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Redesigning the Future

Field Lab Management Areas

University of Rhode Island Landscape Architecture 2012 Senior Studio

Table of Contents Richard Sheridan Forward | 4 Acknowledgments | 5 Agricultural Model: Isolated State | 6 Farm Resource | 7 Land Grant Institution | 11 Agro-Ecosystems/ Connection | 12 East Farm | 18 Peckham Farm | 34 Skogley Turf Farm & Gardener Agronomy Farm | 50 Summary | 66 Work Cited | 68







When looking at the future of the Field Lab Management Areas (FLMA) at the University of Rhode Island one begins to see the parallel to the States need to develop and repurpose valuable open space. Exploring the role of the FLMA allowed our class an intimate view into the functions of the University’s farms and research labs. These entities provide a valuable service that often goes unseen. As the student enrollment increases, these lands that provide value and experiences to the student body and community is in jeopardy. An increase in student body correlates to an increase in revenue for the University, but there is a fine line between the resources that we extract and those that we need to save. We believe that the farmland and field lab management

areas are a necessity for the future growth of one of the quintessential land grant universities in the United States. The diverse scope of the operations throughout the FLMA brought about the marriage of many different ideas and perspectives. As we move forward in the analysis phase, we see how these issues beset each other. As a team, it allowed us all to explore our different areas of expertise and design accordingly. The final product was a patchwork of concepts which touched on research, transportation, regionality, sustainability, clean energy production and was based on the idea of integrating and connecting these systems into the future of the University.

Without the help of the people below this project would have never reached its full potential. Ben Thurston Brian Mainard Brianna O’Connor Catherine Weaver Dr. Alm Dr. Casagrande Dr. Evan Preisser Dr. John McGuire Dr. Marian Goldsmith Dr. Mather Dr. Scott McWilliams Ivette Banoub Jared Sell Jessica Irey Liz Handscom

Matthew Fountaine Matthew Palin Matthew Smith Michael Doucette Nicholas Thadeio Olivia Beane Professor Sheridan Rebecca Brown Rebecca Little Rick Rhodes Ryan Menges Sean Condon Shane Scott Shannon Rawley William Blount 5

Agricultural Model- Isolated State WILDERNESS

Ranching/Animal Production Field Crops Forest Intensive Farming, Dairy Production Urban Market Center WILDERNESS

In 1826 Johann Heinrich Von Thunen a farmer and economic geographer used what he called the Isolated State Model to layout a functional system of agriculture and production as they related to 19th century Europe. His model postulated that the related systems in the graphic above were unimpeded by geographic disturbances. This was in order to reference transportation cost to a fixed coefficient as travel and production related to the ‘urban center’. Though this model keyed its information on abstractions and assumptions it was the first of it kind in the process to establish an organized system of agricultural production in a growing urban landscape of the pre industrialized continent of Europe. The information gleaned from Von Thunen’s postulations was the staging ground for what is now known as Location Theory. Though this Von


Thunen’s theory has led to much debate about its true measure of efficacy due to the assumption mentioned prior the development of these models were the beginnings of how modern society has moved forward through industrialization. Adapted models more specifically aimed at integration within regional variables from large to small scale are used today to help production of materials from agricultural products, industrial products, conservation biology, and as we will begin to see community connections and development. An adapted model of the Isolated State Model can be seen in our countries Land Grant Institutions.

Farm Resource Regions The birth of the megalopolis forced even greater changes to the Thunenian Isolated State Model. Enter the Macro-Thunenian concept of appreciating geographical data as it relates to food production where not just the city center and the outlying region was looked at but rather the continent as a whole (H.J. de Benji, 2010). The United State agricultural systems are forever in a state of adaptation so is this pressure for change with an ever-increasing popula

tion in a finite space. Farmland in the U.S. has gone from a multitude of small independent farmerships to the state we see today where less than 1% of the population lives and works on farms. (H.J. de Benji, 2010). Agribusiness has adapted due to constant pressure from globalization and the need to compete in multiple global markets. The map below is the most comprehensive look at farm resource regions to date and was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better understand the role population, transportation, and available land plays in this ever-evolving system of agribusiness.

Heart Land Most Farms of U.S. Farms

Northern Crescent Most Populated Region 5% of U.S. Farms

Prarie Gateway 2nd in production of Wheat, Oat, and Barely 13% of U.S. Farms

Eastern Upland More Small Farms than any Region 15% of U.S. Farms

Basin and Range Largest Area of Non-Family Farms 4% of U.S. Farms

Northern Great Plains Smallest Pop. with highest amount of farms 5% of U.S. Farms

Fruitful Rim Biggest Share of large and very large family farms 10 % of U.S. Farms

Southern Sea Board Mix of Small and larger Farms 11%of U.S. Farms

Mississippi Portal 5% of U.S. Farms

Map adapted from H.J. de Blij, P.O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons,Inc


Farm Resource Regions-The Northern Crescent Most Populated Region - 15% of U.S. Farms - 9% of U.S. Cropland

Northern Crescent

Industrial Revolution Manufacturing Belt

Map adapted from H.J. de Blij, P.O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons,Inc Northern Crescent Most Populated Region 5% of U.S. Farms

Prarie Gateway 2nd in production of Wheat, Oat, and Barely 13% of U.S. Farms

Eastern Upland More Small Farms than any Region 15% of U.S. Farms

Basin and Range Largest Area of Non-Family Farms 4% of U.S. Farms

Northern Great Plains Smallest Pop. with highest amount of farms 5% of U.S. Farms

