UACES Facebook Design to house Center for Arkansas Farms and Food wins national architectural award
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Sept. 23, 2020

Design to house Center for Arkansas Farms and Food wins national architectural award

U of A System Division of Agriculture

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — An architectural design to house the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center received top honor in The PLAN Awards 2020. The international design awards program is sponsored by The Plan magazine.

4_Class Section_Center for Farm and Food
DRAWING BOARD — A design from the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design to house the Division of Agriculture's Center for Arkansas Farms and Food won top honors in the 2020 PLAN Awards. (Art courtesy of the Community Design Center)

The Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship design ( won the Education category for future projects. The PLAN Awards highlight projects in urban design and planning, landscape architecture, architecture, interior design, product design and transportation engineering.

Center for Arkansas Farms and Food

CAFF is a service center of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. It uses division research and outreach to support local food entrepreneurs and increase small farm viability, said Heather Friedrich, program manager in the division’s department of horticulture.

Division of Agriculture faculty and staff manage CAFF programs in partnership with Northwest Arkansas Food Systems. “We envision a vibrant and diverse farm and food economy statewide,” Friedrich said.

Two cornerstone CAFF programs are the Farm School, which begins its inaugural class in January 2021, and the Farm Apprenticeship program, Friedrich said. The apprenticeship program begins its second season in the spring.

The programs focus on small and mid-sized farms, specialty crop production and local markets in northwest Arkansas, Friedrich said. Both programs are open to anyone from any area of Arkansas.

Registration is underway for both programs, Friedrich said. Registration ends for Farm School on Oct. 30 and for the Farm Apprenticeship Program on Dec. 15.

“Our goal is to increase the number of farmers and farms in Arkansas, improve farm viability and support our local food systems,” Friedrich said. “The objective is to get local foods on local plates. That’s good for farmers, and it’s good for consumers.”

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Winning design

More than 1,000 project entries from more than 460 architecture and design studios from around the world were submitted across 21 main categories in this year’s PLAN contest. Winning projects and other honors were determined by a 10-member international jury.

The Community Design Center is an outreach program of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Steve Luoni, who directs the center, is also a Distinguished Professor and the Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies at the university.

The center’s winning project was designed to house CAFF’s immersive farmer training program that models new concepts and technologies in farming, Luoni said. Located on the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville, it will also be a public facility for hosting gatherings that support and celebrate value-added food products.

“The Center for Farm and Food System Entrepreneurship will enhance farmer education in a state where the average age of a farmer is 58, while helping to create a larger value-added food economy alongside the state’s commodity food supply chains,” Luoni said.

“The center will be the public face of agriculture where farmers and the public meet,” Luoni said.

“The Community Design Center design is a beautiful space with the aesthetic of a traditional Ozark barn yet meeting the multifunctional needs of a modern training center,” Friedrich said. “The facility was designed to accommodate our field production needs with post-harvest processing and storage as well as our training and outreach needs with a classroom, meeting and event spaces.

“We look forward to one day building the facility as a landmark and home for the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food,” Friedrich said.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Media Contact: Fred Miller
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
(479) 575-5647

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