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New Neighborhoods Lure City Slickers to Farm Living

Serosun is one of a growing number of sustainable farm developments, attracting those who want to return to that idyllic rural lifestyle.

By John Fuller on July 17, 2014

Serosun Farms in Hampshire, Ill., will include homes ranging from 2,500 to 6,000 square feet.
Photo courtesy of Serosun Farms

Life on the farm is getting a bit easier with the help of new breed of community like Serosun Farms in Illinois. One of dozens of so-called sustainable developments cropping up all over the nation, Serosun will have a working farm as the main feature in the same way communities gather around golf courses – only this green space can actually make money and perhaps lead to a tax write-off.

Located in Hampshire, Ill., about 55 miles west of Chicago, Serosun Farms will appeal to four types of clients, says John DeWald, developer and partner of the development. First, there is the equestrian crowd, working professionals wanting to live outside the city, retirees and second-home buyers who want a getaway location.

“Many people want the lifestyle of living in a rural location, but don’t have the time or expertise to operate a farm,” DeWald says. “Many people yearn for the idyllic lifestyle that existed years ago.".

Modern Amenities, Energy Efficiencies

Serosun will include a 160-acre working farm with 114 homes on 1-acre plots on another 300 acres. The complex will include an equestrian facility, community center, swimming pool, a farmers market and 8 miles of trails. The homes are expected to use far less energy than traditional homes, and the energy requirements for the development will be provided through clean, renewable, onsite sources, DeWald says.

The latest sustainable farming techniques will be used. Partnering in the development with DeWald is his sister, Jane Strickland, who interested her brother in the project upon realizing that suburban growth might be encroaching on this rich agricultural area. They were able to secure special zoning for the development to ensure more open space in the area.

The first model home is being built this summer. Homes will range from 2,500 to 6,000 square feet and cost from $750,000 to $2.5 million. The homes will be designed in Prairie, Victorian and Craftsman styles.

“I think people will appreciate this type of living, where they can step into a country lifestyle with all of the modern conveniences,” DeWald says. “It will be very much a destination location.”

All of the developments like Serosun are targeted to those looking for open space, a clean lifestyle and healthy food.

Other Notable Sustainable Farming Communities

  • Agritopia in Gilbert, Ariz., has 160 acres of certified organic farmland, 452 single-family homes and a 117-unit assisted and independent living center. The development includes a coffee house, farm-to-table restaurant, and an honor system fruit and vegetable stand.
  • Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., has 152 homes, three restaurants and an organic farm.
  • Willowsford in Ashburn, Va., which opened in 2011, has a 30-acre farm and culinary consultant.
  • Tryon Farm in Michigan City, Ind., was built on a former 170-acre dairy farm, but broken up into large tracts to maintain open space. A portion of the former farm is used to teach children about conservation and farming.
  • Several others include include Bucking Horse in Fort Collins, Colo.; Skokomish Farms in Union, Wash.; Harvest in Northlake, Texas; and Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, Calif.
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