Farm to Front Door

Agrihoods build bridge between communities and local food

Standard suburban landscaping typically involves sod, sod and more sod. But Fox Hill, a new development south of Parker, looks a little different.

Built on a 1912 homestead, Fox Hill aims to preserve the area’s natural look—rolling hills covered in prairie grass and scattered Ponderosa pines—as well as its unobstructed mountain views. Instead of golf courses or shopping centers, the development is centered around a working 40-acre farm that will produce food for Fox Hill residents and the surrounding community. Its 93 custom homes will all use different designs, ranging from classic farmhouse to mountain modern, to avoid the cookie-cutter look common in many suburbs. And landscaping rules will curb the use of sod and mountain trees like aspens, encouraging designs featuring native grasses, pines and water-wise plants instead.

“The goal is to enhance the natural landscape, not change it,” says Paige McLaughlin, a realtor who is helping to sell the development with her realtor husband Doug, who grew up on the property.

Maintaining Fox Hill’s natural landscape creates more than just aesthetic benefits for its residents. The property’s historic farmhouse will be converted into a community center, hosting food-centered classes and events like wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. Residents will be able to subscribe to a weekly produce box service, full of the lettuces, herbs, peppers, and other vegetables grown year-round in the farm’s greenhouse, thanks to a tilapia-powered aquaponic system. A newly planted orchard will give the residents the opportunity to go fruit picking in the summer and fall.

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Near the old barn, there are pigs and goats, whose milk will be made into fresh cheese. And the farm’s coop—Cluckingham Palace—houses turkeys and chickens, including one named Hennifer. Residents can sign up to receive fresh eggs and purchase—cover Hennifer’s ears—freshly butchered birds.

Building connection and community

The “farm to table” lifestyle is proving attractive. Fox Hill has sold 55 of its homes so far, and residents began moving in at the beginning of 2021. Buyers range from retired couples to multi generational families, with about half coming from Colorado and half from states like Texas and California, McLaughlin said.

While their backgrounds might vary, the residents are among a growing number of people who share an interest in “agrihoods,” neighborhoods centered around local food, health and community. The Urban Land Institute estimates that there are now at least 90 agrihoods in the United States. A handful are located in Colorado, including Aria Denver, Fort Collins’ Bucking Horse, and Wheat Ridge’s 5 Fridges Farm.

Corey Dahl

Corey Dahl is a writer and editor. She has written for a wide variety of news and trade publications, in print and online. Corey has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and a master's in communications management from Webster University. She lives in Denver with her dog Rosie.

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