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Community | Responsibility | Value | Craft | Culture
Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food serves as a hub for food training, activities, events and business in Northwest Arkansas. In addition to workforce readiness in the expanding hospitality sector, the school's goal is to explore the larger food world in theory and practice, specifically focusing on agriculture and food issues within the context of community development such as farming, health, food entrepreneurship and public education. Brightwater is one of the most well-rounded, thoughtful and innovative programs in the nation. The school's global understanding, regional roots and community engagement make it a cultural destination for the entire food experience.
Through community engagement and academic programs, Brightwater provides world-class training and learning for individuals, students and professionals at any point on their journey into the world of food.
In 2013, the Walton Family Foundation backed two key projects for a comprehensive
food strategy in one of America's fastest-growing areas. Recognizing the connection
between food, health and vibrant communities, a regional food assessment identified
steps required to strengthen the food system. At the same time, NWACC agreed to transform
its culinary arts program, building upon theory and practice of how food is grown,
transported and produced. Brightwater now imparts technical skills for an entrepreneurial
and innovative movement, while simultaneously engaging the community through training,
commerce and events.
NWACC selected the name Brightwater - an apple indigenous to Northwest Arkansas that had been commercially cultivated in the late 1800s - for its groundbreaking culinary program. Brightwater serves as a focal point for food training, activities, events and business. The school features an on-site greenhouse and garden which, combined with field trips to diverse local farms, provide students with a deeper understanding of the complexity of food production, the food system, and its connection to human health and the environment. In addition to workforce readiness in the area's expanding hospitality sector, the program explores the larger food world within the context of community development, including growing food on-site and farm visits, whole animal butchery, culinary nutrition, food entrepreneurship and reduction of food waste.