All over the United States locavors (one committed to eating food grown or produced locally) are embracing local food production in an exciting new way. Called an “agrihood” (a blend of neighborhood and agriculture), this new type of neighborhood serves up farm-to-table living, often using organic growth techniques with minimal use of pesticides or fertilizers in a cooperative environment. Instead of being built around a pool, golf course, or tennis court, these housing developments are centered around a farm, frequently using the sweat-equity of residents to create a sustainable food system for the entire community.
All agrihoods contain a centerpiece farm which provides produce and related agri-products for its community. The tenant farmer educates homeowners about farming through “test” gardens; showing residents gardening methods, how to grow responsibly, and how to maintain their own allocated garden plot. Housing developments built within this CSA-like (Community Supported Agriculture) philosophy framework often have their own nature trails, fork-to-table restaurants, secure storage facilities, and feature edible landscaping. Over abundant harvests may be shared or sold, usually at a local produce stand, or to local restaurants to monetarily support community growers.
Agrihoods have five imperatives:
1. COMMUNITY – Hunger fulfillment, safe habitat, secure storage
2. ENVIRONMENT – Land and water conservation
3. EDUCATION – Food source knowledge, responsible growing
4. HEALTH – Encourage exercise, healthful diet, and socialization
5. ECONOMICS – Green/Energy saving construction, harvest sharing
Community gardens, urban agriculture, and co-housing communities are not new, but there is a rapidly growing interest in the sustainable-living life style, the sharing-neighborhood prospective. Especially for families seeking living expense economic relief, individuals looking for collaborative partnerships, and seniors searching out social fulfillment alternatives.