Farm-to-table eating means more than just asking your waiter where your vegetables were harvested. These days, the local food movement has become a lifestyle choice for families flocking to the approximately 150 "agrihoods" cropping up all over the country, according to the Urban Land Institute. These planned communities combine familiar amenities such as swimming pools and walking trails with an onsite farm where families can learn about planting and growing food as well as food preparation.
Here are a few examples of agrihoods around the country:
Willowsford, Ashburn, Virginia
The 4,000-acred community of Willowsford includes 2,000 acres of open space, a seven-acre lake and, eventually, 2,100 homes in four villages. Despite its size, the development manages to feel like a close-knit community and brings together residents for concerts, swim competitions, wine clubs, nature walks and, most importantly, food. The farm and nature conservancy are at the heart of the development and central to programs for children and adults who learn about gardening and farming. The community also has a demonstration kitchen and a teaching kitchen where residents of all ages can learn to cook with the ingredients grown onsite. More than 150 varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs and berries grow on the Willowsford farm, which also raises pigs, goats and chickens.
Located in the heart of Kohanaiki and managed by certified farmer Aaron Shapiro, this one-acre community farm produces many of the fruits and vegetables used in the club’s restaurants and catering services.
"At Kohanaiki, our bio-dynamic organic community farm reflects our commitment to sustainability, health and wellness, values which we’ve seen are at the forefront of priorities for luxury buyers," said Jeff Yamaguich, director of sales at Kohanaiki. "Members of our community benefit daily from the farm fresh ingredients used in our creative cuisine and spa treatments. Members may stroll through the farm and pick fresh fruit off the trees and also utilize our farm-sourced ingredients at member events, like the cooking class Executive Chef Patrick Heymann led at ‘E Ola Pono O Kohanaiki,’ our recent week-long health and wellness event."
Everything from guava, mango, pineapple, liliko‘i, taro, dragonfruit, and three varieties of bananas, to pomegranates, figs, okra, eggplant, ginger, lemongrass and Surinam cherries are grown on the farm, along with aloe vera and lavender.
Wallis Ranch, California
Located in the East Bay of the greater San Francisco region, Wallis Ranch features eight neighborhoods designed with wellness in mind. Among its outdoor amenities is an on-property orchard where residents can grow and pick their own produce and then cook farm-fresh meals with classes led by the Wallis Ranch Lifestyle Director. "Trumark believes the ‘Farm to Table’ or organic eating lifestyle is attractive to its homebuyers, especially in parts of the country like Northern California where people are very connected to nature and the outdoors," said Michael Maples of Trumark Communities. "Wallis Ranch was conceived with both small citrus orchard and organic gardens within the main clubhouse grounds in order to connect all our residents with this lifestyle component."
Wallis Ranch has drought-tolerant landscaping that uses reclaimed water throughout the community. More than half of the community’s acreage is devoted to green space including parks, trail systems and open space.
The Farm at Hokuala on the island of Kaua’i, located within the 450-acre resort of Hokuala and managed by Farmer Cody Meyer, is an organic community farm where kids can learn about island agriculture. Owners and guests at Timbers Kaua`i can walk over from their residences to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh ingredients like guava, bamboo and turmeric are used for dishes at nearby restaurant Hualani’s and for spa treatments at the in-house spa at Timbers Kaua`i. Beyond the benefits of conservation, fresh ingredients and agro-education, the Farm at Hokuala gives back to the local schools and community.