Living in the suburbs doesn’t just mean quiet neighborhoods, picket fences and swimming pools anymore. The stereotype image of suburban living is being shattered with the fast-growing trend of “agrihoods,” a modern twist of neighborhoods inside suburban areas offering a farm lifestyle.
California, Illinois and Georgia are just a few of the many states that already run real, fully functioning farms in the suburbs. As of late 2015, there were more than 200 of them nationwide with plans for many more. Many of these communities farm between 100 to 400 acres and offer custom, luxury homes that sit on an acre or more of land. In the center is a functioning farm that produces everything from fruits and vegetables to an operating equestrian center, depending on the community.
The downfall is that these properties do come with a hefty price tag. Many agrihood homes range from $400,000 to $1 million. The high prices leave some interested consumers apprehensive, leaving comments on agrihood articles like, “I thought about the possibility of buying into (the agrihood), but the half million price tag scared me away. In order for this idea to take off, you have to make it within people’s reach.” Others claim that they would only be able to afford an agrihood property if they won the lottery.
On the flip side, what would be underutilized land is now being reinvented into a source for fresh produce – calming people’s concerns around food security. The challenge is sustaining the gardens if there is a loss in momentum. It’s also a smart business decision for developers since prices for the land is often cheaper than true farm prices.
So far, results show that agrihoods are working and effective. An agrihood dating back to the early 1990’s, Prairie Crossing in Illinois, is still fully operating today. It is known for its 100-acre working farm and for leasing our parcels to new farmers who want to complete journeyman work.
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