October 28th, 2023

Sprouting a neighborhood farm: Goose Creek community breaks ground on ‘agrihood’

Original article by Maddy Quon for PostandCourier.com >

The Carnes Crossroads community is going to take “from farm to table” literally as it adds a farm to its amenities.

With the addition of an 11-acre farm, Carnes Crossroads will turn into an agrihood — a community or neighborhood that integrates agriculture.

Gerrit Albert, division president of South Carolina and Georgia for Freehold Communities — the developer of Carnes Crossroads — said Freehold has been learning how to make a farm “part of the DNA of the community.” He said his company first did this in 2017 with a community in Florida called Arden, where they incorporated a 5-acre farm.

Carnes Crossroads will have a farm twice as large as Arden’s, as it’s a fast-growing community. It currently has 1,000 houses, but Goose Creek spokesman Frank Johnson previously told The Post and Courier another 300 are expected to be built each year. Once complete, Carnes Crossroads will have just under 5,000 houses, he said.

While Freehold is not the first group to incorporate agriculture in its planning, Tripp Eldridge — the agrihood expert for Carnes Crossroads — said the company has differentiated itself by being the first to create an agrihood where residents of the community can receive a share of their harvest.

In addition to the farm, a barn will be built where residents can pick up their share of crops. Albert said the barn will include for sale other local proprietor items like honey. If people want to buy more produce after collecting their share, they can do so in the barn.

Eldridge said 11 acres of farmland will be divided into two locations. The “main farm” will be centrally located in the community, and it will be more experiential with “you pick” crops like blueberries, blackberries and figs, as well as orchard fruit trees.

Just down the road will be a larger production farm mostly featuring field crops. Eldridge said vegetable production will be a big focus there.

The agrihood will have a head farmer and opportunities for residents to volunteer, helping to tend to the farm, Eldridge said.

Albert said the concept promotes good health in several ways. It’s meant to be sustainable and to produce organic vegetables. Perhaps more importantly, he said, is that it can build human connections and social cohesion, helping to ensure the community’s longevity.

“You can’t escape connecting with people, because when you go to the barn you’re interacting with the farmers and you interact with other property owners,” Albert said.

Eldridge said residents can expect to pick up several different kinds of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Some of these crops include beets, radishes, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, blueberries and blackberries.

The farm and its barn aren’t the only features being constructed. Several other amenities planned for the community include a pool, wellness center, playground and lake house that will serve as an event venue and gathering space.

Mayor Greg Habib said he’s excited for this unique and inspiring addition to the Carnes Crossroads community.

“The vision that brought this addition to Carnes Crossroads aligns with the values of Goose Creek, and our focus on sustainability and quality of life,” Habib said. “The importance of creating a community that brings people together and enhances their overall well-being cannot be overstated. That’s what we’re about in Goose Creek.”

The Carnes Crossroads community broke ground on Oct. 25, and Albert hopes for the farm and barn to be open by fall 2024, with the rest of the amenities available in the spring of 2025.

Original article by Maddy Quon for PostandCourier.com >