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Edible landscaping is no longer a fringe concept. And lately, real estate developers are getting in on the trend. From Boston Properties, to Federal Realty’s Assembly Row, to WS Development, the team behind MarketStreet Lynnfield and The Street in Chestnut Hill, Green City Growers is working hands-on to bring edibles production into new construction.
The half-acre rooftop farm at Whole Foods Market in Lynnfield, anchoring the MarketStreet Lynnfield development, is certainly nothing small, but, like they say, everything’s bigger in Texas. Enter Harvest Green: a new 1,300-acre master planned residential development in Fort Bend County. But central to this Houston ‘agrihood’ isn’t a golf course or large reflecting pool; rather, a 300-acre production farm, maintained by GCG-lookalike EdibleEarth, will provide just-picked produce to homeowners wishing to participate in a community share program.
The Houston ‘agrihood’ looks, in many ways, like your typical new construction. The Johnson Development Corporation has planned for up to 2,000 homes, and there are renderings of multipurpose community center and a community dog park. Most of what’s planned, however, has a slight agricultural bend to it. During construction, each homeowner can elect to build in edible garden space into their backyard, for example. Other planned “ag-menities” include a farm stand adjacent to the restaurant, to eventually feature a farmers’ market, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a massive events barn that will host educational programming like cooking and gardening classes.The urban farming movement takes a slightly different form up in the densely populated northeast, of course. If you asked a Boston-area native where you could find 1,300 acres of untouched land, he or she would likely laugh in your face. But, as new construction goes up in the city, more and more developers are including rooftop production, or on-ground community gardens. educational gardens
Whether a garden is installed by a developer, a restaurant, a business, or a single homeowner, families and individuals throughout the country have keyed in on a very important (but previously forgotten) concept: people need to eat food. And who knows? Perhaps there are 1,300 acres of land out there that are slated for development. What better way to build a new community than by putting food, and dirt, central to its mission.