Bowdoin Grows Its Organic Gardens, Acquires 19-century Barn

Bowdoin is planning to create a new organic garden on campus to add to its plots on Coffin Street and Pleasant Hill Road.

The new garden, which will be phased in over the next two summers, will provide salad greens and other vegetables to the dining halls. Sara Cawthon, Bowdoin’s organic garden manager, anticipates that the convenient location of the new garden on Harpswell Road will draw in more student volunteers who can pop over to weed or help prepare seeds in between classes.

In addition, the new plot comes with a 19th-century barn that can be used for storage and as a spot for events, such as talks on agriculture and sustainability or farm-to-table dinners. The garden will be one-third of an acre, located behind the former Stevens nursing home, which is being renovated into a new LEED-certified upperclass residence hall.


  1. Congratulations upon this acquisition, Bowdoin! it’s one more important step to encouraging students (not to mention the broader college community) to link organic and agrarian principles and practices to their everyday lives. Even more literally, it’s food for thought. To the extent that local needs can be supplied by local sources, incorporating the help of the people, the community will flourish.

  2. Jeanette MacNeille '78 says:

    Well done. While Bowdoin always provided great food, to focus on local and organic food is a step up. Because this site is so close to the College, carbon footprint for transportation will be small, in addition to very fresh greens.

  3. Scott Marcantonio '01 says:

    Wow, this is outstanding. It opens up many opportunities for students to learn about where their food comes from. Beyond that, it also lends itself to learning and practicing saving seeds, cultivating landraces adapted to the local environment, and preserving the harvest through drying, canning, fermenting, etc. Perhaps some chickens, goats, or especially bees could be added in the future if it becomes popular. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to sell surplus seed grown on campus in the bookstore; there are definitely people who would like to grow a piece of Bowdoin in their home garden. Full disclosure, I pinched a couple of day lily seed pods off a plant in front of Hyde dorm several years ago and there are two offspring doing quite well down here in New Jersey.

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