AUBURN — There will be a public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Auburn City Hall for city officials to gather input and ideas on the future of Auburn’s agricultural economy.

Those with farm and natural resource-based businesses, and businesses that sell, process or add value to products produced by farms are encouraged to attend.

Auburn’s agricultural and resource protection district has been in place since the early 1960s, and contains more than 40 percent of the city’s land area, over 20,000 acres.

The district regulations have limited development while promoting food, agricultural, timber and natural resource production and associated uses. Maine has seen substantial growth in the number of small farms over the past decade, yet it has also seen farms close in Auburn as well.

Small and large farms not only provide local jobs and local food, but there are many spin-off processing and retail opportunities that can promote a vibrant downtown and local food economy. Over the past 50 years, the nature and trends of farming and food production may have changed. As a result, the regulations may create unintended consequences and barriers to the future and growth of farming and forestry.

There are a number of current funding opportunities to help expand farms and develop new products or markets for farm-related businesses. The city wants to hear from community members who have ideas or thoughts on the subject, or see ways to reduce barriers to growing a farm business or reduce barriers to new entry into an agricultural business.

This meeting is the beginning of potential future talks, and will provide an open forum for everyone interested in the future of Auburn’s rural land and agricultural economy. It will help the City Council decide on possible funding for a more detailed review and agricultural opportunity and AGRP District study.

For those unable to attend, an online survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NHHS58Q.

FMI: www.auburnmaine.gov/pages/government/agriculture-and-resource-protection-zoning-district-auburn-maine.


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