According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the year 2030 marks a demographic turning point for the United States when one in five Americans will be at retirement age. Over the next decade, the population of people over the age of 65 will grow by an astounding 11.1 million, according to the 2018 Household Projections report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). Under these assumptions, aging baby boomers will add some 8.4 million households that are either single persons or married couples without children living at home.
Many of these 8 million households are expected to relocate or downsize. The opportunity to enjoy a healthy lifestyle is a strong priority for many “over-55” homebuyers. Enter the agrihood, a healthy lifestyle community centered around a working farm. Often situated on heritage farmland or conservation land, agrihood communities offer a full array of amenities for residents such as boating, swimming, fishing, golf, horseback riding, and groomed trails for walking, hiking or biking.
Typically, agrihoods have a professionally managed farm and store, where residents buy freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and farm-raised eggs. The store may also sell food from local producers such as poultry farmers, ranchers, fisheries, and artisans.
There are about 90 agrihood communities throughout the nation, and many more on the way. Featured are a number of communities offering a variety of amenities and options for a well-lived life, and healthy aging.
Photo Courtesy: Chickahominy Falls
Pictured are residents enjoying a true “farm-to-table” dinner at Chickahominy Falls, an age 55+ community located near Richmond, Virginia. With eight distinct neighborhoods offering various home styles, residents have access to a clubhouse with a pool, walking trails, birdwatching, and fishing along the Chickahominy River. The heart of Chickahominy Falls is Woodside Farms, a 10-acre professionally managed farm that grows a curated mix of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers selected for their health and wellness benefits for people 55 and better. The community of 398 homes is built by Cornerstone Homes, a developer that exclusively builds homes for active adult communities.
Photo Courtesy: Cornerstone Homes for Chickahominy Falls
Arden, by Freehold Communities in Palm Beach County, Florida, is a healthy-living community centered around a 5-acre farm where residents enjoy a “living classroom” by working alongside Arden’s professional organic farmers. Arden’s residents also enjoy walking and biking through 20 miles of trails around Arden Lake, kayaking, bass fishing, and birdwatching. The community has a 24-hour manned gatehouse, and a clubhouse with resort-style pools, and offers 10 different single-story home plans from 3 builders. Arden received the 2020 Gold Award for “Best Amenity” by National Association of Home Builders.
Photo courtesy: Arden by Freehold Communities
Serenbe, located just outside of Atlanta in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia is a vibrant, walkable community situated on 1,400-acres. Comprised of five distinctive hamlets, the town square includes 5 restaurants, boutique shops, spa, art gallery, bookstore, professional workspaces, and townhomes. The 25-acre organic farm produces over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Well known for its cultural amenities, music festivals, and famed artist-in-residence program, Serenbe offers an abundance of activities for a residents of all ages. Future development plans include senior housing and an assisted living facility.
Photo Courtesy: Serosun Farms
Serosun Farms, located just an hour from downtown Chicago in Hampshire, Illinois, is situated on more than 400 acres of picturesque countryside with a 160-acre working farm. Residents enjoy fishing ponds, 40 acres of woodlands, and a world class equestrian center. Serosun is introducing active living cottages and an assisted living and memory care facility at the Illinois location.
Serosun’s future development plans include the construction of Rios Canyon Ranch, located on a 616-acre avocado ranch just east of El Cajon, California. The project features an integrated seniors community that features agricultural operations and many amenities. Seniors will have access to health and wellness programs and a continuum of care that ranges from active adult living to assisted living, skilled nursing, and hospice care—all within the community.
Del Mesa in Carmel, California is an over-55 agrihood community of 289 condominium units, one mile east of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Clustered in a parklike setting of specimen trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens, residents enjoy stunning views of the Carmel Valley, the Santa Lucia mountains, and Point Lobos.
Farmstead at Corley Ranch in Carson Valley, Nevada is a farm-to-table, master-planned community for active adult 55 and older. Set on the historic Corley Ranch in Douglas County, the farmstead clusters eco-friendly artisan studios, commercial space, and cottage and ranch homes around a community garden, green house, orchard, and iconic barn.
Olivette is a 346-acre planned community and historic farm, located along the French Broad River, just 6.7 miles from downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Olivette residents enjoy award-winning energy-efficient homes, a 6-acre organic farm, and access to riverfront parkland, a large private river island, several miles of walking trails, community gardens, a pavilion, amphitheater, and many events and activities.
“Interest from retirement-age homebuyers is increasing, and many have said that living in a multi-generational environment keeps them feeling younger,” says Mary Love, an Olivette resident and owner/broker of Love the Green Real Estate in Asheville. Mary has been selling real estate in the greater Ashville area for 17 years, and she’s seen a shift where over-55 homebuyers are moving away from gated communities and seeking nature trails and organic gardens.
Living in an agrihood community appeals to all our senses and brings back fond memories for many. Considered “porch-friendly” communities, these master-planned communities are winning awards for “best places to live,” due to their architectural styles and eco-friendly landscapes. Developers typically reflect the area’s landmark neighborhoods and you’ll see prairie, cottage or American farmhouse homes—many offering multi-generational floor plans. Because agrihoods are a relatively new concept, homes are sustainably built with energy conservation features.
If you’re looking to turn your energies from home maintenance to some healthy vegetable gardening, look no further than an agrihood—a wonderful place to retire.
About the Author:
Anna DeSimone is author of Welcome to the Agrihood--Housing, Shopping, and Gardening for a Farm-to-Table Lifestyle, winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and the Living Now Evergreen Award. She's also the author of Housing Finance 2020: New Mortgage Programs for the New Generation of Homebuyers, Silver Medalist Winner of Axiom Business Book Awards in Personal Finance, Retirement Planning and Investing. She is a nationally recognized expert in housing finance, and author of more than 40 professional guidebooks and over 600 articles on the topic of fair and responsible lending. In 1986, she founded Bankers Advisory, a mortgage compliance audit services company, acquired by Clifton Larson Allen LLP in 2014. She has been a featured entrepreneur by Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg Markets, named one of Housing Wire‘s Women of Influence, and has received awards from Acquisitions International and Wealth and Finance Magazine. DeSimone frequently provides expert commentary for news articles published by national media including: Apartment Therapy, Forbes.com, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Business Journal, Log Home Living, Michigan Chronicle, Newsday, The Penny Hoarder, Source Weekly, The Simple Dollar, and The Washington Post.