June 18, 2018
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College of the Atlantic farm on MDI gets money for food, energy programs

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — A farm acquired four years ago by a local environmentally-focused college is getting several hundred thousand dollars to help it develop and promote sustainable practices for using energy and producing food.

Peggy Rockefeller Farms, a 117-acre property on Mount Desert Island donated in 2010 by David Rockefeller Sr. to College of the Atlantic, has received two financial donations in the past two months.

Rockefeller gave College of the Atlantic $589,300 in February to support development of a sustainable food systems demonstration center at the farm.

Last month, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations donated $200,000 to the college to develop renewable energy demonstration projects at the farm.

Since the college acquired the farmland, located in Bar Harbor at the intersection of Crooked Road and Norway Drive, college officials have been working to turn it into a working laboratory for sustainable agriculture practices. Among the objectives for the property are:

— Raising organic crops and livestock for College of the Atlantic students and staff.

— Eliminating the use of fossil fuels in farm operations.

— Developing and using renewable energy resources.

— Creating and maintaining an orchard.

— Offering research, education and outreach to other institutions, farmers and others outside the College of the Atlantic community.

— Making the farm’s operations financially and economically sustainable.

In a prepared statement, college officials said there is hope that Peggy Rockefeller Farms “will serve as a resource and model for those who want to learn about sustainable farming and how to transition to a post-petroleum food system.”

College officials anticipate that more than 800 people will interact each year with programs offered through the farm, such as educational courses, community workshops, school visits, and other types of outreach and collaboration.

“The Peggy Rockefeller Farms meant a lot to our mother and to our family,” Neva Goodwin, daughter of Peggy and David Rockefeller, said in a news release. “We are delighted to know that through our father’s generosity and support, [College of the Atlantic] will be able to preserve and share her legacy through this innovative program that will benefit the college and the whole MDI community.”

David Rockefeller Sr., 98, is the only surviving grandchild of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller and a billionaire whose family has owned property and summered on MDI for more than a century.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., were named after and funded by a former president of the aluminum company Alcoa, who died in 1962. It awards grants in support of education, health care and public television.


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