55+ communities are jumping on the farm-to-table bandwagon.

Agrihood is a new buzzword among active adults. They are starting to pop up all over the U.S. and families of all ages are drawn to their health benefits and other lifestyle advantages. If you aren’t familiar with agrihoods, they are a new trend in planned communities that include working farms at their core as well as employees dedicated to promoting sustainable living.

The increase in urban living can make it hard for active adults to find fresh, local food, and a need has arisen. Easier access to high-processed foods like fast food burgers and pizza has saturated these markets. However, there's been a focus back to farming, eating local, and building community in recent years that have helped make agrihoods possible.

The Farm-to-Table Movement

From the 1950s to the 1970s, pre-packaged and canned foods were at their height of popularity. Over time people began understanding what processed foods were and that, while affordable, they are extremely unhealthy. Organic foods started trickling into the market and around the 1990s, farmers markets started popping up across the country. Around 20 years later, farm-to-table and farm-to-fork restaurants started appearing. 

These restaurants focus on the creation and development of local food systems that benefit the producers, consumers, and community. Their goal is to keep the sources and end users as close to one another as possible. Some of the first farm-to-table eateries like The Farm & Fisherman Tavern in Philadelphia, Lula Cafe in Chicago, and The Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton are privately owned and sourced. Now, there are even farm-to-table fast-chain restaurants like B.Good

Developing Agrihoods

A typical example of the working farm in an agrihood.

The next step in this progression is agrihoods. These communities are producing their own food, which eliminates the need for outside sources. They are also dedicated to long-term sustainability. This is accomplished by creating systems that will provide the food for the present and future generations. A good example of a working agrihood is The Cannery in Davis, California.

Southeast Florida’s first agrihood is being built in Loxahatchee. The 1,200-acre plot will have 2,000 homes, built around a five-acre farm. There are plans to raise herbs, vegetables, and tropical fruits. There will be two directors managing the farm, and residents will be invited to pitch in on the farming. They will also reap the benefits of the food and flowers harvested. Plans also call for hiking trails and a lake on the property; an event barn will sponsor classes and other events.

Some planned 55+ agrihoods include the massive Amblebrook near Gettysburg, PA, and Chickahominy Falls in Glen Allen, VA

Living The Agrihood Life

Is the farm-to-table lifestyle right for you?

Aside from having access to fresh food, agrihoods provide many other perks that come from small town living. Active adults can feel a strong connection with their neighbors since they are all working towards the same goals. The residents can find much of what they need right in their agrihoods: Food, exercise, social events, and walkability. These communities also leave a much smaller environmental footprint, since there is less driving and less traffic. Rather than simply using up ecological resources, they regenerate them.

There are vibrant agrihoods in Boise, Idaho, South Burlington, Vermont, and Gilbert, Arizona. Construction is underway on agrihoods in Orlando, Florida, Union Township, Ohio, and Asheville, North Carolina.

Would an Agrihood Fit Your Lifestyle?

These communities have great appeal for those that want the freshest, or “hyperlocal” food. Imagine eating a beet that was grown in a field down the road and harvested just that morning. They are also desirable for people that want the benefits of living in a small community. Some have called them “modern communes,” but agrihoods are nothing like the cooperatives of the past. If you are considering an agrihood, it would help to ask yourself a few questions first:

  • Is the agrihood close to other family members? It can feel isolating since they are so self-contained. Having relatives and friends nearby can be an important outlet.
  • Where are the closest medical facilities? Active adults need to make their health a top priority and this is accomplished by living near top-rated physicians and hospitals.
  • Are there bigger cities and towns nearby? You will probably want to leave the serenity of the agrihood and head out to catch a show, buy some clothes, see a movie, and such. You might even want to visit a non-farm-to-table restaurant! For these scenarios, living a drivable or walkable distance from these amenities is important.

There’s no question that agrihoods can offer a simpler living for 55+ adults. It all comes down to what type of lifestyle you desire. Making a move like this will require a bit of research and a weighing of the pros and cons. They may not meet everyone’s tastes, but they are definitely a worthwhile trend in today’s home buying market.