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South Florida's First Agrihood Is Underway

Arden is an agrihood in Palm Beach County, Fla.

South Florida is better known for its fast cars, fast boats and rappers than it is for its produce. We don’t even grow oranges here.

But Freehold Communities believes there is a market for wannabe farmers, so in June it opened its first agrihood, called Arden, in Loxahatchee in western Palm Beach County.

Freehold Communities Southeast Division President Andrew Smith told Bisnow that 100 homes have been built so far, 200 have been sold, and 150 people come through the gate each week to look. The homes sell for $300K to $900K, and the company expects to build 2,000 eventually.

Arden has a community farm on which residents can volunteer for weeding, planting and composting. Currently, the farm is growing okra, peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, basil, rosemary and flowers. Residents get their share of the crops on a regular basis, and on-site professional farmers give classes and demonstrations. HOA dues fund the farm and farmers, as well as a “lifestyle director” who plans activities.

Smith said that there are about 100 agrihoods nationwide. Freehold is also developing Miralon in Palm Springs, California, with olive groves as a central amenity. The only problem here? Sandy South Florida soil.

“We’re overcoming this with thick applications of compost on our garden this year,” Smith said. “Also, future fields are planted in lush cover crops that will, over time, help develop our sandy soil into rich garden soil.”

Other amenities include two pools, a WiFi café, tennis courts, basketball, pickleball, a lake with boat launch and pier, 20 miles of trails and an event barn. There are no farm animals.