David Rockefeller, Sr., made a generous gift of the Peggy Rockefeller Farms (PRFs) to COA in January 2010, to be used in perpetuity for agriculture and conservation. The gift of the farms was accompanied by an endowment to help cover costs of management, maintenance and repairs.

PRFs manages 45 acres of organic farmland, certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), and raises certified organic fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, broilers, turkeys, pasture and hay, as well as pasture-based beef and lamb.

The farm encompasses 125 acres of historic farmland with roughly two-thirds of the property covered in second-growth forest or wetland. Acadia National Park administers conservation easements on the entire property. The farm lies within the Northeast Creek Watershed, which is monitored closely by the US Geological Survey for nutrient loading.

Energy and ecology

Under COA’s management, PRFs have installed solar panels that generate all of the electricity used on the property; planted fruit trees and raspberries near the farmhouse; analyzed soil quality and limed the pastures; established a vegetable garden along Norway Drive; drilled a new well; repaired fences and gates; conducted an energy audit of the farmhouse; conducted forestry surveys and created a forestry management plan; and developed plans for farm management options and a report on the potential for agroforestry.

Currently, Peggy Rockefeller Farms have a small flock of Romney and Katahdin sheep. Funded through a seed grant, students are implementing their plans for rotational grazing with cattle, sheep and chickens; an ecologically managed orchard that will demonstrate agroforestry and silviculture; crop production in the fields and in hoophouses; and compost production to recycle farm and food residue.

The farm will install additional solar panels to meet its growing needs and offset on-campus use of electricity. COA intends to make the farm net renewably powered within two years.

Student opportunities

COA students have the opportunity to design and participate in independent and group studies, work-study jobs, and final projects that involve PRFs and nearby Beech Hill Farm. Select courses in Farm & Food Planning and Farm & Food Projects Tutorials offer students opportunities for applied, credit-approved coursework.