Ongoing Research 

At Fresh Press we like keeping ourselves busy to complete our mission. Below are our current projects.


A Campus Circular Economy – From Farm to Table & Desk

This project will not only contribute to sustainability on the Illinois campus, but also create a new standard. By continuing to use responsible and organic agricultural practices that promote soil and human health combined with re-using waste for paper production, SSF and FP together will create a sustainable circular economy on campus where students and faculty are not only consumers but producers.

3-D Pulp: Crop Residue At Small and Large Scales - $14,522 - UIUC Campus Research Board

This project aims to foster new and continue existing collaboration in research and pedagogy between Associate Professor Eric Benson (Graphic Design), Associate Professor Mark Taylor (Architecture), and Assistant Professor Sameh Tawfick (Mechanical Science and Engineering) on using crop residue pulp (corn, soy, rye, miscanthus and prairie grasses, etc.) in three-dimensional forms.


A Case for a New Case Paper: Co-engineering Library Conservation Materials from Locally Sourced Agricultural Waste

This project is intended to undertake collaborative experimentation in order to create a new, locally and sustainably sourced case paper for conservation rebinding at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. You can read more about this project here.

Past Research 

These are our past projects that helped build Fresh Press.


Agri-fiber Paper Lab, $42,130 (2011)

This proposal aims to create a sustainable design studio that provides knowledge and services, establishing sustainable print, digital, and systemic design solutions for the University of Illinois campus and eventually for the community. This studio will begin in a phased approach. The first phase begins within a mixed graduate and undergraduate art and design classroom setting that investigates the practice of true sustainability of current design studio models that will lead to a pragmatic structure, ensuring a triple bottom line approach to design and business. 

Off-Grid Sustainable Farm, $68,416 (2012)

Fresh Press (FP) is an interdisciplinary faculty and student research studio that explores the potential for sustainable paper production. Our goal is to develop entrepreneurial markets for paper product originating from locally produced agri-fiber and indigenous plant material.  This research involves developing new models, methods, and applications for the integration of agri-fiber paper as a viable alternative to wood pulp product.  Fresh Press seeks to shape and educate industry, steward the land we use, and investigate indigenous plant and agricultural fiber plots. By moving towards self-sufficiency, Fresh Press will become the model for small-scale sustainable papermaking, which can also be applied to a larger industrial practice.


Farm and Fiber, $79,620 (2014)

Fresh Press, in collaboration with our partners at the Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) and the Woody Perennial Polyculture (WPP) site are aiming to grow student opportunities through our individual and collaborative research and public engagement efforts.  

This proposal is focused on equipment acquisition, increased production and student employment to increase efficiency in the production and harvesting of agrifiber, converting bio-mass for integration to agricultural practice and development of fiber conversion to mitigate stock piled bio-mass from the SSF, WPP, and the adjacent bio-fuel plots.