BAR HARBOR — The potential benefits of a commercial-grade, community kitchen at College of the Atlantic’s Beech Hill Farm will be explored in a brainstorming session on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m.
All interested community members are invited to bring their ideas to the meeting, which will take place in the Turrets building on COA’s Eden Street campus.
Increasing the amount of local food offered in COA’s dining hall is a key objective in COA’s new strategic plan. Farm managers at Beech Hill Farm and Peggy Rockefeller Farms have pointed out that there is a lot of food going to waste – bruised apples, blemished tomatoes, wilting basil – that could be turned into value-added foods and supplied to the campus community.
However, the school currently does not have a licensed kitchen to process these foods. They also do not have sufficient freezers and root cellars, which would add months of shelf life to produce and meats. Peggy Rockefeller Farms are producing a decent amount of poultry for the dining hall and currently driving to Gouldsboro to get the chickens processed. Facilities for this type of work also would greatly benefit the school.
College officials are wondering who else in the Mount Desert Island area might be interested in using a commercial kitchen facility. They would like to know if the community would be interested in workshops or personal use, if there are farmers in the area that could make use of such a kitchen, and if they would be duplicating services that already exist.
COA officials are aware that their costs for running the college’s two farms are offset by philanthropy and institutional assets. They are always looking for ways to try to give back to the community. Programs such as Share the Harvest provide produce from Beech Hill Farm to food pantry clients. The potential for a shared kitchen is being viewed as another way of being a good community partner.
There is no need to RSVP for the meeting, just come by with your thoughts. Anyone who can’t come to the event but would like to be involved, share your ideas with Lynn Boulger at [email protected]