Jenny Redmond, Matthew's wife, inspects lettuce in the Lakewood plot.
(Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
Urban Agriculture. Food security. Apocalypses. 2012. Peak Oil. Michael Pollen. Financial melt-down. War. Cyber-threats. Supply chains.
You-name-it. The band-wagon to jump on right now is the grow-your-own food one. Know where your food comes from. Don't rely upon someone else. The 100-mile diet. Prepare for a future of less oil. And so on.
Real estate is in trouble. There is an over-supply of well over a million houses in this country. Based on that, new construction is not needed. There is a level of unemployment not seen since the early 1980's. Clearly jobs are needed. The young adults are especially lacking job opportunities, with an unemployment rate at 19%.
Anyone who has read James Howard Kunstler's blog or has watched The End of Suburbia, understands that something is inherently lacking and wrong with the suburbian development model in this country. It has relied upon longer and longer commute times, cheap oil, and alienation from our neighbors and communities.
Now, finally, the public is ready to invest in a new concept that makes a lot of sense. According to the Denver Post article, below, Matthew Redmond proposed his idea of building homes around agricultural land six years ago. Then, they laughed. Now, not so much.
Today, Milliken's 618-acre Platte River Village is ready for construction, with 944 planned homes surrounded by 108 acres of backyard farms and 152 acres of drip- irrigated community farms. The plan is for the farms to feed local residents and supply restaurants while paying for community upkeep. And Redmond, a 47-year-old planner-farmer, has 13 other Front Range projects mulling his "agriburbia" concept.
I only hope that these homes are small, zero energy, passive solar, sun oriented south-facing, grey-water utilizing, rain-water collecting, and built-to-last quality construction. Now, that, would be the perfect model!
Agriburbia. Remember that word. You'll be hearing it again.
"Agriburbia" sprouts on Colorado's Front Range
...Today, Milliken's 618-acre Platte River Village is ready for construction, with 944 planned homes surrounded by 108 acres of backyard farms and 152 acres of drip- irrigated community farms. The plan is for the farms to feed local residents and supply restaurants while paying for community upkeep. And Redmond, a 47-year-old planner-farmer, has 13 other Front Range projects mulling his "agriburbia" concept.
Redmond, co-founder of the Golden-based design firm TSR Group, travels the country preaching his urban farming and development idea. He envisions a future where the nation's 31 million acres of lawn are converted to food production. He sees golf-course greens redefined with herbs; sand traps as "kale traps." He sees retirement homes engulfed by farms and office buildings where workers escape cubicles on farming breaks.
Redmond, along with his born-on- a-farm biologist turned planner wife, Jennifer, sees an urban landscape like none before. "This is where we are all going to go. We need this," said Redmond. "Everyone thinks they are so smart by crafting a 2030 plan for the future. I say we need a $180-a-barrel plan, on how our communities can be self-sufficient when oil becomes too expensive to ship food across the country."
Self-sufficient. Sustainable. Locally produced. Agriburbia incorporates all three concepts....
And thirdly, the Redmonds are trying to develop farm-cultured communities like Platte River Village in Milliken. Homes surrounding farms already are planned for the middle of Littleton and Boulder, using small spaces. Planners in Lakewood two months ago approved agriburbia in the city's Solterra community. In Douglas County, the Redmonds are proposing agriburbia in the development of Sterling Ranch near Roxborough State Park......