Agrihoods – What are they, Where are they, Why it matters?
What is an Agrihood?
The popularity of planned suburban home developments in the United States stretches back to the 1950s. Many soldiers returning from World War II were anxious to acquire a home and start a family, and the GI bill provided low-interest loans that helped kick-start the postwar housing boom. Many post-war subdivisions consisted of identical home designs packed within cul-de-sacs and along broad streets, often located far from a city center.
Although this type of mass-produced subdivision has been popular for decades, residents of these cookie-cutter housing developments often felt isolated from their neighbors due to the subdivision design and lack of central gathering places and walkable streets. But in the 21st century, many millennials, baby boomers, and retirees are seeking out neighborhoods that have more direct relationship to the land and to local food. An increasingly popular subdivision design, called an Agrihood, is helping to fill this desire to connect more closely with their community, with nature, and with their food supply.
Unlike the thousands of golf-course developments in the nation, where homes are built around a central golf course and club house, an Agrihood is built around a working farm, with much of the land preserved for growing food or set aside in conservation easements.
In some Agrihoods, the homeowners surrounding the working farm own shares in the farm, and can choose to be actively involved in the planting and harvesting of crops if they desire. The Agrihood residents may also hire a farm manager to live onsite and manage the day-to-day operation. More officially called development-supported agriculture, or *Community Supported Agriculture, the Agrihood concept is fairly new to suburban developers. A few community-owned farmsteads were built in the past 20 years or so.
Types of Agrihoods
Agrihoods typically feature a central working farm, which can include livestock, orchards, vineyards, and row crops. Agrihoods can vary dramatically in total acreage, number of home sites, and farm size. The smallest Agrihoods are sometimes called microhoods, which consist of less than a dozen homes that surround a large community garden or small farm the residents of these small Agrihoods may be much more active in farm management than larger Agrihoods, with residents choosing what crops to plant and how to market the produce. The most common Agrihoods in the United States range in size from 100 to 1,000 home units, with a significant portion of land set aside for the working farm and protected areas. In many cases, these Agrihoods are built around farms that have been in the same family for generations, and the farm family is behind the development. At the largest end of the Agrihood spectrum are new development-supported agriculture projects that may contain several thousand homes and have hundreds of acres set aside for farming or land conservation. A large Agrihood currently under construction near Orlando, Florida, called Lake Pickett South, will contain almost 3,000 homes. This Agrihood, which will cost about $1 billion to complete, will feature a 9-acre farm, almost 20 acres of community gardens, and a farm-to-table restaurant the developer estimates it will take about 20 years to fully build out the Agrihood.
Why? The Benefits of an Agrihood
While a traditional rural development often has only one home for every 1, 5, 10 or even 20 acres, an Agrihood typically has a much denser housing component, which can keep a much larger portion of land in agriculture or green space than an unplanned subdivision might use. And new agricultural preservation policies at the city and county level are becoming increasingly common across the United States these new zoning approaches can help direct developers to preserve open land and farm operations in Agrihoods.
Agrihoods provide many financial benefits for developers and farmers, but the major driving force behind the growth in Agrihoods may be the desires of homeowners to be closer to nature and to experience the community that develops around a working farm.
Agrihoods have spread rapidly in the past decade, and the number of new developments is accelerating. The combination of reduced developer costs and increased demand from prospective homeowners seeking a residential setting more in touch with nature has made this new agricultural sub-division design increasingly desirable. Agrihoods can be especially beneficial to communities if they are developed on brownfields or other abandoned and disturbed lands, and can help communities suffering from insufficient housing if the Agrihoods provide low- and moderate-income housing. While the seemingly sudden appearance of Agrihoods over the past decade across may seem to be just the latest development trend, it may in fact represent a revolutionary and permanent change in new home subdivision design.
*CSA Stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA allows city residents to have direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer.
Agrihood developers target different income and age clientele in their home developments and locations. In some cases, high-end homes are the norm, with million-dollar homes common, such as the Kukui’ula Agrihood development in Hawaii. On the other end of the spectrum, some Agrihoods target low-income and senior citizens, as well as mixed-generation developments. The Win6 development near Santa Clara California is an example of an Agrihood that consciously targets a percentage of its homes for low-income and senior citizen residents.
Welcome to Tarleton Ranch Eco-Village, a new Agrihood for the Taos Area
Imagine a place where you know your neighbors—and they know you. Where you meet the world out your front door and nature out your back door. Where small-town living meets city amenities.
Tarleton Ranch Eco Village is designed to be a progressive community connected to nature; a neighborhood full of fresh food, fresh air and focused on well-being. This community is set among acres of designated farmland with amazing mountain views and nature trails that connect a variety of housing types: small homes, townhomes, patio homes, courtyard homes, single family homes, live works served by the commercial district: restaurants with art center, businesses, office, retail. TREV’s architectural planning draws on the rich and varied Taos cultural heritage setting a new standard for community living.
No matter the season, something is always happening at TREV. Experience everything from gallery exhibits and artist lectures to world-class dinners and outdoor concerts and events. Or simply stargaze, wander the trails, gaze at the majestic mountains or sit near an outdoor fireplace.