LAI FL Suncoast Members Tour 4Roots Farm Campus

Article authored by:

Holly Elmore - LAI At-Large Member & LAI Global Water-Land Series Group Co-Chair

Holly's eclectic career path includes multiple facets ranging from the corporate arena (Arthur Andersen Auditor & Trammell Crow Controller) to the foodservice industry (owner of a corporate catering business & restaurants) to sustainability-industry leader (Zero Waste Zones & Elemental Impact Founder).  In addition, Holly is an avid nature & documentary photographer and respected journalist with prominent articles and photographs featured in national publications.


On May 17, LAI FL Suncoast members Bridgett Luther, Table2Farms Visionary & CEO, Steve Suau, Consultant at Carbon Life, Tim Rumage, Planetary Ethicist and Professor of Environmental Studies at Ringling College of Art and Design, and Holly Elmore, Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder & CEO traveled to Orlando to join the Ei 4Roots Farm Campus (4Roots) Tour.


Unearthing the Power of Food to Build Healthy Communities

4Roots is an alliance of community stakeholders investing in a healthy, thriving, sustainable, food system.

Located on a donated 40-acre tract of urban land, the 4Roots campus is a well-planned community-based endeavor that is a work-in-progress. The campus is strategically located in the southern Packing District less than two miles from Downtown Orlando. 

Education Center (EC)

Integral to the 4Roots Tour was the under-construction, multiple-award-winning EC, the first building in Florida to attain the energy-petal certification of the Living Building Challenge, a monumental achievement!

Glass walls and windows within the EC are Halio Smart Glass, the only dynamic glass that tints in real-time to optimal levels as daylight changes. Per the 4Roots executive director, the smart glass deciphers weather conditions and communicates to the building operating system with commands such as turn on fans, turn up the air conditioning, open windows, etc.

Designed in a modular fashion as the first mass-timber commercial structure in Florida, the EC may be completely dismantled, moved, and reassembled in another location. As required by the Living Building Challenge, most of the building's structural components were sourced from within 400 miles of the 4Roots campus.

Beyond energy efficient, the EC solar panel system is expected to generate at least 105% of the building's electricity requirements. Excess electricity will be stored in an onsite microgrid for use in other facilities. Rainwater and air conditioning condensation are collected in four large citrines for use in toilet flushing and outdoor-farm irrigation. 

4Roots partnered with Valencia College for use of the EC state-of-the-art facilities. An estimated 400 students will take a total three courses hosted at the EC.

In addition to the EC,  the article, Ei Tours Resume with 4Roots Farm Campus Tour, features the 4Roots seven-hoop, high-tech greenhouse, the Culinary Health Institute, and the completion of Phase 1 – Education; the Holly Elmore Images-photo gallery, 05-17-24 4Roots Farm Campus Tour, gives a pictorial recap of the inspiring tour.

Education Center

Seven-Hoop Greenhouse

Aquaponic-raised tilapia provides fertilizer for hydroponic-grown produce.

4Roots Tour Group; 4Roots Farm Manager Josh Taylor, Bridgett Luther, Steve Suau, David Gwatney (guest,) 4Roots Community Manager Brianna  Rodermal, and Tim Rumage.

Bridget & Tim in front of a greenhouse observation window.

Photos courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.


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