Agrihoods - Urban Farming In 2019
Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug
Everyone pack your bags we’re moving to the nearest agrihood. Tree huggers unite, hippies rejoice, wellness advocates blow your horns and vegans celebrate!
Agrihoods, short for "agricultural neighborhoods" are farm-centered communities that are continuing to grow across the country. These environmentally conscious communities center around a shared working farm but they aren’t just for the uber health-conscious. Many millennials, baby boomers, and retirees are seeking out these neighborhoods in rural, suburban, and urban spaces.
Community and local food are at the core of an agrihood
Developers began creating agrihood communities about 20 years ago but the concept has taken off in the past decade. According to the Urban Land Institute, there are now more than 200 agrihoods in the United States and the number is growing.
Planned around a farm, agrihoods provide access to beautiful landscapes, locally grown food, and homes built to environmentally friendly standards. Health, wellness, nature, community, access to real food and hyperlocal food production are the driving force behind the creation of agrihoods. Many agrihoods are designed with tons of open space that include parks, trails and gardens. Agrihoods often incorporate methods of sustainability, solar power, composting, and grey-water systems all leading to a zero waste goal. All vary in terms of what they offer, some of the more developed agrihoods have retailers, restaurants on-site, community-based activities and volunteering options to work on the farm.
Agrihoods promote sharing, collaboration and a more environmentally-friendly diet.
One of the main intentions behind agrihoods is to merge the concept of home with outdoor, natural living. When you look at pictures of existing agrihoods, you can’t help but hear the kumbuya song playing in your head. If living closer to nature and in a like-minded community interests you, agrihoods will feel like a modern day Pleasantville.
People who live in agrihoods become close with their community, nature, and their food supply. It’s building on the farm-to-table concept and taking it to a whole other level. The objective is to create a sustainable food system for the entire community and provide easy access to agriculture for everyone who lives there.
Farmers benefit by being a major part of agrihoods
How can you not have a huge amount of respect for farmers? Every time I see the bumper sticker that says “no farms, no food”, I throw out an air kiss to show my appreciation for everything they do. I grew spinach once and that gave me a tiny glimpse into how much work goes into farming. Yeah, I felt like a boss picking my own crops and it was the best spinach I’ve ever had but that was the last time I ever grew anything. Farmers, I’m leaving it up to the pros from now on.
Most agrihoods are based around a working farm, which can provide steady jobs to farmers. Most U.S. farm households can’t solely rely on farm income, turning what was once a way of life into a part-time job. Often an agrihood will hire a farm manager and pay a much higher salary than the farmer could make on their own. And agrihoods can provide a great first job to beginning farmers who may not be able to afford their own land but are willing to work on the agrihood in exchange for a salary and the work experience. Since agrihoods often serve as an agricultural educational center as well, farmers in nearby areas also benefit from an agrihood.
It’s all good in the neighborhood
Sociability is a major element of agrihoods. If they had a tagline it would probably be something like “peace, love and a whole lot of veggies.” Residents develop real friendships and it becomes a tight-knit community to live in.
Agrihoods create a sense of community, produce nourishing food, and hope to give people a more fulfilled and simplistic life. It’s a movement that’s connecting people to where their food comes from, creating community experiences and bringing nature to your front door. These communities feel like a bold response to the digital age and an admirable move to bring more authenticity to people’s everyday lives.