There was a time when golf courses, clubhouses, fitness centers, and pools ruled the community amenities offered in master planned communities (MPCs). Then it was collaborative “makerspaces,” dog-friendly commons, and more recently, pickleball courts.
But as land has become less available and more expensive, fewer master plan developers are teeing up golf courses. A number of them are using that land for rows of crops and groves of olive and citrus trees, creating “agrihoods” that not only feed an increasing consumer desire for health and wellness but also offer greater opportunity for community connection and what has become an enticement for home buyers in a competitive market.
A 2018 study by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) revealed that certain jurisdictions also award faster zoning approvals and entitlements for agrihoods, which helps to reduce project costs. In addition, the study found there’s increased buy-in from stakeholders, including public officials and investors, as well as the opportunity for local, state or federal incentives that reduce project costs through tax exemptions, reductions and rebates. In short, food is becoming smart business for developers.
Agrihoods: More Than a Garden
At a basic level, agrihoods are communities that feature a sincere farming component. While the definition can encompass several different models, an agrihood is not just a community garden but a working farm that produces food and can result in other benefits for the residents and even for the wider community beyond the MPC.
Although located mostly in the South and West, there are an estimated 200 agrihoods across the U.S. in at least 30 states, in rural communities to major cities, as Ed McMahon, a senior fellow of sustainable development at ULI, told Civil Eats, a nonprofit publication focused on sustainable food news.
Experts agree that an agrihood can be an effective — and still relatively novel — differentiator when home buyers are confronted with several MPCs competing for their attention and dollars. Naturally, people gravitate to places where they can engage with other people, and agrihoods have proven to be an effective conduit.
Learn more about the value of agrihoods, how to create them and why they’re attractive to today’s home buyers in this article from the November/December 2023 issue of Pro Builder magazine — produced by SGC Horizon, NAHB’s official media partner. NAHB members can access to the latest industry information through this excellent resource on nahb.org.