Fruitful Rim Biggest Share of large and very large family farms 10 % of U.S. Farms

Southern Sea Board Mix of Small and larger Farms 11%of U.S. Farms

Mississippi Portal 5% of U.S. Farms

Heart Land Most Farms of U.S. Farms

The Northern Crescent is a portion of the greater United States Agroecosystem that holds the largest number of the countries population and is tied with the Eastern upland for its second largest share of U.S. farmland percentage. This area is inextricably linked with the founding of our nation and the population boom and expansion rooted in the proliferation of the Industrial Revolution. Management of the spatial economy is essential to the forward positive progression of our country. We see the ever present need for the integration of population expansion with preservation of land for open space, food production, general health, and well being. The Northern Crescent represents an area of primary concern and interest in this report. We are beginning to realize the way we have adapted our agricultural practices to an


expanding world market that may not be in coalescence with the greater ecological processes of nature. It can be said that the introduction of these macro-farming schemes has produced a surplus of food while degrading the very systems that are the key to longevity and the future survival of productive farmlands. The need to assess these systems has long been on its way. As noted in the map provided previously a Macro vision of the U.S. agricultural lands is well documented. Using this information as a tool we begin to reassess the Von Thunenian method of the isolated state by understanding larger systems as they relate to transportation, access to fuel, productive farmlands, and major cities. Focusing back in on not just a region but into a subset of that region and ecosystem we begin to see the emergence of regional Agro-ecosystems.

Farm Resource Regions-Rhode Island Rhode Island Cash per Agricultural Endeavor Percentages 2007 RI

Agriculture Land Re-Purposed for Development 1982-2007 Chart adapted from USDA National Resource Conservation Services Chart adapted from USDA National Resource Conservation Services

Greenhouse, Sod, Nursery 63% United States 2%

New England 10%

Rhode Island 22%

Vegetables 11% Other Crops 6%

Rhode Island is known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. In 1790 Samuel Slater built and opened the one of the first modern factories in the United States. During the proliferation of the Industrial Revolution over one thousand such manufacturing facilities were built from textile, jewelry and metal fabrication.

This explosion had negative repercussions on the productive coastal farmlands of Rhode Island. An estimated 80% reduction in farmlands has been documented from the beginning to the end of the 20th century (www.Rhodyag. com). Recently we have seen a similarly precipitous decline as noted in the chart above.

Fruits 6% Milk 5% Livestock Poultry 7% Aquaculture 2%


Farm Resource Regions-Rhode Island The population of Rhode Island is roughly one million and counting little of the actual food grown in state is consumed by Rhode Islanders according to a report produced by Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation. As little as 10 percent of the vegetables and fruits consumed in the surrounding area are produced here and

less than half of the dairy products. Though these numbers seem paltry a growing demand for locally produced products has been on the rise. Land Grant Institutions like the University of Rhode Island combined with the progressive planning from the Rhode Island Agricultural Partnership can help raise productivity, awareness, and aim.

Horticulture Food

Farm to Consumer Sales Chart adapted from USDA National Resource Conservation Services


The University of Rhode Island- A Land-Grant Institution On July 2, 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill’s Land Grant Act, which gave each state thirty thousand acres of public land. The proceeds were to be used for at least one college for scientific and classical studies, military tactics, agriculture, and mechanic arts for a liberal and practical education of the industrial classes for pursuits and professions in life. The Hatch Act of 1877 which was established and funded within each Land Grant institution helped Rhode Island by providing people with information on agriculture, scientific investigation and experimentation in the subject of agricultural science. In 1892 the University of Rhode Island began as the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural School. By 1977, the Land Grant mission included “alternatives to fossil fuels, human nutrition and food consumption, environmental problems, aquaculture, renewable resources, home economics, energy conservation, forestry, climate, needs of farmers and their families on small farms, animal diseases, crop improvement,

food processing, and marketing. More recently modifications of Land Grant federal programs have focused on urban agenda problems with children, youth, and families” ( The three main goals of the University of Rhode Island as a land grant institution are: education, research and extension. A land grant university is a steward of the environment, making sure the national health of the people and the conservation of global ecosystems and natural resources are kept in order. The outreach part is meant for extension to the laboratory, classroom and beyond the walls of the university. In 1998 the Farm Bill was passed for the USDA with a greater focus on outcome-funding so stakeholders could be involved with the research side. Today there is a stress for sustainability: to learn new techniques that are more ecologically sound and transfer those ideas and knowledge to the public. The University of Rhode Island as a Land Grant College has worked with the time expanding and adapting to the needs of the college, community and country.



The adaptation of the University of Rhode Island Farm Lab Management Areas is a synthesized model of the studies of our macro agroecosystem. By expanding our view and understanding how greater systems work we found it easier to isolate an approach that would connect the University into the matrix of the larger whole. Our concepts have evolved from a system of static measurements of community, regionalism, and necessity to provide a dynamic integration on a small scale 12

that enhances value to URI and the surrounding areas. By taking into account accessibility, technology, connections, and viability to provide a more sustainable and contemporary approach to managing micro agro-ecosystems. It is our intent to start a dialogue with the University, farming community, and the state of Rhode Island to better mitigate the future needs as they relate to food production and development.






Agro-Ecosystems can be better understood as carefully developed management plans of agricultural lands that take into account energy flow, environmental factors, regionalism, and ecological connections. Understanding these systems is crucial as we move forward as a Society, one beset by so many compounding problems. A better sense of the way we develop land and produce food is not

only an immediate by-product of embracing this management system it is integral to our future. Under the umbrella of agroecology lies a more productive and efficient system that can potentially integrate into current production methods and become a factor in changing the Agricultural paradigm that we find ourselves in today.


