Common Ground Education Center
About Our Facility
- building orientation for solar gain and use of local materials.
- a flat-plate solar wall on the structure that houses water tanks for the sprinkler system in the main building. The system keeps the temperature above freezing even during frigid Maine winters, when it takes advantage of snow reflection.
- a flat-plate solar wall on the south side of the main building that pre-heats water and pumps it to a 1500-gallon insulated water tank which serves the general heating system.
- a ten-kilowatt Bergey Excel wind generator atop an eighty-foot tilt-up tower.
- a grid-tied 11.7-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array installed on MOFGA’s 200-year-old red barn.
Orchards – MOFGA’s orchards celebrate and preserve our heritage of tree fruit diversity, demonstrate innovative polycultural orcharding, and regenerate soil vitality. The Maine Heritage Orchard is a ten-acre educational preservation orchard with more than 300 varieties of apples and pears traditionally grown in Maine. We are adding more varieties each year. The collection includes varieties from all 16 counties in Maine dating back as far as 1630. Until recently, many of them had been on the verge of extinction. This undertaking is all the more inspiring for the amazing transformation of its setting – a reclaimed gravel pit. MOFGA also manages two orchards on the main campus of the Common Ground Education Center, which visitors approach almost immediately upon arrival through either the Rose (north) or Pine (south) entrances. The North Orchard showcases apple varieties with Maine origins. The South Orchard contains a mixture of tree species – apples, plums, pears, cherries and peaches – and is typical of a small farm or home orchard. The North and South orchards serve as demonstration sites, and have market garden beds running between the rows of trees. The orchards are an important part of our educational programming and are used for teaching pruning, grafting and organic orchard care.