Produce Rinse and Pack Facility
Supporting Communities through Thoughtful Design
The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) operates a 155-acre research and incubator farm near Saint Paul, leasing small plots to members of the Hmong community who grow vegetables. The organization needed a facility that would serve members and meet FDA Food Safety Modernization Act requirements related to cross contamination of food products. Because the budget was tight, LHB’s design team worked closely with HAFA and the contractor to ensure that each dollar spent added value. The facilities have energy-efficient and low-maintenance envelopes that minimize operational costs.
Because people of all ages work at the facility, the buildings and loading docks are designed with ergonomics and flexibility in mind. In addition, the docks were designed with multiple levels so cars, passenger trucks, vans, tractors, and delivery trucks could be accommodated. Located at the crest of a hill, the structure provides a beautiful panorama of the surrounding landscape.
Navigating Land Use Regulations
The needs and appearance of small-scale produce farming differ from intensive crop farming. LHB worked closely with local officials and HAFA to help the organization work through land-use regulations, conditional-use permit acquisition, and code-enforcement issues.
Subtle Strategies Yield Significant Impact
Passive energy efficiency strategies such as building orientation, wide overhangs, thermal mass, and natural ventilation drawing heat out the roof allow farmers to work in the buildings comfortably throughout the growing season.