Name: Bedner Farms
Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33473
of Completion: November,
Architect: Jeffrey Brophy, ASLA, Land Design
Bedner Farms, Inc.
Contractor: Master Gardners
demonstrates that innovative land use policies and site design can achieve a
symbiotic balance between natural, agricultural and built environments. This was achieved by the Landscape Architect leading
a collaborative effort between government agencies and community groups to set
new rules and regulations to create a first of its kind 'land use' that centers
on agri-tourism and sustainable agriculture practices.
is a way of producing food that’s healthy to eat, doesn’t harm the environment,
creates a safe work place, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer
and promotes a more intimate involvement with food purchases, encouraging
consumers to interact with those who cultivate, grow and ultimately sell the
produce. This unique agri-experience provides the availability of fresh, local
produce, while ensuring the preservation and commercial viability of farmland
through education and community involvement.
The 80 acre Bedner
Farms, family owned and operated for over 50 years is located within the Palm
Beach County Agricultural Reserve (AR). The original intent of the AR was to
encourage the preservation of farmland.
Through the years, changes to County policies have allowed for the
encroachment of development into the AR resulting in a dramatic reduction of
farmland. As pressure for available land
continues to grow, attempts have been made to further diminish the AR policies
to allow for continued development.
order for farming in the AR to remain a viable business and not be influenced
by the pressures of development dollars, the Landscape Architect developed new land
use code and design regulations that 1)
Preserves farmland in perpetuity; 2) Provides a retail opportunity for the
farmer to sell locally grown produce to the public; 3) Offers educational
opportunities and community events that further supports the conservation of sustainable
farming in the County.
The Bedner Farms location is
unique in that it is nestled directly adjacent to the entrance of the 221 sq.
mile Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
Many species of wildlife within the refuge travel across and through the
farm including alligators, otters, egrets, ibis and herons. To reduce the environmental impact to the
site, the design and construction of the commercial market was purposefully
placed as far from the refuge as possible. This location allowed the farm to
create a focal entry point for the public to visit without an impact to the
Preservation considerations also
led the Landscape Architect to design a minimum site size, utilizing only what
was needed to adequately support the market in order to maximize the amount of preserved
farmland. The retail development area therefore
represents only 8% of the total land area of the farm. The remaining land will now be preserved as
active farmland. The Landscape Architect
designed the site to have active rows of crops close to the retail market for
ease of public access and to solidify the concept that farmland and the retail
market can and should interact with one another.
From a design perspective
the Landscape Architect focused on maintaining the rural theme of the farm through
the use of wide, native planted buffers, extensive use of flowering trees and
shrubs and the creation of public open space areas for community gatherings. An authentically constructed Seminole Indian
Chickee Hut was designed to allow for covered gatherings, as well as providing
a space for educational opportunities. Pervious
surface areas were kept to a minimum to lessen water run-off thereby increasing
Open gathering spaces, ADA accessible
walkways and thematic directional signage allows the farm to engage the community
in events at the farm. School and community tours take students through the 80
acre farm and describe the agricultural history of the area and educates on the
importance of sustainable farming. Tours
include a visit to the neighboring wildlife refuge where students learn how the
balance of natural and built environments is being achieved. The farm also hosts popular community events that
include seasonal 'u-pick' days, weekend and holiday family activities, field
gleaning and outreach programs.
Bedner Farms is a project that preserves
farmland, conserves sustainable farming practices, educates the public, and
provides for a community gathering space while securing the financial viability
of the farm. It is a proven example of how
a Landscape Architect can be the lead professional in a collaborative effort of
planning and design, successfully achieving a balance between diverse environments
Public Planner: William
Beach County Zoning Department