It’s time to expand your vocabulary beyond words like horsepower and acres. Instead, start conversing about such topics as local food, food waste, sustainable eating and more. This is because a growing segment of consumers, a new kind of prosumer, is looking for a connection to food as well as the rural lifestyle.
This segment wants to be part of local food production, but in a way that fits their suburban or urban lifestyle preferences. Think farm life with the amenities and attractiveness of a planned community and you have “agrihoods,” a real estate trend that started nearly 20 years ago.
There are about 150 agrihoods across the country, according to the Urban Land Institute. They are a big attractor for millennials, who represent the largest segment of American homebuyers today, according to the Zillow Group.
Some are massive developments, like Serenbe, located outside Atlanta, which is home over 400 residents and spans 1,200 acres. One under development now near Mukwonago, Wis., Agape Agrihood, is among the first in the state. It encompasses 36 acres and will have 10 1.5 acre lots, a community garden, apple orchard, barn, pasture and walking and horseback riding trails.
Curt Wiebelhaus, president of Building Solutions LLC, is the developer. He and his family will live in and manage the development. “People are attracted to these because they like the experience of a simpler lifestyle, but don’t want to leave their regular jobs and the conveniences of living near a populated area,” Wiebelhaus says.
Most of the people who are moving into the subdivision are from the area. “Many have smaller children. They might have grown up on farms and want their kids to have the same experiences,” he says.
Other residents might not want to participate in raising animals or gardening, but the concept is intended for them as well. “One of our first priorities is that we wanted our agrihood concept to be just another amenity. It’s the flavor of our development,” he says.
Wiebelhaus works with Proven Power Equipment’s Waukesha, Wis., which is just 12 miles away. He purchased a John Deere 4310 compact tractor with a John Deere 430 front-end loader along with a Tarter Countyline box plow, Dirty Hand Tools Model 110 post-hole digger and Frontier AP13F pallet forks. He has a John Deere MX5 5-foot rotary cutter and is hoping to purchase a finish mower.
He purchases equipment for his private use and for the development. “One of the reasons I love this development is that I have a reason to buy more equipment,” Wiebelhaus says.
Learn more about the agrihood trend from the Urban Land Institute and then look for ways to be part of the trend. For instance, consider reaching out to area real estate developers to get in early on any agrihoods that might be coming to your area. In fact, you may want to offer your expertise regarding maintaining the development and options for quiet and fuel-efficient equipment.
The concept is a new way to reach out to new customers who are excited to be part of a rural community in a way that matches their own lifestyle.