Our New Site - River Bend Farm
About the Property
We have done a lot for the 160,000 individuals who have participated in our programs over the years; however, we know that a much deeper impact is possible. The River Bend Farm Project will allow us to realize our goal of creating a living laboratory where students and community members are immersed in ecology education. Students will be empowered to harvest their own produce, share it during family style meals in a net-positive dining commons, and realize that a truly sustainable future is within reach.
- 1794 Farmhouse
- 1840s Barn
- Historic cemetery
- 1/2 mile of frontage on Saco river
- 101 acres with 8 distinct ecological zones to explore: oak/pine forest, silver maple floodplain forest, young hemlock forest, white pine plantation, riparian zone/hardwoods, upland mix, pasture/hayfield, mixed wetland
- 20 minutes from current site
Why We're Moving in 2019
Since our first residential program term in the fall of 1999, it has been our mission to teach ecology and practice sustainability. It has become increasingly apparent that in order to fulfill our mission and meet our organizational needs, we need to expand beyond what our current site can provide. After our lease ends in December 2018, our new home at River Bend will provide many opportunities to fulfill our mission far beyond what we have been limited to in our current rental capacity:
- Building new dormitories that meet Living Building Challenge™ standards will realize the potential for 365 residential days a year, ensuring our primary program tuition revenue is viable yearlong.
- Developing an innovative Agroecology program will invite participants to immerse themselves in the story of their food, from planting to harvesting to food preparation. With Food Systems being such a critical element to our curriculum, we are excited to expand beyond our current demonstration garden and provide at least 50% self-raised or locally grown food to our dining hall.
- Minimizing our ecological footprint and incorporating principals of sustainability into all aspects of our programming have always been priorities for us. Our new site will enable us to build green buildings, engage more advanced systems for reducing our impact (e.g. compost, grey water systems, permaculture-inspired design, etc.), and incorporate the land into every aspect of our programming.
- River Bend Farm boasts eight unique ecological zones and a variety of wild flora and fauna. We are also excited to expand upon our current community partnerships to utilize off-site locations to continue our salt marsh, beach, dune, and tide pool lessons, and increase our current work with local schools to help address curriculum needs and foster environmental stewardship and community engagement.