Selectively Harvested Forest Trails 14



Research/Learning/Open Space:


Golf Course

Farm Stand Classroom Hydroponic greenhouse growing Paths through open space

Commuter rail and station connecting to underground/above ground parking lots. RIPTA stations for pedestrian ease

Organic and sustainable Student run v berries and trees throughout


Apple Orchard


Vegetables and grains grown for campus dining halls and public farm stand


“Are described as purposefully designed and well managed landscapes for the growing of food that have their own ecologies and provide their own ecosystem services.” -Sally Augustin A variety of apples grown for public picking and eating


Forest Farming

k Tra Am




Native ornamentals:

• rhododendron • forsythia • flowering dogwood

Other products:

(mulch, decoratives, crafts, dyes): • pine straw • willow twigs • vines • beargrass • ferns • pine cones • moss


• pawpaw • currants • elderberry • serviceberry • blackberry • huckleberry

Medicinal herbs:

• ginseng • black cohosh • goldenseal • bloodroot • Pacific yew • mayapple • saw palmetto


• black walnut • hazelnut • hickory • beechnut

Other food crops:

• ramps (wild leeks) • syrups • honey • mushrooms • other edible roots

North Woods Walking Trails

Agronomy/Turf Farm

Agro-Forestry Loop

Flagg Rd. ak Tr Am Flagg



Pla ins

Rd .







Selective harvesting to clear trail systems provides valuable connections

University of Rhode Island

RT. 138

Bonnet Shores



Kingston, RI

Grad Village

8 RT. 13 RT. 138

250 0

750 500

Scale 1’=250’ 1000

East Farm

RT. 108

Biscuit City

South Rd.

Rd. Biscuit City

RT. 1 10

Kinney Gardens

Potters Woods

Using existing corridors such as easements connects the University to the community and provides valuable linkages to the Field Lab Management `Areas.

lia Wil m C.


eil O ’N


e Bik h Pat

Peckham Farm

National Grid

National Gri

d bike path



ement bike path eas




Agro-Ecosystem FARM





Research/Wind Turbines


Wetland Restoration

Public Walking Trails and Open Space

Public Garden

Research and Public Interface





FIELD LAB MANAGEMENT AREAS Connections, argoecosystems


Proposed Bike Path Connections` 16

Agro-Ecosystems “Are described as purposefully designed and well managed landscapes for the growing of food that have their own ecologies and provide their own ecosystem services.� -Sally Augustin


Public Walking Trails and Open Space

Public Garden


Research and Public Interface











Research/Wind Turbines



Commuter rail and station connecting to underground/above ground parking lots. RIPTA stations for pedestrian ease

Research/Learning/Open Space: Farm Stand Classroom Hydroponic greenhouse growing Paths through open space

Golf Course

Organic and sustainable Student run v berries and trees throughout






Wetland Restoration




Vegetables and grains grown for campus dining halls and public farm stand


Apple Orchard A variety of apples grown for public picking and eating



Public Walking Trails and Open Space

Public Garden


Research and Public Interface



Scope of Work


ast Farm is the smallest farm as far as land percentage, 86 acres, of the Universities F.L.M.A. but it makes up for its lack of acreage in the diversity of site users. Located just over a mile from the heart of the University of Rhode Islands Kingston campus the research area is a hot bed of environmental research. It has been affectionately dubbed the front porch of the University due to its location on a major arterial connection from the coastal community of Narragansett. The location and nature of the research conducted on campus lends to the idea that it could become a significant arm of the University. The implications of a redesigned East Farm are vast. Through careful analysis and understanding the many players that call this area home, the scope of a redevelopment plan


for the farm was far reaching. The pixilated nature of the buildings on the farm and its less than affirmative prominence from passing traffic lead the design group down a path of reprogramming the existing layout to provide a more structured environment, while eliminating the sprawl of the aging buildings. By raising the structures that were in a state of disrepair and refocusing the program towards a central LEED certified building at the entrance of the farm the design intends to offer East Farm as the literal front porch of the University. A place that can perform research, interact with the community, provide conference space, and folds the intrinsic beauty of the site into a functioning farm that showcases the importance of the Farm Lab Management Areas.

EAST FARM MASTER PLAN sity /Univer search ic/Re l b u P

ls/Publiic ssiona Profe lied l a / h earc Res


rch esea s/R nal o i ess rof dP ll ie A

h arc ase Re / c i bl

Example Architecture SCALE 1”:150’


Site Users By analyzing site user information we can gain an understanding of which stakeholders are within this site and what they are currently working on. Information was gathered from the East Farm and Field Laboratories document to better understand the diversity of programs on the site. The Hemlock study area is currently being used to conduct research on the interaction of the elongate hemlock scale and the hemlock woolly adelgid. Dr. Evan Preisser has 100 5-6 ft. hemlocks planted in this area. A Lily Leaf Beetle study area is conducted by Dr. Casagrande, he uses this study area to research biological controls for the lily leaf beetle. A Deer Tick study area is conducted by Dr. Mather and Dr.


Alm who selected four sections of the East Farm woods to conduct research on least-toxic deer tick controls. Demonstration Trial and Rhododendron Gardens are used by Dr. John McGuire who conducted trials on winter hardiness and disease resistance of rhododendrons in this area. Dr. Scott McWilliams uses portions of the East Farm Woods as well as the crab apple and fruit orchards to mist net various species of migratory songbirds for his studies on bird nutrition and migration. Adjacent to the crab apple, chestnut, and pinetum, there is a mulberry planting that is used by Dr. Marian Goldsmith to feed silkworms used for molecular genetics studies.

