Center for Sustainable Living to Open March 2011 in Falmouth

Contact: Doug Babkirk at 712-1414 or

Unique UMaine initiative to engage children, families and communities in year-round educational programs

FALMOUTH, Me. — The University of Maine Regional Learning Center plans to open in March of 2011 at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth.  The center will offer sustainable living education programs for children, families and home-based business owners in the region. It will occupy a 5,000-square foot space in the Tidewater Village office condominium complex next to Tidewater Farm. The construction of the interior space will include UMaine Extension offices and a large meeting room for public, non-credit programs. The center will also house the southern Maine offices of University of Maine’s admissions, development and foundation. Land at Tidewater Farm will be used for public teaching and demonstration gardens.

The innovative public-private partnership among the University of Maine, the Cumberland County Extension Association and the Tidewater Conservation Foundation will focus on teaching youth and adults how to grow healthy foods for good nutrition; teaching life skills through 4-H programs for urban, suburban and rural youth; and teaching adults how to start and sustain natural resource, home-based businesses.

“This is a unique opportunity to benefit from an historic saltwater farm situated within an hour of half of Maine’s population to teach area youth and adults how to live more sustainably,” says Bill Lunt, president of the Tidewater Conservation Foundation.

UMaine Extension’s partnerships with Cumberland County government, the University of Southern Maine, Southern Maine Community College, and area businesses and community groups will continue at Tidewater Farm.

“At Tidewater Farm we will expand our partnerships with area schools, non profit groups and businesses in helping build healthy families and communities that rely on a vibrant regional agriculture and economy to sustain them,” says Doug Babkirk, associate director of UMaine Cooperative Extension.

Participants in Cultivating Community and SMCC Sustainable Agriculture programs grew vegetables at the Farm this past summer.  The plan is for USM students to begin learning on adjacent land next year.