By: Luke Runyon Published: Harvest Public Media, Dec. 8, 2013
For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.
A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision.
It’s called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture – a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In the planning process of a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production – a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park – that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together.
“These projects are becoming more and more mainstream,” said Ed McMahon, a fellow with the Urban Land Institute, who estimates more than 200 developments with an agricultural twist already exist nationwide.