Site Users Fisheries and Fish Pathology This building is being used by Doctor Marta Gomez-Chiarri, Doctor Joe DeAlteris and Doctor Eric Scherer (Southern RI Conservation District). Dr. DeAlteris maintains a laboratory facility in the building for his research in fisheries conservation engineering and fish stock assessment.

Master Gardeners Greenhouses Master Gardener greenhouses are used to produce ornamental and food production plants for the Spring Festival and the annual poinsettia sale.


Plant Sciences Center

This building is being used by Dr. Terry Bradley and several graduate students to conduct research on genetically engineered fish species as a food source. The building is also used to teach aquaculture and fisheries courses. It contains tanks of Atlantic salmon and trout.

This building is primarily used as meeting and office space. Dr. Alm and Peggy Siligato use the classroom space to conduct the Federal and State mandated Pesticide Safety Education and Risk Management Education Programs with a multitude other users.

Entomology Field Laboratory

Master Gardeners Field House

This building is primarily used as office and laboratory space for Dr. Steven Alm. It is a base for the Pesticide Safety Education Program, turf and ornamental entomology research, and teaching (insect taxonomy, turf and ornamental insects, fruit culture practicum).

Fisheries Center This building houses the Fisheries Science and Technology Program. It is currently occupied by Dr. Kathy Castro, Barbara Somers, Laura Skrobe, Christopher Parkins, Tom Puckett and Najih Lazar.

This building serves as the headquarters of the URI Master Gardener Program and its foundation. The building is one of the most used on the farm in that a number of nonprofit “green� groups use its meeting facilities.

Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association This building is currently being used as office space by Director Shannon Brawley, Sallie Sirhal and the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA).


Visual Analysis

Categorizing the developed spaces allowed distinguished characteristics to present themselves. The intrinsic characteristics created a guide of aesthetic backdrops for future development.


Land Use/Habitat

Land Use in Percentages

Forested Area 55.6% Open Space 14.50% Research/Agriculture 28.5% Buildings 1.32%



Soil Development Map

Soil Restriction Map

This graphically represents areas of seasonal high water table (yellow), hydric soils with severe constraints (blue), as well as the areas of moderate constraints to development (green) that are located within East Farm. These constraints will lead for great opportunities to keep the area for ecological education rather than creating more development.

This map represents areas of East Farm that has water that is at or near the surface (blue) where development cannot occur, areas which development is restricted with on-site septic systems (green) are the areas of buildable land. The map also shows areas where the seasonal high water table is 3.5 to 1.5 feet (yellow), areas of significant constraints to development (red) where development cannot occur. These restrictions allows for the process of locating areas where the other field laboratories have the potential to be integrated.

Wetlands and water flow on the site become of key importance when looking at buildable space. Nearly 30% of the site has soils unsuitable for building due to wetlands. The graphic above is a quick mapping system of these areas. Irregular stream beds are formed from

the sand and stone in the soil which are indicative of the Saugatucket watershed. Twelve thousand years ago as the Wisconsin glacier receded the area was formed by the leavings of these glacial tills.


East Farm Gateway

The welcome center is a place to showcase what is happening at East Farm and will provide visitors with a introduction to the East Farm Campus. This space will also provide a node for the bike path that will connect East Farm with the rest of the URI campus.

Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge located in Charlestown, RI


The quad element of the new building complex will allow for outdoor spaces to be utilized by RINLA and the other programs which are to be relocated to the new complex. The quad will feature a learning landscape, which will provide hands-on education opportunities for RINLA members, as well as URI students, and the public. The space will feature an outdoor auditorium, which will function as a meeting and seminar space.

Nodes in the quad walk allow for demonstration areas to be utilized by RINLA and the East Farm programs. 27

East Farm Gateway & Biome The Natural Rhode Island Biome covers wetlands, salt water vegetation and Rhode Island native forestry. This building connects the stewardship building and research lab. The hands on learning style will help involve the community, young and old. The Edible Rhode Island Community Supported Biome covers aquiculture, fisheries, plant sciences and entomology. An underground closed loop rain water system feeds into the biome and is reused into the Aquaculture pond demonstration that runs from inside the biome to the outside demonstration pond. This edible biome focuses on vegetables, fruit and wild specimens native to Rhode Island that are edible. There is also a section for seed starting to help with the CSA Gardens.


Proposed buildings are shown above in orange. Relocating all the buildings together will have a sense of unity on the farm. Total square footage of the new buildings are 32,522 sq. ft.

Existing buildings are shown here. Currently the buildings are located in different areas of the site. This yields more land being used. Total Square Footage of existing buildings proposed to be relocated is 23,614 sq. ft.

A Biome is a complex biotic community characterized by distinctive plant and animal species and maintained under the climatic conditions of the region. These prefabricated Biome buildings blend in with the vernacular of Rhode Island with wooden clapboards but also have solar panels to power the Biome. There are two different types: The Natural Native Rhode Island Biome and the Edible Rhode Island biome Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Garden Plot Area.

