By Cheyenne Vaughn ‘17
Since Bennington College converted a sheep and cow stable into the iconic, academic Barn in 1932, an abundance of barns have been built on campus, but none of them for agricultural purposes. This year the Bennington Sustainable Food Project (BSFP) is trying to fix that.
The 640 square foot barn will be built at the Purple Carrot Farm and will not only provide dry storage for tools and seeds, but also “a permanent and beautiful space for the college and wider town community to come together and learn,” adds student Lauren Brady.
The idea originated with the farm interns, Brady remembers, and then was brought to the farm group and the BSFP in the fall term: now, less than a year later, the barn has already received approval from a civil engineer.
Although there won’t be a barn-raising this term, the farm group and the BSFP are starting to gather materials. Buildings and Grounds, which has given its support to the project, is donating salvaged materials: lumber that has been felled and milled on campus will be used, as well as salvaged windows and slate.
Designs for floor plans began last term and, although the plans have yet to be finalized, work parties with Buildings and Grounds carpenters and staff have begun—primarily to prep the dusty window frames that will be repurposed after having sat in disuse, says student Cleo Zars.
Initial construction will begin this summer and probably extend into the fall, Zars explains. “It will be a huge educational opportunity for anyone that’s interested, so we’re really hoping to work with a lot of people on campus.”