From the beginning there has been a sense of “If you build it, they will come” around the Copake Agricultural Center. Two hundred acres of prime farmland now home to five young farmers, housing, barns and a greenhouse, all on the flats of Copake— where a few years ago a housing development had been proposed but roundly rejected by the town.
It all came together in less than two years; 18 proposals from throughout the Northeast were winnowed down to yield three new farms.
Yet the process was by no means easy, or clearly destined for success. At one meeting of investors this year most of the questions had been spinning around where things could go wrong. Then a question from Ed Herrington, owner of Herrington’s Lumber, shifted the focus from fearing the negative to expecting the positive.
“But what if it works?” he asked simply, and for Director Bob Bernstein, the question cut through the background noise and dispelled any lingering doubts.
Copake is a hamlet ready for new life. Over the past few decades, economic downturns and a series of arsons changed the face, if not the heart, of this once-thriving farm and summer community.… Read the rest