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Dozens Respond to McGrath Farm RFP

Concord is seeking proposals for leasing the McGrath farmstead, a historic town-owned parcel available at a below-market rate as an incentive to promote local food production. The deadline to respond is Jan. 24.

Pat McGrath died unexpectedly last year, at age 64. Concord is now looking for someone to farm the land he had devoted his life to rejuvenating and maintaining. Photo courtesy Dee Funeral Home.
Pat McGrath died unexpectedly last year, at age 64. Concord is now looking for someone to farm the land he had devoted his life to rejuvenating and maintaining. Photo courtesy Dee Funeral Home.
Late last year, Concord put out a call to farm in the form of a request for proposals to lease the town-owned property known as the McGrath farmstead.

The deadline to respond is later this month, and already dozens have shown interest in the property, according to a report from Town Manager Chris Whelan. 

Through its call to farm, Concord is seeking an operator for the the McGrath farmstead, a historic town-owned parcel, which the town acquired earlier this year following the 2012 death of respected local farmer Patrick McGrath

The property available for lease -- for a proposed 5-year term commencing in this March -- includes a residence, farmstand building, greenhouse and 14 acres of farmable land off Barretts Mill Road, according to a notice from the town. It's available at a below-market rate as part of an effort to promote local food production

More than 20 people attended a walkthrough of the property during a pre-bid meeting with Natural Resources Director Delia Kaye, Administrative Assistant Denise Gibbons and Budget and Purchasing Administrator Jon Harris, according to Whelan's report, which notes 36 Requests for Proposals had been issued to interested bidders. 

The deadline for proposals is 2 p.m. next Friday, Jan. 24. 

Background, Plans for the Property 

The vision for the McGrath farmstead is for the farmhouse to serve as affordable housing for famers working the land, and for the town to work with partners to preserve and protect the historical agricultural lands -- which have only ever been farmed by two families, the McGraths and the Barrett family before them. 

Until his death last year at age 64, Patrick McGrath had devoted most of his life “to rejuvenating and maintaining the McGrath Farm on Barretts Mill Road, which his grandfather had bought from the Barrett family,” according to his obituary.

Following McGrath's death, the town reached an agreement with the McGrath family to purchase the land.

In April of last year, annual Town Meeting authorized the purchase of the property, located at 449 Barretts Mill Road, for $851,000, with another $74,000 to be expended for site improvements. 

Along with those monies authorized at Town Meeting, local affordable housing advocates have pledged additional funds to renovate the farmhouse. 

In September, the Concord Housing Foundation presented theBoard of Selectmen with a $100,000 donation from one anonymous donor and committed to continuing "fundraising to aid in creating ... housing for farmers and farmworkers" on the McGrath land, according to meeting minutes posted online. 

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