Are Urban Farms Growing Into the Next Suburban Trend?

March 12, 2020
Woman smiling while farming
By AYAimages

An empty lot transformed into a quiet refuge from city life with a few pots of vegetables for the apartment building next door: The urban farm is a familiar story. Now, one suburb in Florida is putting its own spin on the city classic with Arden, a subdivision in western Palm Beach County. Instead of residential homes clustered around a health club or golf course, Arden features a community garden where residents can farm crops and amble around terraced pools and waterfalls. Eventually, 2,000 single-family homes and a five-acre farm will grace the development’s lands to create a scene out of a utopian dream. 

On a small farm in Loxahatchee, Florida, perched on the edge of the sugarcane fields that run through the state’s midsection, married couple Carmen Franz and Tripp Eldridge look perfectly cast as hip millennial farmers. They’re tan, trim, and gregarious, ready to talk composting or crop rotation at a moment’s notice. They could be American Gothic 2020. The pair even occasionally posts video on their YouTube channel, Farmers on Bikes.

They represent a modern spin on farming in large part due to where they operate. They don’t work the land in a rural hamlet surrounded by empty fields. They grow fruits and vegetables within a 1,209-acre real estate development, Arden, a subdivision in western Palm Beach County. Arden is an agrihood: Instead of being built around a golf course, the heart of Arden is an organic farm where residents are allowed to till the soil and reap some of the bounty grown on-site. At Arden, a moderate-sized development which will eventually boast 2,000 single-family homes, the five-acre farm and big red barn sit a few hundred feet from the development’s clubhouse, which boasts terraced pools and waterfalls straight out of a resort.

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