New food pantry opens on UMF campus

FARMINGTON – A new resource for students at the University of Maine at Farmington has opened on campus this week, offering a swap system of used clothes and a no-questions-asked food pantry.

The Thrifty Beaver, initiated by the Sustainable Campus Coalition, opened last year with used clothes in exchange for a donation to the wardrobe. The concept continued this year with the added the benefit of a food pantry for any students, or staff, who may not be able to afford the price of a meal plan. Click to read more.


 University of Maine Farmington celebrates new biomass facility

Outside a wood chip storage room, University of Maine Farmington Director of Facilities Jeff McKay, left, explains the process of using wood chips to produce energy to Tom Bissell and others on a tour of the UMF Central Heating Plant on Sunday. FARMINGTON — The Biomass Central Heating Plant opened Sunday on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington.

The official opening of the largest biomass hot water heating plant in Maine celebrated sustainability and what thinking locally and buying locally means.

“This energy fits into the local, regional and economic landscape,” said Luke Kellett, UMF’s sustainability coordinator and assistant professor of anthropology. “Visitors can understand how the journey of a single cut tree that is chipped, is carried in a truck, is stored in the bunker below here and eventually gets burned and turns into a hot shower for a freshman at UMF.” Click to read more.

UMF student creates initiative to reduce food waste and hunger

Catherine Dufault sorts through crates of vegetables, rice and Beef Stroganoff recovered from the Aramark dining service at UMF, as part of the UMF chapter of the Food Recovery Network she established to reduce food waste and help the hungry in Franklin County.

FARMINGTON — University of Maine at Farmington student Catherine Dufault considered taking her senior year courses online instead of returning to campus after the upcoming December break. But her passion for reducing food waste and helping the hungry encouraged her to stay.

“I wasn’t done making a difference in this community yet,” Dufault said. Catherine Dufault sorts through crates of vegetables, rice and Beef Stroganoff recovered from the Aramark dining service at UMF, as part of the UMF chapter of the Food Recovery Network she established to reduce food waste and help the hungry in Franklin County. Click to read more.

UMF boasts a ‘sustainable future’ as biomass project reaches halfway mark

Jeff McKay, left, director of facilities management at the University of Maine at Farmington, and Luke Kellett outside the biomass central heating plant site near the campus in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Amid the dust, dump trucks and construction clatter, a vision of a sustainable future is being brought into reality on the University of Maine at Farmington campus.

On a former parking lot tucked into the back of campus is the key to UMF’s path to becoming the state’s first public institution of higher education to heat its campus almost entirely with a sustainable energy resource in the form of a biomass central heating plant. “This biomass plant offers a very important milestone in our renewable and sustainable energy journey on the UMF campus,” Luke Kellett, coordinator of UMF’s Sustainable                          Campus Coalition, said.  Click to read more.

Farmington Compost Cooperative Making Progress

FARcompostP092415aFARMINGTON – A little more than year in, and a cooperative venture between town, state and university is already starting to see some serious waste.

But there’s always room for more. The Farmington Compost Cooperative grew out of one of first casualties of Sandy River Recycling’s Association’s scale-down: the elimination of its popular composting program in December 2013. The association would dissolve in June 2014, but not before Tom Eastler, a professor at the University of Maine at Farmington and a member of the planning board, approached its executive board about having the town acquire the composting component of SRRA’s operation. Eastler then went to the Farmington selectmen, suggesting that a coalition of volunteers could be formed to reopen the site. Read more here

UMF breaks ground on biomass heating plant

The University of Maine at Farmington has broken ground on new biomass central heating plant.
University of Maine at Farmington

The University of Maine at Farmington broke ground on a new, eco-friendly 5,885-square-foot biomass central heating plant at 9 a.m. May 26 at the University parking lot near the intersection of Perkins and Quebec streets. The event was free and open to the public.

Biomass is an innovative, renewable, locally-sourced fuel obtained from plant-based materials, typically woodchips in Maine. Aligning with the University’s emphasis on environmental stewardship, the plant is expected to replace 390,000 gallons of heating oil now used to heat the buildings through individual systems and is projected to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by 3,000 tons a year. Click to read more.

Forum at UMF Explores Natural Gas Alternatives


FARMINGTON — Word that Summit Natural Gas of Maine will be unable to meet a deadline for bringing natural gas to Franklin County provided the backdrop Wednesday when community members   gathered at the University of Maine at Farmington to discuss alternatives. Read More Here



UMF named ‘Great Affordable Eco-Friendly College’ by Best Choice School
The University of Maine at Farmington has been named a Great Affordable Eco-Friendly College by Best Choice Schools, an online educational resource. The site recognizes schools that feature “unique structures or lifestyle characteristics that make them leaders in sustainability,” while also costing less than the average of what one would expect to spend on a year of college.Read More Here

Another successful “Trash Day” highlights UMF’s continued success in sustainability


FARMINGTON – Curious students gathered just off South Street Wednesday morning, as members of the Sustainable Campus Coalition tore into trash bags after donning masks, gloves and their senses of humor. “Anyone care for a gingerbread cookie?” one student asked, holding up a rather battered specimen. Trash Day has become an annual event at the University of Maine at Farmington. Organized to raise awareness about recycling, composting and waste reduction, the event consists of UMF SCC members collecting and cataloging all the garbage produced within a 24-hour period in the campus dorms. Click here to read more

Local foods movement growing; GMO labeling law in Maine proposed:

DSC_00102 FARMINGTON – There’s progress in the local food movement with farmers now looking to expand their operations because they’re running out of food at the markets, while others are finding creative ways   around barriers to the local market. That and other ideas were part of a daylong panel discussion held at the Grange to promote a sustainable local food system in western Maine. Click here to read more.


Keeping UMF Sustainable

natalia-sustainability-300x225Many exciting things regarding sustainability are happening at UMF this year as the Sustainable Campus Coalition works intensely on different projects. Dr. Lucas Kellett received appointment as the new sustainable coordinator. He has many plans for the campus, the students and the community as he tries “to develop a reputation that UMF is a place where sustainability is important,” said Kellett. Click here to read more.

Trash Day 2012

FARupcycleP101812b FARMINGTON — Gloved hands sifted swiftly through bags of trash Wednesday, finding paper, disposable cups, foil-lined granola-bar wrappers and uneaten food that could have been recycled.For the fifth year, members of the Sustainable Campus Coalition at the University of Maine at Farmington rummaged through bags of garbage collected over a 24-hour period in campus residence halls. Click here to read more from The Sun Journal or The Daily Bulldog.