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Garden Plots are set plots for garden space where members of the community who do not have time to grow their own food but want to understand the value of locally grown food can. The Master Gardeners tend to them and use the plots for research about new production methods, urban agriculture methods and sustainable methods. There are 152 7’x7’ plots centered on the pond. Biome 29

Trail System With the vast diversity of stakeholders, research and programs at East Farm it is critical to preserve the site and outreach prospects. The Trails at East Farm will provide an educational outreach opportunity while highlighting the ongoing research and natural habitat that East Farm has to offer. Integrating trail systems throughout the 86 acres of the East farm site provides a valu-

able service in the way of creating division through active nodes where research and public can interact without the implication of interference. These trail systems are designed to allow access to areas while gently guiding them from research nodes that need to have as little outside interaction as possible to maintain the integrity of the research.

Trail Concept

Major area of trail integration 30

Education Facility The prefabricated headquarter facility is very open. It has wooden screens to provide an atmosphere of transparency that originated from the glass walls on the opposite side of the house. An uninterrupted flow is created allowing for large gatherings with a connected indoor-outdoor space.

View from the Woodland Wetland entrance trail looking over the New England Aster and Lungwort meadow onto The Trail headquarters and education facility 31

Interactive Community Gardens


Section from one of the boardwalks that weave throughout the site.

The existing Five Acre Field has been re purposed to serve as an interaction space involving the community, the University of Rhode Island and the stakeholders at East Farm. There will be extracurricular clubs, public classes, revenue, and a new program. The new program has the renting of land for gardens for those who do not have one at home, grass research development, games such as crop circles in a corn field. The corn field would help with plant rotation and could be a great place for haunted hayrides in October. On the existing wetland a boardwalk system will be introduced. There is also a hidden observatory tower for research and development of Five Acre Field. This area will bring the community and university together to share the benefits of East Farm.

Five Acre Field Management Plan

Obserevation Tower 33






Research/Wind Turbines


Wetland Restoration



Scope of Work


eckham Farm breaks up its many acres into a multitude of uses. This diversity lends itself well to an expansion and integration of ideas such as research agriculture, research with wind turbines, transportation, community outreach and wetland restoration. When looking at Peckham Farm through a new eye it was important to understand the history of the site. Moving forward we looked at many aspects of the farm including the productivity of its soils, proximity to the University of Rhode Island, watershed connections, and its student work force. This provided a


matrix of understanding as the design team began to intervene. Key aspects of integration began from the front entrance and weaved the site together. Peckham Farm Cafe and Farmers Market will be a window into the University for the community and visitors. It will be connected with a bike trail system that links the existing William C. O’Neill directly to the campus center and to the other farms. Energy production with a wind farm will provide clean energy for the university and community. It will also be a demonstration area for learning about new techniques and technologies.


Land Use/Connections

Pasture 8% CLAF Lab .5% Forested Land 50% Turf Fields 41.5%


Land Use Percentage 36

Soil Map

Existing Conditions

Barn & Silo

Road to Fields

Irrigation Pond

Animals 37

Peckham Café and Farmers Market Peckham Farm will become home to the South County Farmers Market. The new farmers market is 70,000 square foot space of lawn space surrounding for festivals and expansion. Large bay doors open and close depending on the season and allow visitors to wander through the farm and new landscapes. Orchards frame the spaces and provide food for the new café, which is located adjacent to the new market building. This café will be an education facility that shows diners the process and benefits of locally grown products. Guests will have menu choices that feature the produce and dairy harvested seasonally. Students that run this café will utilize Peckham and local farms for approximately 80% of their


product needs. The restaurant building also houses a store that will sell locally grown and produced products. From honey to clothing, this market will be open alongside the restaurant and provide community members the ability to purchase products at any time of the year, not just during the farmer’s market. Surrounding the facility are edible landscapes that diners can walk through and enjoy the produce. From grapes to dill weed, the meandering walks lead guests through a New England landscape with signage to explain how it gets from the ground to your plate and provides opportunities to promote local farming practices.

Tables looking out into Landscape


Peckham CafĂŠ and Farmers Market

Cafe Interior

Farmers Market 40

Night Rendering

Facility Aerial 41

Bike Path Connections Peckham Farms proximity to the existing William C. Oneil Bike Path allows for a viable connection to the heart of the campus the area in red below is the purposed new route for the path. Users would have a beautiful view of the farm as the pedal to their destination. This connection would enhance the path system as well as make users aware of the vast functioning of the farm.

Orchard This orchard has a multitude of functions and benefits. The orchard provides an opportunity for students and faculty to grow and harvest fruit trees. This harvest will be sold to the student-run restaurant and market, and be used for research. It shows visitors how the University of Rhode Island is a green and sustainable campus. The orchard also provides an aesthetic quality to those who drive through the site. As you drive down the road, fruit trees envelop your vehicle and frame the road ahead. These trees give a human scale to the area and accentuate the beauty of the site. 42

The Peckham Farm Center for Sustainable Agriculture was created to give a new space to accommodate all the activities at Peckham Farm. The center will house a classroom that is large enough to accommodate the ever growing animal science programs along with offices for farm staff, 4H, and a outreach center for Peckham Farm to display their new improvements. The center will have a contemporary look that incorporates bits of Rhode Island architecture. On the second story roof there are solar panels that will power the center and help offset its carbon footprint. On the main rooftop their will be experimental roof gardens which will help serve in research for urban agriculture and construction of rooftop gardens. The landscape around the center will be comprised of a experimental rain garden which will filter rooftop runoff along with parking lot runoff and will create better drainage on the site. The rear of the building will house a patio area which will allow students to relax and enjoy the expansive views that peckham farm has to offer.

