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Anatomy of an agrihood: Get back to the basics with farm-to-table living

agrihood farming community

Have you ever dreamed of ditching the city and heading out for wide open spaces where you can live off the land, only to then remember that farming is actually really hard work? Luckily, new planned communities called agrihoods let you embrace a farm-to-table lifestyle while leaving the crop cultivating to the professionals.

Agrihoods are making the simple life even simpler. Today, there are more than 200 of these neighborhoods in the U.S. spanning across 28 states, and many developers expect this trend to be the new preferred master plan community. And rather than a golf course or a yacht club, these HOA communities come with their own working farm.

Keep reading to learn more about these mixed developments or jump to a specific section in our guide:

Basics

What is an agrihood?

An agrihood is a mixed development that combines food and real estate. These neighborhood villages offer residential living with a farm-to-table focus for young, active families seeking a lifestyle centered around simplicity and sustainability.

While these communities are still somewhat of a novelty, demand is expected to grow now that millennials are the largest share of homebuyers on the market today. Agrihoods are part of a larger movement known as “new urbanism” to create walkable, mixed-use communities that prioritize healthful living and strong connections.

Living in an agrihood doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become a working farmer. Residents are encouraged to volunteer at the farm, but the actual work is done by professionals who tend to the land and then sell the produce to residents and retailers, such as nearby restaurants and grocery stores.

Features

Popular agrihood features

The main features of an agrihood are working farmlands and residential properties. Many expand upon this farm-to-table idea with additional amenities focused on communal living.

While every agrihood is different, here are some features that are found in these communities across the U.S.:

  • Working farm
  • Residential housing
  • Bee hives
  • Solar farm
  • Walking trails
  • Community herb garden
  • Horse stables
  • On-site kitchen and event space
Benefits

Benefits of living in an agrihood

So why are residents ditching the golf course and heading to organic farming communities? It’s likely all thanks to millennials, who are demanding big changes when it comes to real estate. Rather than huge houses, millennial families desire walkable communities outfitted with community gardens and a more sustainable approach to living.

Here are some of the top benefits you can enjoy while living in an agrihood:

1. Eat organic

Seventy three percent of Americans consider access to fresh, healthy foods a top priority. Eating clean is easy in an agrihood, since you can purchase produce directly from the source of your neighborhood’s working farm.

Families can also take advantage of culinary workshops on-site to learn the best recipes to make with the local ingredients. Some agrihoods even have restaurants where a chef whips up dishes from the crops grown on the working farms.

2. Get your hands dirty

While professionals tend to the working farmland, many agrihoods offer volunteer opportunities and community workshops for families to learn about crop cultivation. Whether it’s planting seeds in the fields or collecting eggs from the hen house, residents can learn more about the labor behind the foods that they eat through these programs.

Community gardens are another popular feature. Here, residents are encouraged to grow their own produce, herbs or flowers.

3. Access green spaces

Another feature of most agrihoods is access to outdoor green spaces such as parks, trails and gardens. Some neighborhoods even provide waterfront access and activities such as kayaking, tubing and more. Spending time outdoors promotes creativity, teaches responsibility and builds confidence in kids and adults alike.

Getting outside isn’t just good for your health: proximity to green spaces can increase your home value by up to 20%.

4. Commune with neighbors

A thriving agrihood is more than just a bunch of houses near a farm: It’s designed to be a lifestyle. A survey we ran revealed that only 33% of Americans consider their neighbors friends or close friends, but these farm-to-table communities are working to change that.

Many developers have outfitted agrihoods with event spaces, on-site kitchens for workshops and even restaurants and pavilion areas to inspire neighbors to commune with one another. Some come with their own libraries and even schools so children can play and learn together.

5. Live sustainably

If you are dedicated to living a more sustainable life, you will find a community of like-minded neighbors here. The average piece of produce is shipped 1,500 miles before it reaches the plate but agrihoods let residents reduce their carbon footprint providing farm fresh ingredients in walking distance.

In addition to organic farming, many neighborhoods are also outfitted with sustainable technologies and eco-friendly waste removal practices, such as solar farms and compost piles. Some developers also embrace green building practices such as LEED certifications and Energy Star ratings in the residential properties and community buildings.

Popular agrihoods

5 notable agrihoods in the U.S.

There are over 200 agrihoods in the U.S. today scattered across 28 states. Whether you are looking for inspiration or searching for a new place to call home, check out our list of notable communities:

1. Agritopia in Phoenix, AZ

As the name suggests, Agritopia is a community village centered around a working farm. The neighborhood is located just outside of Phoenix in the suburb of Gilbert, Arizona. There are more than 11 acres of organic farmland growing crops such as artichokes, zucchini, peaches, olives, tomatoes and more.

In addition to the farm and residential housing, Agritopia also has a restaurant using ingredients forged from the farm. There’s also a coffee shop where neighbors can gather, local shops to peruse and green spaces, gardens and parks for children and adults to enjoy.

2. Willowsford, Ashburn, VA

Recently named the #1 hottest neighborhood in the U.S. for homebuyers, Willowsford is a farm-to-table community located just 40 minutes outside of Washington D.C.. The village combines resort-style amenities such as pools and an amphitheatre with more sustainable features including a canoe launch, 20 miles of trails and family campgrounds to name a few.

Willowsford’s mission is to inspire authentic experiences through connecting with the natural world. The on-site kitchen and event space allow residents to interact with one another and enjoy the crops and flowers grown on the farm.

3. Olivette in Asheville, NC

The agrihood of Olivette was named 2019’s Best Green Community in the U.S. by the National Association of Home Builders. Located near the French Broad River just outside of Asheville, this community is committed to sustainable living and honoring its historic past in early America.

On-site there are free community bikes, eight miles of walking trails and river adventures like tubing. There is also a K–8 school being built on the property and multiple little free libraries for residents to enjoy.

The farm combines a series of modern and traditional farming techniques across four -acres. Residents and visitors can volunteer to help cultivate the many crops grown here; these crops are then sold back to residents, local farmers and Asheville restaurants.

4. South Village in Champlain Valley, VT

Vermont’s first agrihood is a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and rentals centered around The Farm at South Village. The community also embraces green building practices and has a solar farm that currently powers the City of South Burlington’s essential infrastructure.

Through a community stewardship program, residents can contribute to the farmland by growing crops in the community garden, taking care of laying hens, composting kitchen scraps and waste and volunteering in the fields or greenhouses.

5. Kukui’ula in Kauai, HI

On the South shore of Kauai you’ll find a community that combines high-class luxury with farm-to-table experiences. There are resort-style amenities such as a golf course and spa and outdoor adventures such as sailing canoes, kayaks, surf lessons and more.

Unlike other agrihoods on our list, the farm at Kukui’ula is solely for residents to enjoy. Described as a 10-acre wonderland, the farm features free produce where residents can pick their own tropical fruits, vegetables and flowers. There’s also a self-serve produce stand outside the golf clubhouse.

This community comes with a high price tag, though. Expect to pay at least $1 million to purchase property on-site even before you factor in monthly HOA fees.

Ready to live in an agrihood? These unique villages are a growing niche in the real estate world. If this farm-focused, sustainable lifestyle sounds like it’s for you, check out our infographic below!

Infographic

Living on an agrihood can also decrease your monthly homeowner’s insurance cost, since many of these developments are new property builds. Because the farm on-site is fully operational on its own, you won’t need to purchase additional farm insurance, although some farm related costs may be factored into your HOA fees.

Source:

Urban Land Institute

The ZebraResource Center