Americans have been attracted to the schools, parks, yards and square footage of suburbia for decades. Then, there are the added perks of some housing developments—community pools, fitness centers, playgrounds and tennis courts, to name a few. But the biggest draw in the future might be a communal farm.
While the CSA movement, which began on two properties in the United States during the 1980s, boasts thousands of farms today, DSA is just beginning to grow in popularity, with about 200 neighborhoods buying in to the concept.
One of the first developments to create a working farm was Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Illinois, about one hour north of Chicago. A few neighbors wanting to preserve land in the late 1980s founded the community. Today, Prairie Crossing has about 359 single-family homes. But one of the newest, Willowsford in Ashburn, Virginia, is aiming much higher, hoping to fill 2,200 homes.
About 40 minutes outside of Washington, D.C., Willowsford is at the edge of Virginia’s horse and farm country, where the booming housing market surrounding the nation’s capital is gobbling up open spaces. Developers conserved some 2,000 acres, 300 of which are farmland. Eventually, the community will be divided into four villages, each with a designated farm. A rather idyllic setting, Willowsford is thoughtfully planned to include homes in the southern style typical of Virginia’s Loudoun County, all with easy access to pick-your-own strawberries and a quaint farm stand, chock full of cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, cartons of okra and string beans, and baked goods.