Unity Food Hub, Brunswick

The Unity Village School was built in 1898. From its completion until its closing, the three-room Village School was the largest grade school in Unity, reaching a peak enrollment rate of 161 pupils after the baby boom. In 1953, the town erected a new and larger elementary school across the street from the Village school.

After closing, the building remained vacant for 6 decades.  It was the victim of vandalism and had fallen into serious disrepair. The brick foundation had severely deteriorated, causing damage to the interior features.

In 2013, recognizing the vacant rural schoolhouse’s potential, The Maine Farmland Trust bought the building to give it a new life as the Unity Food Hub. State and federal historic tax credits were used to help make the project financially viable. 

The foundation was repaired by raising the building so a new foundation could be poured with enough depth to accommodate additional usable space in the basement, which now exists as storage space containing three large walk-in coolers, a freight elevator, to the loading dock, and rear doors. It also created retail space in one of the front classrooms, event space in the second front classroom, and a kitchen area in the rear classroom.

Nearly all of the original windows were rehabilitated and returned.

Many original interior features such as the beadboard walls, wainscoting and ceilings, hardwood floors, and molded window and door trim were also retained in the property.

The Unity Food Hub now functions as a space for gathering, food workshops, community activities and a space for local farmers to meet and distribute their produce. Rehabilitating the previously vacant and deteriorating schoolhouse into a food hub made the building a productive community space where local farmers and the community can interact while maintaining the historic fabric and story of a rural schoolhouse.