Bard College meeting to discuss $190 million loan agriculture plans

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. >> Bard College will conduct a public information meeting Monday on a $190 million loan project that integrates existing agriculture activity on campus with academic programs that will be house in a new science building.

The session is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the George Ball Lounge in the Bertelsmann Campus Center on Annandale Road.

“We’ve started doing a lot of work in sustainable agriculture,” college spokesman Mark Primoff said. “We have the Bard Farm, we have the Montgomery Place Farms, we have actually hired people in the food service to coordinate sourcing of our … fruits and vegetables in particular for our dining service. What we’re trying to do now is integrate this into a larger program of sustainable agriculture and food service that would be really integrated into Bard’s mission.”

Under the plan there would be 34,000 square feet of space added to the campus through construction of a three-story building next to the Rose Science Building and an expansion of the Kline Dining Services Building.


“This is not just to support the science of agribusiness,” he said.

“Sustainable agricultural would be defined here as locally and regionally based small to mid-size agriculture and how it interacts with food consumption and food sourcing for individuals and institutions within the Hudson Valley,” he said. “That’s where the sustainable part comes in. Is that the agricultural enterprise is providing the food on an interactive basis with their local buyers and their local sources.”

The public hearing is required because Bard College will be seeking to support the program and construction through a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.

Primoff said current agricultural programs have been in place for about six years, with college officials recognizing the importance farming has in helping people finding their roles in the world.

“It’s not just at an academic level because another part of it is we’re bringing to the community and having it be part of outreach,” Primoff said. “This is not just a little hermetically sealed program to talk about agriculture. It is intended to actually reach out into the community and to provide support and services to community members, to other institutions, to people involved in agriculture in the Hudson Valley.”

Primoff added that the program is an outgrowth of student project intended to demonstrate the important of agriculture.

“This (Bard Farm) started as a student-driven project and it’s become one of our most popular programs on campus,” he said. “Students love being involved with the farm, they love selling the produce, and we have also created a food stream from our own farm to our dining center.”

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Editor’s note: This story was amended on Aug. 27, at 6:07 p.m. to clarify the program is asking for a loan and that it is “not just to support the science of agribusiness.”