3 Agrihoods in the Mountain West
Sustainable high-country living at its best with a farm-to-table lifestyle
The newest trend in housing is the agrihood, a residential community centered around a working farm, where homeowners are just steps away from bountiful crops of freshly harvested food.
Typically surrounded by conservation land, agrihood residents can enjoy miles of trails for walking, hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding alongside natural habit. A number of communities are built on heritage farmland or ranches, where barns, silos, and windmills dot the landscape.
Most agrihoods have a professionally managed farm and store, where residents purchase fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and farm-raised eggs. The store may also sell food from local producers such as poultry and dairy farmers, ranchers, fisheries, and artisans who share the farm’s high standards for sustainable agriculture. Homeowners typically receive a weekly “share box” from the farm under a community supported agriculture (CSA) or similar harvest-share program.
With thoughtful attention to the environment and land preservation, agrihood developers utilize responsible water re-use and agricultural practices that support biodiversity and natural wildlife.
Because the agrihood concept is relatively new, homes are sustainably built with energy conservation features such as: solar power, high-performance windows, Energy Star® appliances, fiber-optic cabling, and geothermal heating and cooling. A number of communities offer homes with “net zero” capability.
Here, tour 3 agrihoods in the Mountain West.
Dry Creek Ranch — Boise, Idaho
Dry Creek Ranch is set on 1,400 beautiful acres, with breathtaking views, expansive open space, a professionally managed farm, and a strong commitment to sustainability. Dry Creek runs through the community, along with miles of groomed trails and a regional trail system. “People can ride the Eagle Bike Park from the Boise River to the top of the mountains and back home in one day,” says Stephen Siwek, the builder’s representative at Boise Hunter Homes and Dry Creek Ranch homeowner.
Homebuyers can choose from a variety of models and can personalize their floor plan to suit their needs. A range of lot sizes is available, including parcels large enough for homeowners to keep a horse on their property. Homes are sustainably built with energy conservation features. Dry Creek has its own water treatment facility and utilizes environmentally responsible water re-use irrigation systems for its greenspaces. Developers have donated land to build an elementary school in the West Ada district.
Dry Creek Ranch’s working farm is thoughtfully managed by Dan Meyer (Farmer Dan) who delivers freshly harvested food to residents each week under a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Residents can attend Dan’s cooking classes and training workshops.
Fox Hill — Franktown, Colorado
Fox Hill, located in Franktown, Colorado, is home to Castlewood Canyon, filled with hiking trails, rolling hills, majestic ponderosa pines, and views of Pikes Peak and the Colorado Front Range.
The Fox Hill community is anchored by a 1912 Charleston-style farmhouse, along with the barn and silos from the original historic homestead. Fox Hill Farm operates at a biological level, a step above organic farming, with proactive soil amendments and testing.
Residents can enjoy farm-fresh apple and pear orchards, a berry-picking patch, row gardens, flowers, farm-fresh eggs, honey, and yields fresh produce boxes. The farm features an English-style greenhouse with an aquaponic system that supports a year-round growing system.
Fox Hill Farm creates a sustainable living environment that preserves history, conserves the land, and offers homebuyers eco-friendly energy options such as geothermal heating and cooling, and 1G fiberoptic technology. Homebuyers can choose from a variety of innovative designs and acreage ranging from 1.5 to 4.4 acres. Shown is the Breezeway model from Gladstone Custom Homes.
Bucking Horse — Fort Collins, Colorado
Bucking Horse is a 160-acre agrihood that features a trail system, community fruit trees, and gardens alongside native natural grass landscape. The community was built around two historic farmsteads, Johnson Farm, and Jessup Farm, home of the Jessup Farm Artisan Village. Bucking Horse offers a 5K integrated trail system, edible landscapes, olympic-sized swimming pool with a youth swim team, and health-inspired retailers.
The Bucking Horse community provides excellent wildlife habitat for birds, insects, rabbits, and small mammals that feed and live in the natural environment. Homebuyers can choose a farmhouse style or other design for available lots. Jessup Farm has public garden beds, a chicken coop, and a farm-to-fork restaurant serving produce grown on site.
Anna DeSimone is author of Welcome to the Agrihood, Housing, Shopping, and Gardening for a Farm-to-Table Lifestyle. She is a nationally known industry expert on housing finance and received the Axiom Business Book Award for her book, Housing Finance 2020.