite conditions for eligibility of its Community Farms Preservation Program, begun in 2013.

AGvocate Today

Currently, the AGvocate Program focus is to provide services directly to agricultural producers statewide. AGvocate promotes farm-friendly community policies and regulations in Connecticut, and is a liaison between agricultural producers and local communities. The AGvocate program success was recognized by Working Lands Alliance in 2011 and received  the Pathfinder Award for working to preserve farmland.

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This project was funded in part by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture through the Community Investment Act and Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development (CT RC&D)

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CONTACT US

Connecticut RC&D Office
UConn Extension Center
1066 Saybrook Road, PO Box 70
Haddam, CT 06438
860.345.3977
ajohnson@ctrcd.org

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