Outreach Center

Outreach Center 43

View of Rotational Grazing Rotational Grazing



Research Opportunities: Rapid topsoil formation Mixed Species Grazing Organic Parasite Control Organic/grass fed meat production

Research Opportunity: Maple Sugar Mushroom production Draft animals Fuel wood

Advantages: Sun & Wind protection Fuel wood production Rapid topsoil formation Lower labor costs, higher quality meats

In order to accommodate the new Sustainable Agriculture Major and the existing Animal and Veterinary Science Program, we are proposing to reclaim the approximately 200 acres currently in turf production to be used for intense rotational grazing practices. These field laboratories would be of great value for unique educational opportunities, as well as a source of high quality, free range and possibly organic poultry, lamb, pork, and beef. In a rotational grazing system livestock are moved through smaller fields on a daily basis, giving each pasture a chance to rest and then be quickly grazed down again. This type of grazing system is one of the fastest and most effective ways of sequestering carbon and re mediating soils, returning organic matter to the earth, which 44

has been lost over time due to heavy commercial sod production. Other research opportunities would include agro-forestry and silvo-pasturing, the practice of grazing livestock in pastures of trees, either for the production of lumber or fuel wood. The advantages are many, but some of the most important include lower tree limbs becoming a food source for livestock who prefer browsing to grazing such as goats, as well as stabilizing soils, breaking cold winter winds and reducing sun exposure. Other unique research opportunities could include organic hay production, crop production, parasite control research, edible forest plant and mushroom production and the double alley of Acer saccharum provide students an opportunity to experience maple sugar production.

Agricultural Re-Programming Area


This graphic was developed to compare the electrical usage of the University of Rhode Island against the cited wind turbines generated electricity and the savings that could be produced just by the use of wind turbines at the university. 46

Wind Farm

This view looking south into the direction of the new energy building which is tucked behind the double allee of maples. In this view you can clearly see three of the seven turbines. These turbines are 425 feet tall and can produce 4.5 mw of energy per turbine if generating at 100%. At this height there is roughly a 1800 foot to 2000 foot shadow that is cast in early morning and late afternoon. This shadow is subject to controversy due to the shadow of the rotating blade which causes a problem known as shadow flicker which is a flickering of light and dark

caused by the shadow as the it passes over any given location. This shadow can cause whole home and building interiors to flicker like a light being turned on and off at a constant interval. The turbines that I have cited are in such locations that not a single shadow is cast on a structure. Another benefit of placing these turbines where I have them cited is that the shadows will actually be cast across the farm fields of Peckham farm, which can be used as a form of protection against the development of the farm by the university for means other than agriculture. 47

This graphic displays the current CO2 emissions of the university in conjunction with what the wind turbines cited at Peckham farm could offset in terms of CO2 emissions. 48

Energy Research Center

This is a view looking north from inside the new energy research center. This building was cited in the southwestern most corner of the present day turf fields. The purpose behind this new energy center was to create an area where an undergraduate or graduate students could conduct research along side professors and professionals relating to renewable energy such as the newly cited wind turbines. This building will be one of the closest buildings to these new turbines for research purposes but still a quarter mile away from the turbines. The reason for this distance is for several reasons the first and foremost important one is that of safety. At a quarter mile you are over three times the fall distance of

the turbine meaning that if it were to be a catastrophic failure and tip over there is more than three times the length of the tower between the building, its occupants and the base of the tower. Also there, is approximately twice the fall distance between towers and this is again for safety so that if that catastrophic event were to occur there would not be damage to a second tower or a domino effect. The second reason for the distance between the tower and the buildings is to make sure that there is not a single second of shadow flicker on any surrounding buildings which also explains the precise locations of the seven turbines on the site all of which are placed in the west of the current buildings. 49



Commuter rail and station connecting to underground/above ground parking lots. RIPTA stations for pedestrian ease

Research/Learning/Open Space: Farm Stand Classroom Hydroponic greenhouse growing Paths through open space

Golf Course

Organic and sustainable Student run v berries and trees throughout



Vegetables and grains grown for campus dining halls and public farm stand


Apple Orchard A variety of apples grown for public picking and eating

Scope of Work


kogley Turf Farm and Gardner Agronomy Farm are located just off Route 138 by the Athletic Facilities. This high visibility area has great potential to showcase the benefits of a Land Grant University. Using this prime location, a visitors center welcomes people and describes what is gong on at the Field Lab Management Area. Connecting throughout the site are trails which lead to key aspects of the design. There is a hydroponics greenhouse which provides year around vegetable production, an amphitheater for social gathering, a full vegetable field to provide for the students living and eating on campus. The large apple orchard is a pick-yourself farm, so com50

munity members and students will get involved in seeing where their food is coming from. Next to the visitors center is an urban agriculture garden for research and demonstrations on new food production techniques. A new commuter train stop is proposed for the university. Designed there is a train station and farm stand for commuters to stop, rest, and get fresh produce. To collect the cars that will be coming into the site, there is an underground parking garage. Planted on top is a native meadow to promote infiltration. The gold course will be learning ground for students in turf grass management and also a venue to increase revenue and tie into the schools history of turf grass management.


