When it comes to game-changing amenities, there aren’t many that luxury home owners in Southern California have not heard of. Wine cellars, elaborate car garages and outdoor kitchens are just a few of the luxury factors that home builders have been using to attract high-end buyers. However, with an increasingly conscientious population of home buyers, builders are working to appeal on an entirely different level of living: sustainability.
Texas, Virginia and now Southern California are home to communities that are being designed with an innovative approach. Instead of bulldozing farms and small urban communities to make way for housing developments, builders are now embracing farmland and even paying farmers to cultivate vegetables and raise livestock on the land they intend to develop. They then work to build a community around the farm, creating a community that is able to largely subsist off of what is locally grown.
Known as agrihoods, these environmentally-conscience communities have been built out of a growing awareness of the benefits of eating locally. New foodie trends have parents feeding their children organic meals, while baby boomers are now embracing the benefits of natural, local food sources.
“The foodie generation has come of age,” says Ed McMahon, a resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, who spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek. “The mainstream development community has come to think of these as a pretty good way to build a low-cost amenity that people seem to like and that also adds authenticity.”
Luxury living equates to responsible living in new community
In Southern California this trend has come to life in the Orange County community of Rancho Mission Viejo. The project is expected to expand across 23,000 acres, 17,000 of which will be preserved for agricultural use as lemon and avocado groves, cattle ranges and forests. About 14,000 homes will also be built on the land, but in addition to appealing to buyers with granite countertops and luxurious lifestyle elements, builders are relying on the overall message of the community to appeal to buyers.
Through community farms and vegetable gardens throughout the homestead, executives at Rancho Mission Viejo are hoping to give residents a deeper connection to the land they inhabit. Education and respect for the land are paramount to the way of life here.
“This helps us sell, but it’s a bigger story for us,” says Moiso, whose family has owned the land since 1882. “It has to do with the culture of care, about the blessings of the land, and the idea that food doesn’t just show up at places like Trader Joe’s.”
In addition to Rancho Mission Viejo, there are a number of sustainable communities popping up throughout the country, including Dallas-area community Harvest and a Virginia community known as Willowsford. In Hawaii a vacation-home community has even embraced the concept. Located on Kauai, the 1,500 luxury unit resort produces fresh tropical produce for local restaurants and for home owners’ consumption.
Southern California is home to a number of communities that emphasize responsibility and sustainability. If you are interested in learning more about homes in Laguna Beach, please contact us today.