May 25, 2017

Agrihoods are Taking Root

In America, we crave a sense of unity with the people living around us, friendly and walkable neighborhoods, locally grown food free of chemicals and a connectedness to our agricultural past that accommodates our urban careers.

Although appreciative of suburban spaciousness, we’re hungry for togetherness. And for many of us, free time is so limited that we may be able to plant tomatoes but not a whole garden. Wouldn’t it be nice, we think, if we knew the farmers who grew what is in our salad bowl?

Mixing It Up in the Agrihood

What we need is a fresh, mixed salad of a neighborhood called an agrihood. It’s a relatively new kind of planned community that typically includes a working farm or community garden.

As the rural technology program ATTRA of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) says, the concept behind agrihood real estate developments is officially referred to as development-supported agriculture.

NCAT, is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is dedicated to the sustainability of American agriculture. Agrihoods help sustain agriculture while supporting a connected, small town lifestyle for their residents.

ATTRA notes that agrihoods usually have 100 to 1,000 homes, but some may encompass a few thousand. Developers began creating these communities about 20 years ago, ATTRA says, but the concept has taken off in the past decade. The organization reports that “many developers” are changing “their mindset” about the value of building golf-course centered communities, especially because many of the residents don’t play golf.

According to the organization, agrihood developers may create communities surrounding existing farms. Yet even when they build new farms, ATTRA reports, developers discover their costs are far less than they would be if building and maintaining a golf course.

Growing Nationwide

The development of agrihoods is a nationwide movement from Hawaii to North Carolina. We’re proud to say, we’re on trend at Wallis Ranch, which encompasses eight neighborhoods and is a half-hour drive north of Silicon Valley. The National Association of Home Builders has named us its 2017 Master Planned Community of the Year.

Sociability is a major element of planned communities. The central common area at Wallis Ranch includes a fitness center, pool, spa, barbecue area and a large community garden.

To feed the feeling of community togetherness, Wallis Ranch harbors a farm-style clubhouse, known as the Kindred House, for gatherings. Amenities at this open-air haven include an outdoor den of comfortable couches and armchairs surrounding open-air fire pits.

The atmosphere at Wallis Ranch is welcoming. Yes, you can drive into your garage and hang out in your backyard, but you can also defy the single-family, detached norm in this suburb just a quick ride from light rail and the city.

Like other agrihoods, Wallis Ranch is a place designed for putting down roots and sharing the produce.

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