Main Content Start


Community | Responsibility | Value | Craft | Culture
Our Purpose

Community | Responsibility | Value | Craft | Culture
Our Purpose

Our Purpose

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.

Brightwater approaches food as art, food as wellness, and food as business to offer an entirely unique approach to the culinary arts. As an academic department of Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), Brightwater offers uniquely holistic programming with academic and career training in the areas of Artisanal Food, Baking and Pastry, Beverage Arts and Culinary Arts. Special classes in applied farming, seasonal cooking, and the art of fermentation are among the many one-of-a-kind classes that can be found at Brightwater.

The school also features an on-site greenhouse and garden which provide students with a deeper understanding of the complexity of food production, the food system, and its connection to human health and the environment. 

Brightwater provides world-class training for individuals, students and professionals at any point on their journey into the world of food. The school's goal is to develop leaders who combine culinary skills with the ability to recognize and address complex food issues.


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.


Make the study and craft of food accessible to all - creatively, entrepreneurially and sustainably.

Brightwater Building


In 2013, Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food was first conceptualized to be the cornerstone of a comprehensive food strategy to help strengthen the food system. The Walton Family Foundation and NWACC partnered to transform the college’s culinary arts program, building upon theory and practice of how food is grown, transported and produced. Brightwater was to be located within Bentonville’s growing 8th Street Market and offer 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 new groundbreaking culinary program, and opened the center’s doors in 2017.


Core Values

Brightwater embraces the following core values that reflect our mission and guide our decisions, actions and provision of services.