Ene and I met a new old friend over breakfast on our last day in Maine. Andrea Read is the founder of the Newforest Institute, located outside Brooks, a charming crossroads town about ten miles inland from Belfast. She invited us for an impromptu tour of the site on our way to Boston, and we met at a newly reconstructed, historic house that serves as the Institute headquarters and housing for student interns. The project consists of three linked properties totalling about 300 acres, combining town frontage with fields, forest and edible gardens. Andrea has ambitious plans to demonstrate principles of Permaculture on a large scale. She poetically considers the project a ‘land-based community restoration’.
We strolled the property surrounding the house with Andrea and her sprightly eight year old, Jack, and discussed how to convert the existing barn into a thriving ‘beehive’ of a design studio. I plan to talk to Andrea about the possibility of introducing a coppicing operation as part of my desire to develop a regional chair for Coastal Maine.