The Preserve at Vassar

The first 200 acres of the Preserve at Vassar were purchased in 1895 in order to better manage the College’s waste. Filtration beds were created, which both improved sanitation and increased crop yield. In 1911, 300 acres were granted by Augustus and May Elton Davies. At this point, the farm included “a model dairy and poultry farm, greenhouses, stables, storage barns and farm houses… [It] produces vegetables for the college table, and grain and fodder for the cattle and poultry. The dairy supplies milk and cream for the college from a tested herd of Holstein cattle (1918-19 Vassar College Catalogue)”. During World War I and World War II, Vassar students aided the farm by chopping wood, milking cows, plowing fields, and hoeing the rows. Because women were not typically doing the same tasks as men at this time period, “the Vassar Farm Unit was invited to present a ‘live exhibit’ at the Eastern States Exposition, a ten-state agricultural fair, and five girls were excused from class for ten days to demonstrate their farming skills at the fair (https://farm.vassar.edu/history/)”. 1950 marked the end of the use of the farm for food due to cost. In 1976, 275 acres were established as an ecological preserve for conservation and research and in 1978, the first field laboratory was installed and a trail system was established. Today, 416 acres comprise the preserve.

Click here for the Farm’s brochure.

Click here to visit the Farm’s website.