Land Use Land Leased to New England Turf Agronomy Farm Turf Farm Well Buffer Zone • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Water system flows around 700 GPM Water system supplies all the water for campus The water system uses a 4” main pipe. All water used is potable drinking water Agronomy Size: 105 Acres Agronomy Main Building: 6,300 ft2 Agronomy Green House: 3,600 ft2 Agronomy Pesticide Storage: 250 ft2 New England Turf: Approx: 80 Acres Agronomy Uses Approx: 25 Acres Turf Size: 20 Acres Turf Building : 4,200 ft2 Turf Tool Shed: 400 ft2 Turf Equipment Shed: 2,100 ft2 Pump House: 900 ft2 There are approx 6 acres usable land at turf

In 2000, URI spent 14 million dollars on utilities and over half of that cost was on electricity. Much of the land used by the turf companies could be used as an alternative energy site, which would demonstrate URI’s commitment to sus52

tainability as a teaching facility, and save millions of dollars. Furthermore, the University of Rhode Islands turf resources and vegetable productions are a great asset to the school and community and should be protected and enhanced.

Walking Connections

Existing Circulation

• • • • •

8 Minute Walk to Peckham Farm 10 Minute Walk to URI Dining Halls 15 Minute Walk to URI Dorms 20 Minute Walk to URI Quad 35 Minute Walk to East Farm

Proposed Circulation There are little ways of circulation that are conducive to the movement of pedestrians, bicycles, and cars. The existing sharp turn in the road has been the location of many accidents. The proposed road, although cutting through prime farmland eases this turn and will provide better access to the new commuter rail station. It also leaves an essential space for a welcome center at the

entrance to the University of Rhode Island. The Turf and Agronomy Farm are in a location easily accessible to all of the students and faculty at URI for it is only a ten minute walk from the core of campus. It also is very close to the other field lab management areas owned by the University of Rhode Island, so all of them can work together bringing everyone in for collaboration with research. 53

Crops/vegetation At the Agronomy Farm they are always changing and rotating what vegetables and grains they are growing. The most common vegetables are cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and winter squash. The herb garden includes but is not limited to rosemary, tarragon, chives, sage, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, and mint. There is extensive research being done on phragmites, blight resistant tomatoes and small woody plants. When the fields lay fallow they are planted with a cover crop to protect the soil. Some of the grains used are rye, vetch, winter wheat, oats, alfalfa, buckwheat, white clover, perennial ryegrass, and crimson. At the Turf Farm varieties of grass are being grown for research on turf grass management and the effects of fertilizers, insects, disease, and weeds on turf grass. The area by the well is planted with a cover crop and mowed biannually.


Habitat The open area and food lures a variety of animals into the farm areas. Some of the most common animals are birds, coyote, deer, fox, frogs, groundhogs, mice, moles, muskrats, opossums, rabbits, raccoons, skunk, snakes, squirrels, wild turkey, and woodchucks. The variety of birds is vast because of the ample food source. Having the pond right next to the area is a great water source for the animals and also keeps the water loving animals around. Comprised of roughly six acres of forest, this area creates a natural habitat for wildlife surrounding both farms. The forest contains oaks, maples, nut trees, and an assortment of evergreen trees. The understory contains mostly mountain laurel and other small shrubs. There are invasives. This area acts as a vegetative buffer between neighboring houses.

Research Studying land use percentages, carbon emissions, and energy costs we begin to understand the correlations and connections of how we use the land and how the land is utilized by these practices. Polarizing these issues is a crucial step when moving forward in programming these areas. It allows us to see a hierarchy of uses which dic-

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

tate the importance of each individual land practice. Although the energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions come from the university as a whole, the redesign of the Turf and Agronomy Research Management Areas have taken initiative to integrate sustainable measures that not only decrease these but supply better alternatives.

Energy Costs

Land Percentages Urban Agriculture 3%

Solid Waste 3%

Electric 55%

Transport Total 28%

Heat Plant 33%

Stationary Sources 24%

Gas 11%

Golf Course 51%

Purchased Electricity 45%

Oil 1%

Parking Areas 9%

Hydroponics/Trail Walk 16% Visitor Center/ Dorm 5%

Agronomy Farm 16% 55

Watson Farm Golf Course URI turf majors maintain the golf course through a co-op program that involves maintenance, fertilizing, winterizing, irrigation, and turf research. There is a clubhouse that is open to the public and features a classroom for teaching. Watson Farms brings together the oldest running turf program in the nation and the future of golf course management and design in a cohesive and profitable organization. Not every part of the course is watered, land that is not necessary for fairways is kept high, and will become native grass meadows to reduce on irrigation costs. Other sustainable practices include using compost from the dining halls as fertilizers.



Golf Course The view from the par 4, 5th hole there is an irrigation pond to the left of the fairway. Watson Farms has a total of three irrigation ponds to water the course. The course’s different elevation changes were created from fill that was excavated

from the train station, clubhouse, and the underground parking structure which were all on site. The course was developed to pitch run off back into the ponds to collect water for the summer months.

Signs through out the course will feature a historic time line of the URI Turf Program, from its beginning in 1895 to present times.



The shape of the amphitheater will allow people to easily hear the film, but the sound will not carry to neighboring areas. When not in use the movie screen can be packed away to interfere with the views of the water. A 144� outdoor movie screen can be purchased for under one thousand dollars and can be set up in five minutes. The boardwalk will have indirect LED lighting for night time safety. This space could also be used for school functions including graduation. The aeration fountain has low fish kills because it is filled with beneficial pond bacteria to stimulated to efficiently break down waste and reduce the bottom muck layer. Aerobic bacteria will out proliferate problematic anaerobic bacteria to control odors. Key nutrients such as phos-

phates are rendered unavailable and metals like iron are precipitated out. Algae blooms will be less severe and less problematic due to the lack of available nutrients. The need for maintenance products are reduced to the ponds naturally ability to regulate itself. These filter strip is to trap sediment, plant nutrients, organic matter and chemicals as runoff from cropland or urban areas passes through the vegetated area. There is one half acre of boardwalk trails, which provide views of 30 acre pond and provide a safe and scenic area for running and exercise. The boardwalk will be made of recycled plastic so that there will be no need to paint or stain the wood. 59

Hydroponic Research Facility The Hydroponic Research Facility is comprised of one 1,800 square foot hydroponic greenhouse, one 3,600 square foot hydroponic greenhouse, a skywalk, herb gardens and an information and business center. It is capable of producing year round crops and will educate students and help with research regarding sustainable food production. The permeable parking lot has 25 spaces and a 1,000 square foot collection basin with native grasses and water tolerant shrubs to help with storm water runoff. As an entrance way there is a boardwalk flowing over it to welcome visitors.


