It’s A Beautiful Day in the Agrihood

Would you like to be able to stroll down the street and pick up some eggs fresh from the chicken for breakfast, or pull carrots out of the ground for dinner? If you live in one of the more than 200 agrihoods scattered across the US, you’d be able to do just that.

The desire to incorporate fresh, local farm products is increasing, and subdivision planners are responding to the movement by planning “agrihoods” – developments centered around real, working farms. Other planned agrihood communities offer community gardens, or dedicated backyard plots for growing food. Other perks of living in an agrihood include education by farmers and gardening experts, on-site test kitchens, gardening and cooking demonstrations, and other events and activities.

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A community gardening area at Rancho Mission Viejo in Capistrano, CA. Photo source.

Many agrihoods combine their agricultural emphasis with principles of community, environment, education, health and economics. The developments are often large, with lots of open space, walking paths, stores, and often restaurants and community centers. While the ultimate goal is to sell homes, these communities give suburban dwellers a true tie to agriculture, and an appreciation for the hard work that it takes to grow their food.

These planned communities also have a commitment to preserve open space. Hundreds of acres are preserved throughout the development, and are used as wildlife preserves, farm and garden land, or for outdoor recreation.

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Farm fields at The Cannery agrihood in California. Photo source.

The larger agrihood farms employ full-time farmers to grow the crops, and others encourage their community members to volunteer in the community gardens. Residents can pick their own produce, or sign up for weekly deliveries of the farm’s offerings.

If I had to live in a planned community, an agrihood would be a pretty awesome place to live.  It would be wonderful if an agrihood became a common development, rather than the sprawling subdivisions that are eating up so much farmland. Agrihoods promote a lot of great things: agriculture education, fresh farm products, outdoor recreation, health and a sense of community.

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An artist’s rendering of an agrihood pland for Orlando, FL. Photo source.

Here are a few more interesting articles on the growing popularity of agrihoods:

http://www.shareable.net/blog/12-agrihoods-taking-farm-to-table-living-mainstream

http://www.newhomesource.com/resourcecenter/articles/welcome-to-the-agrihood

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/agrihood-the-cannery-davis-california_us_55ce205ce4b07addcb42d5b0

 

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