And the McKay Agricultural Research Station

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Working with local farmers at our McKay Agricultural Research Station, students in our capstone agriculture class are testing methods for production of greens in the winter. Researching methods to cut labor costs, our students built a inexpensive shop-vac seeding machine that plants 3,000 seeds per hour!
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In December 2013, Unity College was gifted Half Moon Gardens in Thorndike, a multi-faceted greenhouse operation. Additional assets also a part of the donation include: a Kubota tractor; a Wadsworth curtain and controls; solar panels and tanks; and other necessary farm equipment and tools.

The facility will serve as a direct extension of the 225 acre campus, providing the community with both educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. The donation of Half Moon Gardens will help the College develop and model replicable solutions for environmental challenges, in addition to creating a marketplace presence to serve the community. Students will learn invaluable business management and administrative skills necessary to operate a successful agricultural business. 

A team is being put together to develop an implementation plan for Unity College to establish the McKay Agricultural Research Station.  After renovations and facilities are made, the McKay Agricultural Research Station would provide the Unity College community with both educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.  As a center for innovative projects and research, challenges faced by rural agricultural enterprises in New England will be addressed including energy costs, compensation for agricultural workers, a challenging climate, and sparse population density.  

The gift, along with five years of financial support, was given by Isabel McKay and Rick Thompson, and is the second largest cash gift donation in the College’s history. 

More About Half Moon Gardens and the McKay Agricultural Research Station:

  • The property is located five miles from Unity College
  • There are five green houses and one hoop house
  • The land comprises twenty acres including a 
nine-acre field 
  • There is one residential dwelling 

Half Moon Gardens Unity College