Instead of the old debate over land use: development vs. farms; housing vs. green space, Agriburbia is a clever compromise.
Source: Denver Post
Six years ago, Matthew “Quint” Redmond suggested to Milliken planners that a corn farm north of Denver could increase its agricultural value and still anchor nearly a thousand homes.
“I got laughed out of the room,” Redmond said.
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.
“Is there a better use of the land than growing your own food right where you are going to be eating it?” said Janie Lichtfuss, mayor of Milliken, which is positioned to become the first agriburbia community.
Perhaps, one day, Montreal might realize a version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, a city of tall buildings surrounded by open space and farms.