Thursday, 02 July 2009
In these days of depressed real estate, some developers are keeping their sales hot by making an organic farm the centerpiece of their development, The New York Times reported. Currently there are at least 200 developments that include agriculture as a key component according to the Urban Land Institute. In 2008, a 1756 acre Idaho development with an organic farm as its centerpiece realized a 61% price premium on the sale of its home sites over a nearby development with no farm and earned a $2.8 million dollar profit while still keeping 1000 of its acres open. Developers said that they had noticed that homeowners were willing to pay a 25 to 50% premium to live in America’s 16,000 golf course developments even though most of them didn’t play golf. A farm is far better because everyone eats. The Idaho developer said a farm creates permanent views, wholesome activities for children, access to walking and riding trails and inclusion in an epicurean club. Near the Atlanta airport, Atlanta restaurant impresario, Steve Nygren, has turned his 900 acre farm into a 220 home development that features an organic farm and "edible street landscaping" of blueberries, figs, peach and apple trees. Near Charlottesville, Virginia, a 2000 acre development has 300 Angus cattle grazing throughout the development. Once the development is completed, the grazing fee the rancher pays will go to help finance the homeowners association. The developers said that homeowners want a "working farm" that actually produces edible food and not a park. They said that the up-front costs of improving the soil enough to be farmed organically were high but not as high as putting in a golf course. The hardest part is finding an organic knowledgeable farmer to run the farm.
Allan Nation has been the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer since 1977.