COA to grow farm



PHOTO BY ROBERT LEVIN

Chickens on one of College of the Atlantic’s organic farms.

BAR HARBOR — Production of chicken, lamb and beef is set to expand at College of the Atlantic’s (COA) Peggy Rockefeller Farm following the granting of a commercial agriculture permit earlier this summer.

Farm managers are planning for a rotating flock of more than 100 broiler chickens and hope eventually to produce 40 dozen eggs a week, along with several dozen lamb and two beef cows each year. Nearly all of the food will supply the school’s Blair dining hall, where local, sustainably-produced food is a major focus.

“Ultimately, food production is one of the most pernicious threats that we face as a planet,” COA president Darron Collins, Ph.D., said Tuesday. “We want to play a role in solving that globally, and it starts here with doing this on campus. By producing more of our own food for our own consumption, we can demonstrate leadership in the world of higher education.”

The Peggy Rockefeller Farm, at the corner of Crooked Road and Norway Drive, in Bar Harbor became part of COA in 2010 and has been under development since that time. Farm manager C.J. Walke said that systems on the property are still being worked out, but that even in its first few years, the farm has provided many learning opportunities for students.

There are several students working at the farm for the summer. During the school year there are classes that utilize the site, with subjects as diverse as geology, biology, art and writing being studied at the location.

While education is the primary goal at the Peggy Rockefeller farm, COA officials also hope the space will provide a helpful resource for independent farmers in Mid-coast and Down East Maine by tackling some of the problems they face, Dr. Collins said.

Another goal of programs at the farm is to answer the question of food justice, Dr. Collins said, namely, “How can we make sustainably-produced and harvested food more available to all kinds of people, not just the people who can typically afford it.”

The school is holding a community event at the farm entitled Family Fun Day on Thursday, Aug. 7. Families are invited to visit the property on that day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. to enjoy ice cream, farm tours, kids activities and more.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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