Basset Farms Conservancy
By Lyda Linsteadt
Landscape architecture design 2 | phoebe lickwar
For this project, we were asked to design for the Bassett Farm Conservancy, a historic 1,500-acre property that once was owned by the Bassett family and families of newly emancipated slaves for cotton farming and cattle grazing. It is now managed by Preservation Texas. The client expressed a desire for the site, which has been left degraded by the extractive nature of these agricultural practices, to act as a model for regenerative farming in the region of Kosse, Texas. They expressed a desire for a space for educational programming, parking, accommodations for retreats, a hiking trail, and to retain their herd of historic Polled Hereford cattle.
My proposal for the site aimed to increase diversity ecologically, socially, and economically. This was achieved by employing conservation agricultural forms such as the introduction of multispecies fruit orchards with perennial intercropping, an annual vegetable and cut flower demonstration garden, rotational grazing land, and a pollinator garden with both cultivated apiary and native pollinator habitat walls. Land was also zoned to be specifically leased for agricultural purposes, as access to affordable farmland is one of growing concern for new farming generations. The trail system linked the agricultural forms, diverse ecosystems (such as a planted wetland and restored prairies), and places of historical significance within the property, such as the Hopewell Cemetery. A commemorative ‘iris river garden’ was sited on route, as irises had been found naturalizing alongside the gravesites there. Lastly, for both classes and community gatherings, a community center was proposed, spilling onto a great lawn to serve as a flexible space for larger events and farmers markets. The proposed design additions enhance the biodiversity of the site, make it multi-functional with multiple income generators, provides an opportunity to educate the public, build community, and promote the next generation of resilient farmers.