US (ME): Student, aquaponic farmer with 22 employees awarded

At a special luncheon in early May, President Clayton Rose of Bowdoin College presented six seniors with awards to celebrate their personal achievements and contributions to the College.

Inaugurated in 1997 by Bowdoin President Robert H. Edwards, the President’s Award recognizes a student’s exceptional personal achievements and uncommon contributions to the College. The student’s actions demonstrate particular courage, imagination, and generosity of spirit; and they benefit the atmosphere, program, or general effectiveness of the College.

Trevor Kenkel, a biology and economics major, is the founder and president of Springworks Farm in Lisbon, an organic aquaponics business and a model for sustainable agriculture. He runs his farm while pursuing his studies at Bowdoin, earning him this descriptor: "part scientist and entrepreneur, part environmentalist and farmer—and full-time Bowdoin student."

Trevor Kenkel with President Rose

Kenkel has grown Springworks into the largest aquaponics farm in New England, employing twenty-two people and supplying organic lettuce to more than 130 customers, including Bowdoin College, UMaine Orono, Colby, and thirty Hannaford supermarkets.

Biology professor Barry Logan, who has spent time working with Kenkel at the farm, describes his student as a “collaborator” who “works really hard to create an extraordinary balance” between his classes and his impressive business venture. And a former proctor of Kenkel's praised his “warm-heartedness, willingness to welcome others, and his ease with conversation.”

Read more about the other winners here.

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