Backyard industry and urban agriculture complements the entrepreneurial mindset. Now more than ever, people are seeing an economic opportunity at their doorstep and taking advantage of it. Others are seeing the economic benefit of overseeing some of their own food. But for others, the idea of a farm in the city brings worries of sounds or smells, lowered property values, and a resistance to the status quo.
In the city of Colorado Springs, a recent goat ordinance shows that urban agriculture is quickly growing away from being considered counter-cultural and into the mainstream. But for HOA’s and some neighbors, it’s not a welcome change. Lindsey Aparicio aka The Goat Cheese Lady noted that only one neighbor complained about her chickens at her last house. When a pullet turned out to be a rooster, Lindsey got rid of it. [Colorado Spring city code allows for 10 chickens in the city but no roosters.] Interestingly, more neighbors were sad to see the rooster leave as it had brought back fond memories of their grandparents or farm experiences. Now living on a bigger lot, though still within city limits, many people may not even know of the goats and chickens living on her property.
Lindsey states, “I couldn’t afford to keep purchasing farm direct product so I chose to create a herd share program. This allows me to have the highest quality food which is a good economic decision. It’s also important that I raise my children with a work ethic and not just how to play video games.”
In many cases, homesteaders are good neighbors, keeping much of their homesteading behind fences or in the backyard. They are cognizant of sounds and smells of their animals as well as being understanding of the opposite spectrum of the neighbor’s dog barking at five in the morning or the roar of a lawn mower breaking the quiet of the day. Every neighborhood is a micro-cosmic of many different minded people. With homesteaders in the mix, those neighbors can provide you eggs, cheese, honey, fruit and vegetables.
But the question remains, what about property values? This is a serious concern. However, now that developers have begun incorporating the urban agricultural lifestyle into planned communities, homesteading quickly moves out of the “fringe mindset” into mainstream living choices. Seeing the local food movement expanding and the desire to take advantage of this niche market, developers are creating “agrihoods” across the country. Instead of neighborhoods being built around a community center or pool, the focus is on a centrally located farm which may include both gardens and livestock and is run similar to a community garden system or community supported agriculture (CSA). Major cities like Atlanta, Georgia and Phoenix, Arizona have “agri-hood” projects and Fort Collins, Colorado is creating a neighborhood that incorporates healthy living. If the trend continues to explode, the location of urban agriculture could effectively increase property values as well as provide impetus to buy into a specific neighborhood.
Check back next week for the final installment on Entrepreneurial Homesteading.