Bastian Agricultural Center
As more and more of Utah’s agricultural land is converted to commercial and residential developments, one family has committed to honoring and preserving the state’s farming past, present, and future. The Bastian family, in concert with Utah State University, has founded the Bastian Agricultural Center, a campus dedicated to educating the public about contemporary agriculture and inspiring future generations of producers through both structured programs and interpretive experiences open to the public.
Primary Goals and Focus of the USU Bastian Agricultural Center
The primary goals and focus of the USU Bastian Agricultural Center will be to:
Pre-concept Planned Components of the Bastian Agricultural Center
The Bastian Agricultural Center will include four (4) major areas comprised of the following facilities and spaces:
Natural Resource Area
The natural resources component will consist of a resource education center, amphitheater, wetland/ponds discovery, educational trails and youth activities. In today’s society, children, youth and adults are experiencing less time engaging in nature. In Richard Louv’s book, “The Last Child in the Woods,” he defines this lack of relationship as nature-deficit disorder. Between 1997 and 2003, there was a 50% decline in the number of children between ages 9 and 12 who spent time participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, fishing and gardening (Hofferth & Sandberg 2001). The Natural Resources area will help to bridge this gap by providing education about the value of nature to youth and the broader community.
The STEM Center component will consist of a conference center, lodging, pavilions and a sports/activity area. Utah 4-H reaches approximately 73,680 youth each year, with over 8,000 volunteers. Currently, the 4-H program in Utah reaches 58% of youth in an urban setting and 42% in a rural setting. The center will provide a more central location for 4-H youth and volunteers to gather for conferences, state contests and other 4-H-related activities. The center will also be a venue for community partners to hold conferences, team building and other group activities.
Plant Production and Education
The plant production and education component will consist of an area for a farmers market, classroom/workshop space, greenhouses, demonstration gardens, orchards and dry farm demonstration plots. USU Extension offers a program designed to assist thousands of Utah families each year in making healthy food choices, as well as Food $ense, which serves individuals who are food insecure or at risk. This component of the Bastian Agricultural Center will provide a venue in Salt Lake County to house such programs and food demonstrations. Participants will gain an understanding and hands-on learning experience of where their food comes from, how to grow their food and how to preserve and cook it.
Equestrian, Livestock, Animal Production, and Education
The equestrian, livestock and animal production component will bring agricultural education and experiences to an increasing urban population. In 2019, over 24,000 youth participated in 4-H livestock projects and had the opportunity to develop leadership, citizenship, self-esteem, social and livestock skills. This part of the center will continue to provide many of the current equestrian programs available in Salt Lake County and will also provide an avenue for more youth from the urban population to experience animal production activities.
Benefits to Salt Lake County and Beyond
- Increase usership by the local community in facilities and opportunities at the site
- Increase in educational programming and opportunities designed to improve the lives of Salt Lake County residents
- Increase recreational opportunities for residents in an urban area
- A continuation of the majority of programming and events currently happening at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park and Event Center
- A commitment to continue to work with and serve the equestrian community in Salt Lake County while broadening the reach of the facilities to serve additional residents
- A commitment from Utah State University and the Bastian Family Foundation to support the facility long term
- Partnership in and a reduced timeline for the development of a multimillion-dollar facility and resource in Salt Lake County
- A commitment to protect portions of the Equestrian Park and Event Center as open space