Close your eyes and imagine... waking up every morning to birds chirping, the faint sound of a rooster in the background. You stroll down a quiet, shaded street to the corner market, exchanging pleasant “good mornings” with neighbors. You walk home with a coffee in one hand, and a bag of fresh food, grown from your local farm in the other. The same farm you enjoy views of everyday from your front porch. It may seem far fetched, but for Groveland this was reality.
Welcome back to the City of Groveland’s Wednesday Workshop where we explore the characteristics of a City with Natural Charm. While our previous posts have focused on walkable communities with parks and trails, there are some communities that embody these characteristics while also incorporating the element of food and agriculture. These communities are often referred to as Agrarian Communities.
The concept of connecting communities with agriculture is not new. Just as Groveland once was, some of the most beautiful destinations in the world like Italy’s Tuscany region or California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys feature collections of communities steeped in agriculture. Throughout modern history, there have been visions of escaping crowded cities and returning back to a more agrarian lifestyle including Ebenezor Howard’s Garden City movement of the early 1900s and the Victory Gardens during WWII.
Groveland’s new community-focused Future Land Use and Code is planning for Towns, Villages, and Hamlets that will integrate local food production at different scales. For Groveland, the result will be a more resilient city where residents have increased access to healthy local food via a network of small scale retail outlets including farm stores, community markets, and farm-to-table restaurants.
A great modern model example of this is Serenbe, which is about an hour southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. A new, hamlet-style community, Serenbe preserves 70% of its natural open space and includes a 25 acre farm funded by the community through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The farm supplies food for the local restaurants while also attracting people to learn more about agriculture and growing food.
With a history embedded in agriculture, Groveland is uniquely positioned to become a premier agrarian destination for residents and eco-tourists looking to reconnect to the simple things in life, such as the cultivation of food. Our forthcoming code will encourage and incentivize community agriculture through all new open space standards incorporating examples of food along the transect ranging from hand-tendered farms framing the community to roof-top aquaponics gardens in the mixed use core.
Check out the image gallery for more examples of food along the transect and examples of agrarian communities. Be on the lookout for next week’s Wednesday Workshop post. Follow us on our City’s Facebook page @CityofGroveland.