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Image courtesy Agrihood


This San Francisco Housing Development Comes With Its Own Farm

Some things just scream “San Francisco.” The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, cable cars — they’re all associated with San Francisco as the city is with them, but a new housing development from Agrihood may take the “peak California” crown by including something you might not expect in its plans: its own farm.

“Not only are we providing a really unique living experience for the residents that live on the property, but we’re also taking a very deliberate approach to encouraging the health and wellness of our residents by incorporating the farm,” explains Vince Cantore, vice president of development with the Core Companies and developers of the Agrihood. “Hopefully, into their daily and weekly lifestyles.”

The development itself is a mixed-income apartment complex in the Santa Clara neighborhood. The development covers 5.8 acres, and consists of 361 total housing units. Of those, 181 are priced below market rate, with 36 units reserved for moderate income renters and 165 units set aside for low-income seniors and veterans. The Agrihood complex also contains 30 (probably pricier), townhomes and features a central 1.5-acre organic farm built on the site of what used to be one of the many orchards that covered the San Francisco suburbs in decades past.

The farm isn’t just a proposed part of the project, either. It’s there, and it’s ready to be put to real use. “The agricultural spaces are expected to be productive soon after residents arrive,” reads the development’s website. “Preparation and cultivation of the land will begin shortly after the project’s approval, with delivery of hyper-local fruits, veggies, herbs, and nuts soon to follow! Three rotations of food crops are expected per year, (and) the farm will utilize organic and regenerative methods to obtain maximum yields while maintaining sustainable practices.”

Food crops will be prioritized, and those will be chosen based on factors like time of year and weather (read: drought) conditions with a mix of some expert advice and input from the buildings’ residents determining the mix. In practice, that looks like this (from the website):

  • Comfort foods: tomatoes, zucchini, romaine lettuce, eggplant, onions, and sweet potatoes

  • Superfoods: kale, parsley, collard greens, and chard

  • Native foods: quailbush, strawberries, yerba buena, watercress, prickly pear, huckleberries, elderberries, and chia

  • Perennials: citrus trees, dwarf apple, pear, plum, apricot, almond and nectarine. Additionally, avocados, walnut and persimmons are being considered. Berry vines and grapes for wine will cover fences, arbors and trellises. Other perennials that may include sorrel, New Zealand spinach, golden berries, chives, chayote, malabar spinach, and sunchokes

  • Drought tolerant plantings: olives, millet, sorghum, arugula, African basil, okra, cowpeas, and mesquite

At the end of each week, the harvested, all-organic foods will be made available to the complex’ residents “at a deep discount,” which — I mean, I feel like if it was a really great deal they’d publish some numbers, right? I guess some deep discount is better than nothing, though, and I (for one) would love to have access to produce I got to watch grow from my window — and that, in the end, is what the site’s developers want. “(Our) fundamental goal is to connect people to a fresh, local food source right in their own backyard.”

What do you guys think? Is this a “peak California” concept that will only appeal to tree-huggers and hippies, or is the mainstream finally ready for hyper-local farming and a little slice of agri-nature in the middle of the concrete jungle? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know what you think.

Source | Images: Agrihood, via Fast Company and the Good News Network.

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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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