press release - KVCC Farm Harvest 2014

Public Relations | Press Releases

 

Release date 12-11-14

 

KVCC Farm produces more than 6,800 pounds of produce in its first full year

 

Hinckley, ME – The 2014 harvest is in for the Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) Farm.

The KVCC Farm produced 6,875 pounds of fresh produce with a value of nearly $20,000 in its first full year of operation, according to figures compiled by the College.

Approximately 3,000 pounds of that produce with a value of more than $8,800 was donated to food pantries through the Mainers Feeding Mainers program. More than 1,700 pounds were donated to students and farm employees for their personal consumption, to the KVCC culinary kitchen for instructional purposes in the Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts program, and to the campus café.

Small amounts of additional produce are still being harvested from unheated high tunnels at the Farm, and storage crops will be distributed throughout the winter, but for the most part the growing season is at an end, according to Katherine Creswell, Farm Manager for KVCC.

The numbers are impressive given that this was a start-up year for the KVCC Farm with the amount of acreage under cultivation limited, and that instruction rather than production is the focus of the 120-acre facility, which serves as a working laboratory for KVCC’s Associate in Applied Science degree program in Sustainable Agriculture. After its first year, the academic program now enrolls 24 students with capacity to educate many more. 

“We are thrilled at the level of our farm's productivity in our first year,” KVCC President Dr., Richard Hopper, said. “The team of students led by our Farm Manager Katherine have developed open fields, constructed greenhouses, grown seedlings, planted a wide array of vegetables, harvested them, and processed them. Students are learning how to extend Maine's short growing season for maximum productivity. I am very proud of their accomplishments in one short year. Our students are gaining concrete skills through valuable hands-on experience that they will apply in the workplace or on their own farms upon graduation.”

This year included many milestones for the KVCC Farm, which became active again in 2013 as the College began the process of reclaiming acreage that had lain fallow for a decade and refurbishing buildings that had not been utilized or maintained for many years.

Land has now been cultivated, fences and livestock added, a historic barn completely refurbished and improved, infrastructure updated, and new structures including high tunnels and a greenhouse added. Additional improvements including a welcome center, field classroom, vegetable processing and storage area, and animal handling area are planned in 2015. The KVCC Farm was also certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) earlier this year.

The infrastructure upgrades, equipment, and materials have been acquired thanks to support from a U.S. Department of Labor grant, as well as other grants from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Morton Kelly Charitable Trust, Maine Community Foundation, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Jane's Trust.

The KVCC Farm is central to the College’s culinary and agriculture programs, which have been developed with a strong farm-to-table focus. The range of programs in this area will grow as KVCC expands its operations at the Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley, where a new 16,500 square-foot Sustainable Agriculture Building will open in January.

KVCC is one of seven community colleges in Maine that operate under the authority of the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees. KVCC is a public, non-profit, post-secondary institution supported in part by State legislative appropriations and federal funds.

The College offers more than 35 programs of study ranging from two-year associate degrees to certificates, as well as a comprehensive schedule of continuing education courses and business and industry outreach programs.

For more information on KVCC go to www.kvcc.me.edu.

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