City, Partners Break Ground for Beardsley Farm Education Center

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City, Partners Break Ground for Beardsley Farm Education Center

Posted: 06/09/2015
The City of Knoxville, the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) and the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design broke ground today for a 1,200-square-foot education center at Beardsley Farm, 1719 Reynolds St.

The education center will include space for processing honey and vegetables from the gardens, an office and long-needed indoor accessible restrooms, in addition to a 400-square-foot outdoor classroom. The new facility is a commitment to sustainability, with a solar-ready roof, rainwater collection options, natural daylight features, and water-efficient fixtures. The majority of the building will be constructed using local materials.

Beardsley Farm is a non-profit urban community farm operated through CAC that’s been promoting food security and sustainable agriculture since 1998. The farm is located in the City’s Malcolm-Martin Park, and the City contributed $150,000 to the new education center.

“Beardsley Farm is a local treasure and a great pioneering model for urban agriculture,” Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Beardsley grows organic produce and is a home to bee colonies and chickens. All the food from the farm is donated to CAC’s Mobile Meals program, local food pantries and families in need of fresh produce.

“Every day, Beardsley opens its doors to visitors, volunteers and families from across Knoxville to teach them how to grow their own food. Creating this education center will take Beardsley Farm’s teaching to a higher level, which will help more families.”

Other partners in the CAC project include Thompson Charitable Foundation (which donated $25,000) and former Mayor and Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe (who gave $5,000). Stonepeak and AIA East Tennessee are additional contributors.

“CAC and everyone who gardens and volunteers at the farm appreciates the generosity of the community in making the education center possible,” said Barbara Kelly, CAC’s Executive Director. “Knowledge about food production and good nutrition strengthens our families and neighborhoods. Our partners are essential to our ultimate success.”

Another major partner in building the education center is the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design, whose staff and students are helping to design and construct the building as part of the Design-Build-Evaluate Initiative. More than 40 students and four faculty members have been involved in the project to develop the design approach and refine the construction documents in partnership with local professionals.

General Shale is donating 30,000 bricks for the project and recently provided masonry training for the UT students.

CAC contracted Beth Eason Architecture to do the design and Merit Construction to serve as the contractor. The Public Building Authority is the project manager.

For more information on Beardsley Community Farm, visit