Beech Hill Farm and COA

College of the Atlantic’s Beech Hill Farm is a working farm growing fresh vegetables and raising meat for COA and the wider community.  Collaborative work and planning between Beech Hill Farm and the kitchen is helping COA to “close the loop,” forming a more sustainable system of food production and consumption.In addition to providing locally and sustainably raised meat and produce to COA, Beech Hill Farm operates a seasonal farm stand, offers a CSA program, and sells to local markets and restaurants. 

Beech Hill Farm provides educational opportunities to COA students and community members through our workstudy program, independent projects, class visits, events and workshops. 

Our mission

Beech Hill Farm produces certified organic food for COA and the Mount Desert Island (MDI) community, while using methods that maintain the integrity and health of the land, and work toward environmental and economic sustainability. Beech Hill Farm is a base for understanding agriculture as a central concern of human ecology for College of the Atlantic students and faculty. 

Our history

In 1989 COA alumni Barbarina Heyerdahl ’88 and her husband, Aaron Heyerdahl ’87, founded Beech Hill Farm. Barbarina designed the original farm plan for her senior project while at COA. She and Aaron successfully ran and operated the farm for 10 years until donating it to the College of the Atlantic is 1999. COA has since then been developing this unparalleled opportunity to preserve working local farmland and create a hands-on educational resource for students, farmers, and community members.

Conservation easement

The Heyerdahls granted a conservation easement on the property to Maine Coast Heritage Trust in May, 1999. The purpose of the easement is “to provide a significant public benefit by protecting and preserving the highly scenic and open views of and across the protected property enjoyed by the public from the Beech Hill Road; and to prevent the conversion of open lands on prime agricultural soils to development or other land uses that would limit their productivity and availability for agricultural uses in the future.”