Fresh Food

Gentleman Farmers Become Hip Millennial Farmers

'Agrihoods' are cropping up across American cities, suburbs

The Lempert Report

Curbed reports on what is seemingly a new trend: "agrihoods." An agrihood is a farm where residents are allowed to till the soil and reap some of the bounty grown on-site.

Curbed writer Patrick Sisson visited Arden, a subdivision in western Palm Beach County, Fla., which is a moderate-sized development that will eventually contain 2,000 single-family homes. The 5-acre farm and big red barn sit a few hundred feet from the development’s clubhouse, which boasts terraced pools and waterfalls straight out of a resort.

Sisson writes that the ironies of the concept become immediately apparent. At the grand opening celebration—where he visited model homes on streets with names like Wheelbarrow Bend, Tree Stand Terrace and Heirloom Drive—he learned the farm, new homes and manicured lakes stand on what was once entirely farmland.  

The farm grows 30 varieties of fruit and 100 varieties of vegetables, including mangoes, papaya, bananas, coconuts and avocados. Inside the barn, a small market features products such as honey, hot sauce and eggs from local farmers and makers (alcohol fruit popsicles, Sisson was told, were far and away the best sellers). In front of the barn, community herb gardens lining the main drive were open to all; many residents said they stop by on their way home from work to pick herbs for their evening meals.

Arden, according to Sisson, is an artificial version of a healthy, farm-fresh lifestyle that, due to housing patterns and commercialized agriculture, is far from the norm in modern America. The farming itself isn’t communal or even expected (though volunteers are invited to lend a hand); it’s merely another feature or amenity in an upscale community. Home prices range from $300,000 to $900,000.

According to the Urban Land Institute, as of last fall, there were 90 agrihoods finished or in development across the United States, in places in or nearby Cincinnati; Grayslake, Ill.,; Gilbert, Ariz.; South Burlington, Vt.; Davis, Calif.; and Boise, Idaho.  

Many homeowners told Sisson they are living there in order to adopt healthier living habits. Nearby farmers felt the educational component was a great way to promote locally grown agriculture and help out struggling community farms.  

Residents pay just $20 per month, which is already included in HOA dues, to fund the farm’s operations, which include a box of fresh produce every four weeks. 

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