Agrihoods, as they’re known, such as the 359-home Prairie Crossing outside Chicago, began cropping up in the 1980s. What’s changed is the size and number of projects and the entry of large corporate developers. A restored 19th century farmhouse and 5-acre commercial farm sets Harvest apart from other subdivisions northwest of Dallas, according to Tom Woliver, Hillwood’s director for planning and development. “You need to attract some interest,” he says. “Food brings everyone together.”
At the Willowsford development in Virginia, Susan Mitchell says the outdoor stand selling community farm berries, asparagus, and carrots is a gathering place for neighbors. Mitchell, who bought a four-bedroom Hovnanian Enterprises house with her husband, can walk to the stand with her young sons, stopping along the way to pick flowers, pet goats, and chat with the resident farmer. “It’s having a little more nature in your backyard than the normal community,” she says.