Santa Clara urban farming community springs to life
Agrihood is an urban farm development with a community garden and affordable housing for low-income seniors and veterans. Photo by Jason Torres Iraheta.

    A specialized urban farming community in Santa Clara offering affordable housing for low-income seniors and veterans celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

    Attendees, including Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gilmor, toured Agrihood’s communal garden—the centerpiece of the housing development—and main complex with 165 apartments. One of the main goals of urban farm communities across the country is providing land for cultivating crops, as well as a space for physical and mental well-being through therapeutic gardening.


    The first urban farm community in Santa Clara county, Agrihood, had its grand opening on Wednesday Sept. 20 with a garden for residents to build their own crops. Read more at #news #urbanfarm #southbay #sanjose #santaclara #fyp

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    Alrie Middlebrook, president of the California Native Garden Foundation in San Jose, has been involved with the project, especially in educating people on the importance of such developments. Middlebrook said individual carbon footprints can be reduced through these urban agricultural projects.

    “I believe the future of food in the U.S. is really about urban agriculture, and this is why I worked so hard on this project, because people didn’t understand that,” Middlebrook told San José Spotlight. “You can talk about it till you’re blue in the face, but if you build it, they will come.”

    Agrihood is situated across from Westfield Valley Fair mall at 90 N. Winchester Blvd. San Jose-based The Core Companies developed the project in collaboration with Farmscapes, an agricultural landscaping business in Oakland. The project is financed by Housing Trust Silicon Valley, a nonprofit community loan fund.

    While the environmental aspect of the project is unique among other housing plans, guest speakers emphasized the importance of providing housing for elderly residents—especially those at risk of becoming homeless.

    Emily Schwing, public affairs director for community farm Veggielution, said the intersection between agriculture and housing is more crucial than most people realize.

    “This is the future of affordable housing developments—whether it’s gardens, kitchen space or access to open space—the intersectionality between those two is really important,” Schwing told San José Spotlight.

    Kalyn Simon, spokesperson for Garden to Table Silicon Valley, said urban farming developments aim to create a sense of community through agriculture.

    “Creating community spaces is the core to what we all want to do,” Simon told San José Spotlight. “Community through education and agriculture is really the core of what we all want to push forward.”

    Contact Jason at [email protected].

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