History: 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 farms consist of 125 acres divided among 4 parcels at the junction of Crooked Road and Norway Drive in Bar Harbor, Maine. The gift of the farms was accompanied by an endowment to help cover costs of management, maintenance and repairs. The properties include a Cape Cod style farmhouse; a heated garage; 3 barns and several animal shelters; and a small out-building with electricity, water and heat.

The farms are part of the largest remaining contiguous area of pasture on Mount Desert Island. They have prime agricultural soils suitable for cropping, livestock, orchards and other uses. Two-thirds of the property is covered with second-growth forest or wetland. Acadia National Park administers a conservation easement on the farms. The property is in the Northeast Creek Watershed, which is monitored closely by the US Geological Survey for nutrient loading.

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.

The Farms and College of the Atlantic

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. Peggy Rockefeller Farms work study positions are available along with ongoing volunteering opportunities.

Contact INformation

C.J. Walke
Interim Farm Manager
Peggy Rockefeller Farms
Norway Drive
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

Get involved

Peggy Rockefeller Farms work-study positions are available during the academic year, along with volunteering opportunities.
Contact C.J. Walke cwalke@coa.edu for more information.