Laredo Demonstration Farm

The Laredo Demonstration “Blueprint” Farm was conceived as an integrated regional response to building, infrastructure, materials, and agriculture and as a foundation for local economic development.  Coordinated with the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas-Israel Exchange under the leadership of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, the Farm challenged agricultural convention in Texas, where, as in many U.S. States, the economic viability of farming is threatened.  The importance of the built form to reinforce the water efficient farming practices being introduced by Israeli agriculturalists was determined to be an essential component to this demonstration project.

While often overlooked as integral to efficient farming practices, the built environment can lend enormous support to ensure the farm’s maximum output and resource utilization.  To this end, the Farm was designed as a prototype building system consistent with the quest for a resource efficient, highly productive and sustainable agricultural approach for Texas farms. By incorporating earthen, agricultural by-products and locally available materials for building, shade for cooling, water catchment systems for irrigation, and solar systems for space and water heating and space cooling, the Farm’s physical structure is a statement of how farmers across the state can overcome challenging operations and maintenance concerns lessening reliance on water and fossil fuel-derived energy sources and extending the growing season by introducing shade to crop producing fields.

Laredo Junior College; Texas Department of Agriculture

The Meadows Foundation; State of Texas Governor’s Energy Office; Texas Department of Agriculture

Project Team:
Pliny Fisk III (architectural and agricultural systems); Josef Farbiarz (engineering); Steve Gerdes; Tom Glassford; Alberto Luera (community liaison); Tom Morris (site foreman); Tony Ramirez (agricultural systems); Laredo Junior College Construction Department, W. Laurence Doxsey, Rich MacMath, Ray Zamora (construction)