College of the Atlantic pursues excellence through the use of regional resources, waste diversion...College of the Atlantic pursues excellence through the use of regional resources, waste diversion, renewable energy, and sustainability-focused academics.

College of the Atlantic lives and breathes sustainability. The tiny school located in Bar Harbor in Maine only has an enrollment of around 360, with about a hundred living on campus, and awards bachelors and masters degrees in just one subject—human ecology—so it’s not especially surprising that the Princeton Review has placed CoA at the top of its “Top 50 Green Colleges” listing every year since 2016.

Still, maintaining such a level of commitment, especially in an era when many other schools have embarked on their own intensive sustainability initiatives, takes some effort, but CoA has the institutional culture to do that. Established in 1969 as the first college in the U.S. specifically founded to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment and the first college in the country to become carbon-neutral (in 2007), CoA pursues excellence in areas like the use of regional resources, waste diversion and renewable energy as well as its sustainability-focused academics.

A big part of the sustainability success story involves the very local product sourcing made possible by the school’s two farms. Beech Hill Farm is a 73-acre certified organic farm that includes six acres of fields in vegetable production, three small heirloom apple orchards, pastureland for pigs and poultry and five greenhouses, while the 125-acre Peggy Rockefeller Farms operation raises grass-based beef and lamb and certified organic pastured poultry, as well as a mixture of certified organic fruits, berries, vegetables and mushrooms.

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