The Bowdoin Organic Garden is a student-initiated project that began in 2004. A group of Bowdoin students including Joel Cartwright, '06, Lauren Withey, '06, Liz Hoering, '06, Rose Kent, '06, Tristan Noyes, '05, and Elliott Wright, '04 started planning for a garden at Bowdoin their freshman and sophomore years, and spent time drumming up support from professors, the Deans, the Sustainable Bowdoin Office, Dining Service and Facilities.
They secured land through the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and began a collaboration with Seth Kroeck of Crystal Spring Farm, who was new to the area and just starting his CSA. The first growing year was the summer of 2004, when these six intrepid students began digging in the dirt armed with little more than enthusiasm and $800 from a Maine Initiatives Harvest Fund grant. Their hard work soon paid off as the first harvest, including 700 pounds of cucumbers and 800 pounds of tomatoes, started rolling into the summer dining hall. Dining Service continued providing planning and logistical support, and put the farmers on the payroll.
During the 2004-2005 academic year, Joel and the other students began petitioning for a full-time garden manager position to provide continuity and longevity to the program and alleviate the strain on the student farmers to start seeds, pack up dorm rooms, and take finals all at once. They were successful, and in August of 2005 a garden manager was hired, fully supported by Dining Service. The position, now in its 10th year, runs from March-November, with the student BOG club taking over activities during the winter months.