Agrihoods - Homes with Locavore Eating

At least once a generation, urbanites give living on or next to a farm—now dubbed an "Agrihood"—a shot. And then we forget.
Dec 17, 2015 9:00 AM ET

In this generation and the last, Agrihood has primarily meant luxury living in a rural setting, but such neighborhoods can and should include affordable housing. Farms may also solve some problems faced by the 100+ golf course communities faced annually with course closures.

Farms Essential

Historically, North American settlement brought European-style farms to feed the immigrants who birthed our founding fathers. Hand in hand with farms came various iterations of utopian communities. Each time we developed one, when it matured we forgot the community’s antecedents. Right: Serenbe's Farm is organic and next door.

Our agrarian economy shifted following World War II. By the 1950s about 36 percent of the populace still farmed. Even in decline, we romanced the farm, as the popularity of TV’s Lassie confirmed. However, Agribusiness changed farms. Machines replaced many people. Today, according to the Population Reference Bureau, only one percent of the U.S. population live on farms. However, according to the Census Bureau 59 million people, 21 percent of U.S. population live in rural areas, which I guess means that many are looking at farms, something CBS newscaster Mark Strassmann discussed when he interviewed Steve Nygren, Serenbe's developer) November 22.

Rise of the Agrihood

The 1960s brought the commune movement. By the '80s, some pioneering developers were incorporating orchards into their communities. The 90s brought Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, IL, commuting distance from Chicago. There were many other sustainable, new urbanist communities throughout the United States. In the 1990s, these conservation communities were duking it out with popular golf course communities. The 2000s have brought a new name—the Agrihood. The 1,000-acre Serenbe outside Atlanta with its 25-acre organic farm is a prime example.