15-0202 v2.1/Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden/Agriculture Allowance for a Project in an Existing Farm Setting


The Demeter-certified farm has a variety of projects in design including a new tasting room and case storage facility, a new private residence, and improvements to infrastructure and landscaping.

The Living Building Challenge aligns perfectly with the values of the owners and farm and the pursuit of the Challenge has been a project goal from the beginning. While site conditions and economic constraints do not allow for all of the projects in design to meet the challenge, the design team and owners have determined the proposed tasting room and case storage would indeed be able to meet LBC requirements to allow the pursuit of a Petal Certification.

After further investigation, the project team feels confident that full LBC certification is within reach of the project. To help confirm our assessment of this possibility, we kindly request a review and confirmation of the proposed Transect Selection, Project Area selection, and the associated requirement for I02 Urban Agriculture.

Based on the project’s setting within a working farm and dedication to food production the transect selected by the team is L2. Rural Agriculture Zone

Project Area

The proposed project is located in a campus setting, within an existing agricultural facility. As previously mentioned, other construction projects are currently within the property boundaries as well. The project team is seeking approval from ILFI for the proposed LBC project area versus areas of projects not currently seeking LBC certification.

Please see attached map for designation of areas of projects described below.

Currently, existing structures on the property that are not slated for construction or renovation are the office/residence (located near the site entry), the winery, the pump house, and two outbuildings housing farm equipment, located in the southeast corner.

The proposed LBC project area for the tasting room and case storage is located directly to the east and will share the existing winery courtyard as construction staging area.

Other projects not seeking LBC

The site for a new Passive House private residence is located approximately 400 feet to the east of the tasting room.

In addition, improvements to the general infrastructure are planned to the main entry, including an additional small farm building and some landscaping.

Agricultural Allowance associated with the LBC project

Since the Project Area is located on a working farm, the team is seeking clarity on I02 Urban Agriculture in the described setting.

Given the fact that the new building is located in a 40-acre biodynamically operated, working farm and over 20 acres are already dedicated to organic food and wine production, the notion to create additional agricultural areas to meet the intent of this Imperative seems superfluous in this context.

The project team would like to claim that the intent “to reestablish a tie between humans and their nourishment and reconnect communities to the land,” lies at the core of the entire operation in general and the construction of the tasting room in particular.

The statement “Communities should be supported by local and regional agriculture, since no truly ‘sustainable’ community can rely on globally sourced food production” and the requirement to “integrate opportunities for agriculture, appropriate to the scale and density of the project” is at a minimum met, but viewed by the project team as by far exceeded.

Hence is the project team setting the Project Area as designated on the attached map, including roughly 18,000 sf. The Project Area is not including any currently existing or any new areas designated for food production.

(please also see site plan of the entire farm for context here: http://www.cowhornwine.com/files/COWHORN-MasterPlan-2011.pdf)


1. The Transect L2 appears to be correct for this project. 2. The Project Area for the LBC project must include all areas of disturbance and construction staging, so you will need to include the areas in pink and orange on your site plan. 3. See the Site Petal Handbook for guidance on how to calculate Project Area and FAR in order to determine the appropriate amount of required agriculture. Yes, the team may Scale Jump from the project area boundary to the farm for compliance with the Urban Agriculture Imperative. A working farm may use existing farm areas for Scale Jumping, however the area must comply with all other applicable Imperatives of The Challenge. For example, Net Zero Water and Red List which requires that no petrochemical pesticides or fertilizers are used.

Post ID 2106 

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