About

Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment is on a mission to transform our relationship with farming and food for a healthier planet.

Situated on over 600 acres of preserved coastal landscape in Freeport, Maine, we use our diverse landscape to connect people of all ages to the food they eat and where it comes from. Encompassing a demonstration farm, oceanfront campground, wooded trails, and historic buildings, our vibrant campus serves as a unique hub for education and exploration.

As a nonprofit, Wolfe’s Neck Center draws upon a rich history of innovation and experimentation to continue the legacy of this place today. Through regenerative farming, innovative soil health research, and visitor interactions, the land is used as an educational resource to create a healthier planet for all. We hope to inspire active participation in a healthier food system and build a community of people who care deeply about the future of food.

Our History

Freeport residents and area locals may remember Wolfe’s Neck before it was the award-winning campground, demonstration farm, and nonprofit educational center that it is today…

Situated on four miles of coastline just minutes from Freeport’s downtown district, the 626 acres of preserved scenic landscape hosts thousands of visitors each year, but is rooted in the Smith family legacy and their early vision for its use.

Early Years

Wolfe’s Neck Farm was the creation of LMC and Eleanor Houston Smith, summer residents from Philadelphia, who began an organic beef operation in the 1950s.  The farm was intended to demonstrate how to save Maine’s dwindling meadows and pastures, its crops and animals, its open spaces and unblocked sea views. Together they were committed to the future of Maine farming, to the new idea of organic agriculture, to conservation and the preservation of open space, to public access to the sea, and to the preservation of historic buildings and sites.

A History of Innovation

Essential to this were new techniques, new equipment and a new approach to the land itself–an approach that included environmental education, recreation, and historic preservation, as well as new economies. They would not compete; they would be part of an ecological whole. The Smiths pursued methods that encouraged sustainable agriculture without chemical pesticides. When Mr. Smith passed away in 197, Mrs. Smith – whose lifelong interest in conservation and ecology had included helping to start both Nature Conservancy and the American Farmland Trust – continued the farm with enthusiasm.

The farm was given to the University of Southern Maine by Mrs. Smith in 1985, with the approval of her children who co-owned some of the land. In 1997, Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation assumed management of the Farm as a nonprofit community resource. The Smith family legacy lives on today and guides us with renewed purpose and a sense of urgency.

Historic Preservation Across Wolfe's Neck

In the late 1950s the Smiths started an organic beef farm, putting together a series of 19th century farmsteads, which has since become the collection of historic structures that Wolfe’s Neck Center continues to operate out of today. Historic buildings include the current farmhouse offices on the main campus, the 1890 post-and-beam Mallet Barn, the Banter House at the corner of Burnett and Wolfe’s Neck Road (restored in 2014), and the Pote House and Barn (restored in 2017).

Read the 2020 Newsletter

Read up on what’s happening at the farm and campground this year, from community programs that connect you to food and farming on your visit, to new research projects on our fields, and more. Meet our apprentices, and hear the voices of staff and board members who work each day to support our mission. See how you, too, can support our work with a membership or donation.

Meet our Team

 

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