GROWING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES W
e know that farmers grow food and somehow that food gets to our tables. People eat fruits and vegetables, and theoretically understand where they come from: The Grocery Store (only kidding). In reality, however, most of us have no idea which orchard our apple came from or how far our carrots had to travel to make it to our plates. And most of us don’t know why we should care about such a thing, which is no laughing matter. Enter “the agrihood.” Gone are the days of fences keeping neighbors at bay and homes backing up onto golf-course greens. The new trend, according to Urban Land Institute researcher Ed McMahon who was recently quoted on CBS Sunday Morning and in The New York Times, is to integrate farms and agriculture into the community as wellness amenities. “[Placemakers] have figured out that unlike a golf course, which costs millions to build and…maintain, [farms] can provide green space that actually earns a profit.” “But what does this mean for me and my family” you might ask? Living at Serenbe, you can walk to your sidewalk and pick blueberries for a pie. Maybe you wander out your back yard and see your farmer harvesting shares of his bounty, which you take home without those vegetables ever seeing the inside of a car. Or, hang out Saturday mornings with your neighbors at the farmers market…that you walked 10 minutes through preserved forest to enjoy. Serenbe is leading the way in mindful community development centered around agriculture and wellness. Founder Steve Nygren grew up on a farm in Colorado and came from a long line of farmers, so it was only natural when he envisioned Serenbe that he would center the community around farming, local food and edible landscaping. “Our family has always valued fresh food and knowing where it comes from. We came from the restaurant industry, always had a kitchen garden at home and know how a great meal can bring people together,” said Steve. “When visioning Serenbe, we knew food and agriculture had to be key aspects of building the community and encouraging healthy residents.” And Serenbe’s organic farm is growing more than just vegetables in the fields. Young farmers are trained at Serenbe Farms and encouraged to use what they’ve learned about
the organic-growing process in future farming jobs. Past Serenbe Farmers worked at Anne Quatrano’s Summerland Farm, Cumberland Island, Martha’s Vineyard and the original farmers have their own farm in the North Georgia Mountains. Serenbe Farms’ current Farm Manager is a 4th-generation farmer from Wisconsin who moved here to continue the family tradition with his wife and two young children.
“When visioning Serenbe, we knew food and agriculture had to be key aspects of building the community and encouraging healthy residents.” What started as only a handful of developments centered around farms has evolved into a movement with hundreds of communities now being built with farm-to-table amenities in mind. Serenbe continues to lead the way for the agrihood concept. Beyond building a working organic farm, weekly farmers market and a successful CSA program, Serenbe also hosts more than 50 culinary classes a year, monthly pop-up dinners and farm-to-table restaurants that all source from local farms including their own, Serenbe Farms.
Serenbe is leading the way in mindfully developing a community centered around Serenbe Farms. Their weekly CSA offers a share of their certified-organic produce to members April-December. The Annual Spring Plant Sale is one of Serenbe Farms biggest fundraisers and aids in spring planting for summer and fall veggies. Serenbe Farms’ organic vegetables, herbs and flowers can be found Saturdays through November, 9am-1pm, at Serenbe Farmers & Artists Market in Selborne. Photos by J. Ashley Photography.