J. Ashley, courtesy of Serenbe At the corner of New Urbanism and the local-food movement, a new type of neighborhood is rising: a tight-knit community built around an organic farm. With dozens of these communities filling up fast and hundreds more in the planning stages, “agrihoods” are one of the success stories of the postcrash housing market. An agrihood is a planned development combining clustered houses and broad natural landscapes with farm-to-table living. It includes markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) pickup points, community kitchens, and classroom areas, as well as miles of walking trails—all places for people to meet naturally and share experiences. Developers are catching on as farm-based communities generate headlines, which drive brisk sales and a 10% to 25% premium in home prices. Developers also like how the clustered housing and amenities can mean millions of dollars less for streets and sewer lines. Younger homebuyers, more interested in healthy food and hands-on living than golf courses and suburban sprawl, are drawn to the walkability and sense of community in these developments. Baby boomers, feeling nostalgic for simple pleasures that were common not so long ago, are flooding in also. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” says…
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I wish an Agrihood had been available when I purchased my first and second home. As it is, I have to drive 10 to 30 miles to farmers markets which offer scant organic choices and are only available is summer months. I can see the governing of such communities becoming difficult, but it's a worthwhile paradigm shift in community living and I hope it works and becomes more the norm.