Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

Every once in awhile you hear a story that makes you smile down deep. More than a fad, this new model (ahem – make that “old model”) of suburban living could mark the resurgence of the village. Lets hope this catches on.

SpoonFed: Via NPR


When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.

But now, there’s a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.

It’s called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture — a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In planning a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production — a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park — that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together. [...] read more

Excerpt from Harvest Public’s Luke Runyon interview with Ed McMahon of Urban Land Institute

“These projects are becoming more and more mainstream,” said Ed McMahon, a fellow with the Urban Land Institute, who estimates more than 200 developments with an agricultural twist already exist nationwide.

“Golf courses cost millions to build and maintain, and we’re kind of overbuilt on golf courses already,” McMahon said. “If you put in a farm where we can grow things and make money from the farm, it becomes an even better deal. We’re producing a small profit, that is then driving sales, and then tying into the local food movement. A lot of things are converging here.”

As the local food movement has taken hold across the country with a growth in farmers markets and a surge in organic food sales, suburban developers have taken notice. Now they’re leveraging the movement’s in vogue status to build neighborhoods around farms and, ultimately, to sell homes.

In Fort Collins, Colo., developers are currently constructing one of the country’s newest development-supported farms. At first blush, the Bucking Horse development looks like your average halfway-constructed subdivision. But look a bit closer and you’ll see a rustic red farm house and a big white barn enclosed by the plastic orange construction fencing.

“When we show it, people are either like, ‘You guys are crazy, I don’t see the vision here at all,’ or they come and they’re like, ‘This is going to be amazing,’” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, who works for Bellisimo, Inc., the developer that purchased this 240-acre plot of land in 2010 to turn it into a neighborhood totally devoted to local food. […} read more