497-317: The Recombinant Farm: Reimagining the Farm as a Mixed Use Development Enterprise

Meeting Days/Time
Mondays 10:00 am to 12:40 pm
In collaboration with a Pembroke, Illinois farm and Genesis Agriculture
Bob Pontarelli (ID) (bob@cbarts.com)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Social Innovation

This is a farm project with stakeholders who are located 70 miles south of Chicago in Pembroke Township, regarded as one of the poorest in Illinois. The farm owners have joint-ventured with an urban agriculture education and training not-for-profit, Genesis Agriculture, of Orland Park, Illinois.

The term “recombinant” is introduced because a farm, given current food prices, may not so much thrive as just survive on its own historical merits, with its success only as good as its broader partnerships and affiliations. A total of 18.5 acres is planned to be devoted to the following mixed use development program:

  • Heraldic Gateway
  • Farm+Nature Interpretive-Educational and Community Center
  • A new house for the owner, who will be joint-venturing with the Genesis Agriculture
  • A new house for the farmers, a husband and wife who will also be managing the entire site
  • A communal food prep and dining facility
  • A pavilion atop an existing hill on the site, overlooking the farm (which might also be suitable for formal ceremonies such as weddings or spiritual functions)
  • Cottages for rent but also for seminars for visiting farmers and other trainees.

Given the proposed program, the IPRO team will develop a conceptual layout of the farm to recommend where various activities and resources may best be located, including: open land farming, hoop-houses, greenhouses, apiaries, mushroom huts, animal paddocks (chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits), vermiculture and compost bins, machine and tool storage, water, power, and marketing/signage. It is also envisioned that the site will integrate renewable energy and storage technology.

The IPRO team goal is to conduct research on the site and understand what is proposed, develop a conceptual plan and program, and deliver a proposal to the joint-venture group. The IPRO team will gain first-hand experience in developing a real site proposal from scratch, including development of a preliminary budget directly related to the program elements. This IPRO should have broad appeal to students majoring in architecture, business, engineering, biology and social sciences.

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