The top vegetables grown are, winter squash, melons, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce and basil. In 2011 the Agronomy Farm sold 2,500 lbs of vegetables to the URI Dining Halls and donated 8,424 pounds of vegetables to the Rhode Island Food Bank. The new hydroponic research facility will provide enough food for the 5,000 students residing in dorms at URI. The total amount of food production per school year is:

Lettuce- 150,000 lbss

Tomatoes- 115,000 lbs

Potatoes- 600,000 lbs 61

Transportation/Complete Streets To blend in with the heritage of Rhode Island the train station will be a thatched style and have field stone. It will be a retreat back to the past. Gentle arches allow for easy access in and out of the building. A large sidewalk provides enough space for pedestrian walking and waiting. The native grass buffer area absorbs run off and blends into the farm. An allee of trees is on the opposite side of the drive to pick up the style of URI. The drop off/pick up area is a loop which cars and the RIPTA Bus can take to collect and drop people off to their destinations weather it be the parking lot or school. The RIPTA bus stop will be located at the main gate to the underground

parking garage. Signs for advertising events and products at the farms will be posted and the cared glass windows show the history and life of the farms. There is an overhang for protection from inclement weather and benches for waiting. The contemporary style to blend in with the new buildings on campus. Abutting the commuter train station will be a small farm stand for people to quickly grab fresh, local produce on their way home for dinner. It will be run by the sustainable agriculture students and business students to collaborate and gain knowledge about sales and organic farm fresh foods.

RIPTA Bus Stop

Train Station 62

There is a 4 mile meandering path that looping throughout the entire site. While walking or biking on this path you are surrounded by a native meadow full of tall grass and various trees. There are stops along the way with signs to inform users of the history and uses of the site. It links to the complete street which joins the bike path so there is access to the other URI farms, beaches, and

town. Having easily accessible trails everywhere helps Americans get active to reduce rates of obesity. This complete street has two way traffic, a bike lane, an inside vegetative barrier and a sidewalk. Native shrubs and grasses will be selected for the buffer to cleanse the street water runoff. The layout makes the pedestrian feel safe, protected, and gives a calm effect.

Path 63

Welcome Center The Welcome Center is the first building seen when coming into campus through Plains Road. It is brought into site by an allee of trees. This center teaches the community, students and facility about the sustainable practices going on around campus and right on site. It is hub for sustainability

Urban Agriculture 25% Lot Area 50% Buildable Area 2% Green Space 23%


with its gray water system, recycled building materials, use of windows to reduce lighting costs, permeable paving, and green walls for insulation. It is also home for students in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences with 42 bedrooms and ample amount of common space.


Ten 200 Watt solar panels will be placed beside the Commuter Rail Line. One solar panel will produce 3,000 watts of electricity in one day with full sun, which is 1.1 million watts per year. This will produce enough electricity to power entire farm.

At the heart of URI’s Land Grant mission. Cooperative Extension helps people to improve their lives and communities by extending University-based research for the benefit of families, farms and the environment. The expansion of the crop farmland at the Turf and Agronomy Farm will provide food for the campus and community, for the dining halls and farm stand. The barn will provide space for all of the farms equipment.

At the Orchard there are 458 apple trees of various varieties chosen for taste and frost tolerance. The trees will yield over 100,000 apples per season. They will ripen in late summer/early fall just in time for students to pick their own and learn about where their food is coming from. They will also be picked to produce URI Brand Organic Apple Cider sold at the farm stand.



The Field Lab Management Areas at the University of Rhode Island are an integral part in the future of the University. With the synthesis of the designs, methods, and technologies compiled, URI can become an example for demonstrating what Land Grant Universities can be in the future. In concert with the leaders in each major area these farmland and research facilities can be preserved for the use of students, faculty, and community members. It was the aim to provide and enhance the value of these locations through research, charrettes and service learning. URI has the potential to create a campus like no other in the


country. The process documented in the prior pages started from a macro scale. To better understand the role the northern crescent more particularly New England and finally Rhode Island plays in not only agricultural endeavors, but sustainable clean energy production and education. The future of research and agriculture could not be placed in a better area with access to prime arable land and proximity to major urban hubs, This unique location lays the groundwork for the importance of the development of Field Lab Management Areas.

Work Cited Augustin, Sally, and Jean Marie Cackowski-Campbell. “Designer Ecofarms.” Landscape Architecture Magazine Mar. 2012: 134-136. Print. Blij, H. J. De, and Peter O. Muller. Regions. Chicago: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Print. Rhode Island Agricultural Partnership. “A Vision for RI Agriculture.” Rhode Island Agricultural Partnership. N.p., 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <>.



First Draft: Field Lab Management Areas Report  

Report on the University of Rhode Islands Field Lab Management Areas.