Compulsory CSA memberships, an organic farm for your kids to run through, cultivate and harvest, residents encouraged to create their own farming businesses. These are just some of the facets of ‘agrihoods’, the farm-focused housing developments that are sprouting up across the country. Instead of simply paving over arable land, developers are beginning to embrace agriculture to lure home buyers, create community and conserve land. Over 200 agrihoods currently exist in America. Here are 10 agrihoods every informed urban ag enthusiast should know about.
Ohio’s first ever agrihood, Aberlin Springs opened in late 2016 and was originally developed by the Aberlin family in the early 1990s. As of 2016, this 141 acre site will house 140 homes clustered around common land. 22 homes have already been built and the CSA (compulsory at $850 a year), wellness center and more homes are slated for construction or opening 2017-2018. At the center of the site is the Luff Farm which residents buy a share of as part of their moving to the neighborhood fees, operates on the farming methodology of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, offering closed loop agriculture and an emphasis on community. House prices range from 300K-$650K with lot sizes of 70-100 feet.
Founded in 2000, Agritopia is an established agrihood consisting of 160 acres and 450 homes. Agritopia promotes multi generational living and boasts a senior living center, as well as a private charter school system, a café and a restaurant. The 11 acre certified organic farm offers seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables to residents through its CSA as well as to 20 area restaurants. Agritopia’s community garden is comprised of 40 20×20-foot raised beds. Available housing ranges in price from $240K-$590K.
Built around two historic farms, Bucking Horse is a planned community focused on food access, education and building a thriving local small business network through their incubator-style Jessup Farm Artisan Village. The site offers a 5K trail system, a swimming pool and a clubhouse, and the city of Fort Collins is building a six acre park at the center of the village. The on-site farm is still developing and the CSA program is administered by local nonprofit Sproutin Up.
House prices range from $420K-$600K. The founders of Bucking Horse hope to be a model for triple bottom line sustainable communities.
Claiming to be California’s first farm-to-table designed community, The Cannery sits on the site of a former tomato canning factory approximately one mile from downtown Davis. The 100 acre site will offer 547 homes all solar powered with a goal of net zero consumption. Electric charging stations, solar panels and organic growing are central to the planning of The Cannery. The 7.4 acre on-site farm offers fresh produce to residents as well as a CSA and educational opportunities. Current available houses range from $700K-$900K.
Located 10 miles north of Boise on a former 1837 homesteading site of 1844 acres, Hidden Springs boasts a mercantile, a school, a post office, two pools, a fire station and a community focused on local agriculture and its role in everyone’s life. The community can hold up to 1000 houses with lots ranging from 10 to 1.88 acres. 800 acres of Hidden Springs is set aside for conservation. The 40 acre working farm on site is surrounded by several home types with current available home prices ranging from $300k-$900K.
Prairie Crossing refers to itself as a “conservation community” and consists of 400 homes on 675 acres. The community was founded in 1987 when several neighbors banded together to stop a developer from buying the land (after 15 years of legal battles). Prairie Crossing includes a 100 acre organic farm that offers educational programming as well as a CSA. Biodiversity and native landscaping are encouraged across the community. Houses at Prairie Crossing range in price from $200K-$400K.
Sendero Farming Community is part of the larger development managed by the Rancho Mission Viejo Co. and is comprised of 940 homes and 285 apartments on a working ranch next to a community farm. One of the newer agrihoods founded in 2013, Sendero Farm is already sold out. The ranch sports a second farm center village called Esencia offering similar amenities to Sendero. Sendero offers a 15 acre park, a 10 acre retail center, a club house, ranch house and nature reserve. Sendero Farms was named Master-Planned Community of the Year in 2014.
A gated agri-village that found its footing in 2009, Skokomish Farms is a farming community designed to encourage the homesteading spirit. Comprised of 40 acre lots (35 acres of which come under an agricultural easement) Skokomish Farms looks out onto 750 acres of protected organic land. The homestead size piece of land starts at $275,000 and residents are encouraged to grow their own farm businesses. Combined, the ag easements that come with each site create a 630 acre organic farm which is managed by the farm manager and includes livestock, vineyards, orchards and wetland.
South village is Vermont’s first agrihood and “conservation community” offering traditional housing designs combined with open community spaces. Streets are designed so that sidewalks are large and roads are narrow in South Village. The design of the community ensures 50 percent of the community is open space. There’s also a 30 acre community farm and 40 acres of protected wetlands. Comprised of 220 acres, this early agrihood offers a variety of home choices with a single family home priced in the $300K-$500K range.
The largest agrihood on the list, Willowsford, sits on 4,000 acres and has a reputation for community involvement. Willowsford Farm consists of 300 acres of managed land and offers 100 different varieties of vegetables through its CSA and farm stand. Available homes range in price from $400K to well over a million dollars. Despite its agricultural setting, Willowsford is just ten minutes from Dulles International and 40 minutes from downtown Washington D.C.