Better Block Helps Churn Up Crowds for World’s Largest Cheese Board

The Dallas nonprofit designed, cut, and built a digitally created barn and 70-foot cheese board for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's SXSW exhibit.


A Dallas nonprofit helped the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board become one of the hits at South by Southwest in Austin by constructed a digital “barn” inside a conference room that housed the World’s Largest Cheese Board.

The 70-foot-long board showcased more than 2,000 pounds and 100 varieties of cheese. The assortment ranged from aged cheddars to Limburger, as well as the 2017 U.S. Cheese Champion, Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano, the Milwaukee Journal reported.

The board was housed March 13-14 in a massive barn built inside a conference room by The Better Block Foundation, a Dallas 501(c)3 nonprofit that educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leadership to reshape and promote the growth of vibrant and healthy neighborhoods.

“We designed, cut, and built the barn in about 17 days.”
Krista Nightengale

The whole thing came together quickly, Better Block Managing Director Krista Nightengale said.

“We got the call about three weeks before the event,” she said. “We designed, cut, and built the barn in about 17 days.”

Nightengale said the barn’s “ribs” and board were made from 70 sheets of plywood.

“We cut it all with our CNC router (basically, a giant printer for wood),” she said. “It came together in the conference room in about nine hours.”

The build required about nine to 10 people working on it throughout the day, Nightengale said. 

The undertaking was fun, Nightengale said.

“We had a wheely good time. It was grate,” she said.

“This design is a bit more intense and does require some hardware.”
Krista Nightengale

Better Block, founded by renowned urbanist Jason Roberts, is known for Wikiblock, an open-source library of street furniture designs that anyone can download and create using very little hardware.

“This design is a bit more intense and does require some hardware,” Nightengale said. “We had bolts on the ribs, and also braced the cheeseboard.”

The whole thing turned out to be a popular attraction.

“It was constant all day, both days,” Lizzie Duffey, a public relations specialist with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, told the Journal Sentinel

Once the event was over, SXSW staff congratulated the cheese team for having one of the most consistently busy events during the festival, the newspaper said.

Better Block has been active in building unique wooden structures to benefit the community.

In January, Better Block collaborated with Ford Motor Co. to unveil the “Street of Tomorrow” at the CES 2018 convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Utilizing Astroturf and some Wikiblock planters, benches, and tables, the exhibit showed how people could easily take back their streets.

Earlier this month, it built a dockless bike share platform prototype for a community meeting to discuss bike share’s place in the community and how to ensure people have a freedom to choose their transportation without it becoming an eyesore.


The ribs await assembly inside the conference room. [Photo Courtesy Better Block]


The finished barn and cheese board. [Photo Courtesy Better Block]



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