The New York Times ran an article recently about a new-ish type of housing development known as agrihoods. These developments center around a working farm rather than a golf course, fitness center, etc. In addition to lower infrastructure and maintenance costs the communities also have a potential for tax breaks due to preserving agricultural space. The article features the agrihood community known as Agritopia in Arizona:
Sixteen of Agritopia’s 160 acres are certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep). Fences gripped by grapevines and blackberry bushes separate the farm from the community’s 452 single-family homes, each with a wide front porch and sidewalks close enough to encourage conversation. A 117-unit assisted- and independent-living center is set to open this summer.
The hub of neighborhood life is a small square overlooking the farm, with a coffeehouse, farm-to-table restaurant and honor-system farm stand. The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey, which come with a $100-a-month membership in the community-supported agriculture, or C.S.A., program. Neighbors trade recipes and gossip, and on the way home can pick up dinner from one of a few food trucks stocked by the farm.
Community members pay no fees to support the farm outside their CSA membership, and leftover crops are sold at farmers’ markets and to area restaurants. The article also highlights a few other agrihoods across the country.