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Maine Local Living School: An Educational Homestead
This land, hilly and rocky, was once hunting and trapping grounds of the Wabanaki peoples who farmed corn, beans, and squash on the nearby floodplains of the Sandy River. The homestead is the heart of our facility and the physical source of all our buildings and well-being. There are forests and bogs, managed sugar maple and chestnut groves, goat pastures, fruit trees, berry plantings and gardens.
The classroom is an octagonal timber-frame that houses our workshop, academic space, library, indoor kitchen and community gathering place.
Our “dormitory” is inspired by Cree design. The Cree people build a conical home out of hundreds of peeled spruce and fir trees which are then covered in birch bark and sphagnum moss. Participants sleep in the lodge (made cozy by the woodstove that they learn to tend) and maintain the traditional balsam bough floor.
All human waste is combined with other organic matter in a thermophilic composting system- the compost pile can get hot enough to pasteurize milk! The toilet has no smell and transforms waste into a safe and valuable resource.
The greenhouse, set into the ground, captures and stores solar energy for cold-season greens production. Kale salad in January!
Greenhouse & Solar Dehydrator
Ice is cut by hand in February and stored surrounded by sawdust for insulation. The captured energy and gift of winter keeps our ice-boxes full throughout the spring, summer, and fall!
This ingenious piece of “appropriate technology” utilizes the inherent temperature and humidity of the earth to store root vegetables and cabbage through the long winter. Imagine making a coleslaw in May from a cabbage harvested in October!
We have two large canvas-sided tents with wood stoves for warmth in the cooler months.
Gardens are ever-expanding! We grow all the basics with an emphasis on roots for storage and the “three sisters”: corn, beans and squash. Thank you, First Peoples, for passing on this gift.
Participants harvest spring water, well water, rainwater and pond water, each for a different purpose. Without plumbing, participants connect with the gift of water as it flows through their lives. The School is situated between two mountain streams and three ponds.
Goats and ducks are an integral part of Maine Local Living School's ecosystem. Participants take part in all elements of animal husbandry in which they are interested, from milking to pasturing to butchering.
Barn & Animals
In warm weather all cooking is done in our outdoor kitchens using hyper-efficient rocket stoves and open fires. The outdoor kitchens are open-air spaces to cook, eat, preserve food, make kimchi and enjoy each other's company.
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