Throughout the past year, I have found myself deep in the world of agriculture and farming, trying to find what the future of growing food looks like. It’s incredible how many different ideas there are to be more sustainable in the farming sector. From no-till growing to advanced ways of composting, it seemed like the opportunities were almost endless. That’s when I found the concept of agrihoods – neighborhoods filled with plants, dirt, growers, and an incredible sense of community.
On Bainbridge Island in Washington, just across the bay from Seattle, there’s a small housing development that specializes in growing plants for its immediate community. Here, you’ll find houses equipped with solar panels, walking paths around the area, and large, open green spaces that all minimize environmental impact and maximize the feeling of a connected neighborhood. This space is called the Grow Community, and it’s small, but mighty in its mission to create a more sustainable lifestyle for all.
The Grow Community is just one of many different neighborhoods across America that specialize in this idea of growing food closer to the consumer. The concept may seem complicated, but the idea is relatively simple.
In a nutshell, when you find one of these neighborhoods, you’ll see a direct farm-to-table experience that allows for the consumer to have a more real, less industrialized connection with their food. In today’s world, the way most us consume food is through purchases made at some sort of grocery store.
Stores source much of the food they sell from farmers located across the state, region, and in some cases, the country. If these farms are not certified organic, they are able to use pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals to produce high yields for economic gain in the long-term. While this concept of farming isn’t necessarily always bad if done correctly, it can have major effects on the surrounding environment over time. In addition to this, by transporting a commodity from the farm to the consumer, a large amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere by the time the commodity reaches its destination.
In the end, this process begs the question – do we need a middle-man or market in the mix, or even an industrial producer at all for that matter? The short answer is still yes – in this day and age, it would be nearly impossible for a single person or family to source all of their food from a garden (though some people have done it). However, by placing an extra factor in this equation, in this case the agrihoods, we would be able to greatly reduce our impact on the environment even if we can’t go all the way. This immediate farm-to-table method allows for consumers to be their own producers and shrink the chain drastically.
Would you live in an agrihood? What do you think the benefits or consequences might be of this idea?