the agrihood

posted August 7, 2018

agrihoods
Image Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Have you heard about agrihoods? The concept has been gaining popularity over the last few years and the term is short for “agricultural neighbourhoods”. Agricultural neighbourhoods is an unusual concept. Agricultural tends to conjure images of rural living, open spaces and sprawling farmland. Neighbourhoods on the other hand bring to mind images of suburbia or urban spaces – densely populated concrete jungles. The idea of an agrihood fuses these two very different concepts into something new and they are being heralded as a creation of millennials.

Reading the recent piece in the World Economic Forum on agrihoods, I couldn’t help but think back to the stories I have heard about wartime London, where public spaces were transformed into allotments to help people grow food for themselves. While this was primarily a government response to wartime food shortages that ceased shortly after the war, it makes for an interesting comparison nonetheless. Humans have been intentionally cultivating and growing food for 12,000, agriculture is the foundation of human civilisation and is something inherent in human nature. In time of hardship we turn away from importing food and grow it for ourselves instead.

Agrihoods, as far as I can tell do not spring from a lack of food or resources, but instead seem to be a creation of young, wealthy people with ample resources. “Agrihoods are designed to appeal to young, active families who love to eat healthy and spend time outdoors — and they’re not off the grid.” They are intentional communities designed to be working and sustainable living spaces. They represent a “confluence of economic profits, environmental good, and social benefit” that appeals to the millennial mindset.

The WE Forum article also makes an interesting comparison between the agrihood of today and the golf course preferred by our predecessors. In fact, in Palm Springs CA, developers are ripping out an 18 hole golf course in order to turn it into a olive grove which will serve as the epicentre for an agrihood called Miarlon.

I am excited about the potential of agrihoods. The more sustainable agriculture that we are practicing close to home the better for a multitude of reasons (not least that no food tastes as good as the food that you have grown and picked yourself). However in reading about these shiny new developments, I cannot help but be concerned that agrihoods may very well become the golf courses of tomorrow. With prices between $300,000 and $700,000 for a house in the Miralon community, only the already wealthy millennials will be able to benefit from this new trend. “Wealthy” is not a term typically used to describe millennials, so I have to wonder, who are these agrihoods being built for? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Click HERE to read the full article on the World Economic Forum