The $589,300 start-up grant will make COA’s Peggy Rockefeller Farms self-sustainable
MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, ME – College of the Atlantic (COA) has received a $589,300 grant from David Rockefeller as seed funding for Peggy Rockefeller Farms, one of the college’s laboratories for understanding and experimenting with the human ecology of food systems. The grant will aid in the development of a demonstration center for COA’s Sustainable Food Systems while acting as a resource for members of the Maine community who want to learn about sustainable food production.
“The Peggy Rockefeller Farms meant a lot to our mother and to our family,” said Neva Goodwin, daughter of David and Peggy Rockefeller. “We are delighted to know that through our father’s generosity and support, COA will be able to preserve and share her legacy through this innovative program that will benefit the college and the whole MDI community.”
Peggy Rockefeller Farms, which were gifted by David Rockefeller in January 2010, consist of 125 acres divided among four parcels of land that are part of the largest remaining contiguous area of pasture on Mount Desert Island. The contribution will help PRF fulfill its main goals for expanding the project: 1) raise organic crops for the COA dining hall; 2) create an orchard demonstrating ecological practices, agroforestry, and silvopastoralism; 3) raise livestock in a multi-species rotational grazing system; 4) be a net energy producer through a mix of renewable energy technologies; 5) offer research, educational, and outreach opportunities for the island and region; 6) achieve financial sustainability; 7) restore and sustain the quality of the farmland at PRF; 8) become a resource and model for other colleges and small farmers; 9) create a positive work environment for students and staff.
PRF expects to serve over 800 people annually from MDI, the region, and the state through COA courses, community workshops, outreach, school groups, community members, partner colleges and universities, and local and regional farmers. Through potential collaborations with agricultural organizations in the state and across the region, COA will create mutually beneficial and cost effective networks. PRF 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.
About College of the Atlantic
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more information, visit www.coa.edu.