4 Roots Regenerative Urban Farm Campus

Orlando, FL

The project community as well as the nation and world at large are plagued by a broken food system that is not nourishing people or our planet. This food insecurity is also embedded in our climate crisis and the way the built environment impacts our carbon future. We are facing too many hungry children and too many diet-related illnesses. For the first time, our children will have a shorter lifespan due in part to illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. In addition, there are too many chemicals imposed upon our living systems. 98% of the farms in the United States are chemical-dependent. 0.1% of pesticides reach pests, the rest pollutes our ecosystem. Tragically there is too much food waste. Despite 41 million Americans lacking consistent access to food, 30% of the US food supply goes to waste every year.

This project sits at the nexus of two very disparate communities, one affluent and more secure, the other underserved. This client seeks to address these issues head-on with a project that will begin to grow a healthy, sustainable regional food system whose built environment reduces the carbon and greenhouse gas impacts that are creating a world in crisis. The results would realize more children nourished by food grown locally. An end to childhood food insecurity in the community, with kids connected to fresh local produce. Farmers thriving in harmony with nature. Local farmers making an honest living doing what they do best, growing food, and being good land stewards. Food that is valued, not wasted. A community that knows where their food comes from, choosing food that is local and seasonal and the local economy prospering. Our community supporting local food businesses – from growing to distributing to preparing and serving.

The campus education building is a 7,700 sf mass timber facility that is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge criteria and significantly reduce both the embodied and operational carbon footprint of the built environment on the farm campus. The design process was filtered through a regenerative lens which resulted in solar and water collection systems sized to provide excess resources beyond the building demand. The immersive learning spaces provide flexibility to layout in orientation and allow for the classrooms to slip outside and extend learning into the farm campus.

The building envelope significantly reduces air infiltration/exfiltration allowing for the elimination of redundant mechanical system sizing to address unknown leaks in the exterior skin. Rainwater is captured and utilized to flush toilets and irrigate the permaculture landscaping around the building edges. Glazing systems are optimized to reduce glare while harvesting daylighting improving the cognitive functions of the building occupants.

Version History
  • Project uploaded by Melanie Hawley on 12-08-2021
  • Project last updated by Taylor LeBlanc on 03-20-2024
Project Details
  • Year Built


  • Number Of Stories


  • Bldg system

    Mass Timber

  • Sq. Meters


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  • Material Types:

    Mass Timber
    Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)
    Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)
    Hybrid (wood with steel or concrete)

Project Team
Version History
  • Project uploaded by Melanie Hawley on 12-08-2021
  • Project last updated by Taylor LeBlanc on 03-20-2024
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