Story posted April 21, 2011
Forty students ditched their physics homework and donned their rubber boots and bandanas for farm work during Eco Service Day. With this year’s theme being A Day on the Farm, Bowdoin students participated in tasks that varied from pruning apple trees and cleaning eggs to spreading hay and planting seedlings. Milkweed Farm and Crystal Spring Farm of Brunswick, Bowdoin’s Organic Garden, the Morris Farm in Wiscasset, and Two Coves Farm in Harpswell all welcomed the weekend farmers.
“It was such an amazing experience,” said Adrienne Hanson ’14. “Learning about the different vegetables and herbs that the Bowdoin Organic Garden grows and actually having the opportunity to begin that process [by] planting seeds in the greenhouse, reinforced how cool it is that some dishes in the dining service actually are made of Bowdoin grown ingredients.” The April 16 event marked the 10th anniversary for Eco Service Day, and the theme coincides with Bowdoin’s “Meet What You Eat” Campaign, which encourages students to explore local agriculture.
According to the 2007 USDA Agricultural Service, the number of small farms in Maine has seen an increase in the past decade. Farms like the ones Bowdoin students visited are part of that trend. Laura Grady, of Two Coves Farm, explained that she and her husband, Joe, purchased their present farm in Harpswell three years ago when it was slated for a housing development. The farmland is once again used for grazing belted galloways and one gregarious lamb named Rudolpha. Like the Grady Family, the increasing popularity of local agriculture comes from younger Mainers (and more broadly, Americans) who are interested in restoring a connection to the land. Whether the Eco Servicers were convinced to start their own farm or not remains to be seen. But for Adrienne Hanson and others, the experience exposed them to the idea. Says Hanson, “I will definitely be volunteering more at Bowdoin's Organic Garden.”
“It was such an amazing experience learning about the different vegetables and herbs that the Bowdoin Organic Garden grows" -Adrienne Hanson '14