FILMS FOR ACTION
FILMS FOR ACTION NEEDS YOUR HELP
We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Please help us by committing $5 a month.

'Agrihoods' Offer Suburban Living Built Around Community Farms, Not Golf Courses

The model takes the idea of farm-to-table to the next level.
By Joseph Erbentraut / huffingtonpost.com
Sep 30, 2015
1
'Agrihoods' Offer Suburban Living Built Around Community Farms, Not Golf Courses

The phrase “planned community” conjures up a lot of images -- maybe a swimming pool, obsessively manicured lawns, white picket fences -- but a farm is probably not one of them. 

Pushing back against that stereotypical image of suburban living is a growing number of so-called “agrihoods” springing up nationwide. These developments center around a real, functional farm as their crown jewel. According to CivilEats, there are currently about 200 of them nationwide. 

The latest, called The Cannery, officially opened this past Saturday on a site that was previously home to a tomato cannery facility located about a mile outside downtown Davis, California. The 100-acre project of the New Home Company development company is considered to be the first agrihood to take root on formerly industrial land. All of its 547 energy-efficient homes will be solar-powered and electric car-ready, KCRA, NBC’s Sacramento affiliate, reports.

The Cannery is unique for other reasons, too. The community’s 7.4-acre farm will be managed by the Center for Land-Based Learning, a nonprofit group that plans to run agricultural education programs for students and aspiring farmers from the site in addition to a commercial operation focusing on organic vegetables once they’ve raised money for farm equipment and improved the soil, CivilEats reports.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">The farm on the site of The Cannery in Davis, California.</span>

KCRAThe farm on the site of The Cannery in Davis, California.

There is a cost to all of this, of course. Homes in The Cannery range from the mid-$400,000s to just over $1 million, according to the Sacramento Bee. The median sales price for listings in the market is $524,000, toward the lower end of that range.

While the term “agrihood” may be relatively new, the concept is not. As Modern Farmer pointed out in a 2014 story, the broader concept has roots dating back to the mid-1800s. The nation’s first planned community, in Riverside, Illinois, had a decidedly pastoral feel falling somewhere in the middle of city and country life. 

And many established agrihoods have been around for some time, such as the Agritropia community in Gilbert, Arizona, the Serenbe development outside Atlanta and Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Illinois, all of which were established over a decade ago and appear to be flourishing.

While some have criticized the developments as an attempt at greenwashing in order to find buyers for locations that would otherwise be less popular, the trend is not showing signs of slowing down. 

The foodie generation has come of age,” Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute told Bloomberg this year. “The mainstream development community has come to think of these as a pretty good way to build a low-cost amenity that people seem to like and that also adds authenticity.” 

Newer agrihood developments include the Sendero village of Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, California, and the Kukui’ula community in Kauai, Hawaii. 

"I yearn, and I think a lot of people yearn, for the Earth to be connected with the source of our food,” a Sendero resident told the Los Angeles Times last year. "To get your hands dirty with growth ... I think it's good for the soul."

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 22.1520023345947px; background-color: #efefef;">A community garden is in the works at Rancho Mission Viejo on June 25, 2104 in San Juan Capistrano, California. Rancho Mission Viejo is a suburban development that follows the rough model of an 'agrihood.' The development includes backyard gardens, community gardens and a one-acre resident organic farm. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)</span></span>

GINA FERAZZI VIA GETTY IMAGES A community garden is in the works at Rancho Mission Viejo on June 25, 2104 in San Juan Capistrano, California. Rancho Mission Viejo is a suburban development that follows the rough model of an 'agrihood.' The development includes backyard gardens, community gardens and a one-acre resident organic farm. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Trending Videos
Culture In Decline
The Bloom Series: A Journey Through Transformational Festivals
Watch On Netflix
Featured Documentaries

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations, while 99% of our library is free to access and always will be. The pay-per-view films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patrons, we partner with filmmakers and distributors to provide free access to a growing number of films that are normally pay-per-view. With just 20 highly curated films at the moment, it's basically a very, very tiny Netflix for world changers, but its main function is to support the library as a whole.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker looking to collaborate, feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,  Tim Hjersted