Agriculture as an Amenity
Brunswick County is the 11th largest county in North Carolina and has its history and culture rooted in agriculture. In this master plan of the site owned by the Gore Family, a return to those roots through farmland experience is the driver for development, economy, and lifestyle. Agriculture, in this plan, is defined as lands used for the production of food. This lifestyle of views and access to farmland provides for a healthy and sustainable community. Rather than a plan based on the development of residential areas, the agriculture lands are prioritized, with a strong focus on connecting those living here with the benefits and experience of living on a farm. A large network of greenways and walking trails encourage a pedestrian friendly lifestyle, where no matter where you live you’ll always be a less than five minute walk to green space. An institutional presence through partnership with North Carolina State University, Brunswick County Public Schools, and Brunswick Community College will provide educational, research, and production based facilities that will drive traffic, growth, and connect the area to a larger network of academia. Commercial areas will have a similar integration agriculture through marketplaces, general stores, restaurants, and many other commercial buildings that will provide residents will all the necessary amenities to live comfortably.
The three main aspects of this master plan’s identity are “Healthy Land, Healthy Food, Healthy Life.” These qualities illustrate the progressive, wholesome lifestyle created by a connection to agriculture and pedestrian friendly circulation. Converting from traditional agriculture fields into a diverse mix of wetlands, orchards and diverse type of farm lands allows the community to lead a more sustainable lifestyle with a higher degree of self-sufficiency while offering the same services, amenities and freedom, as urban life in the city.
This design aims to create a network between local resources based on agriculture potentials, creating a sustainable community that can support basic needs through local resources that are integrated in their lives.
One of the main concepts of the design is to promote healthy lifestyle within the community while creating a striking alternative for diverse class of people who want to relocate and are looking for something other than what is currently available. The new sustainable and self-sufficient master plan is routed in three main themes: a healthy, sustainable natural environment within a rich biodiversity, agriculture and pedestrian friendly community.
The five main goals used to achieve this identity are sustainable agriculture, pedestrian friendly connections, a variety of organizational patterns, resilient communities, and the preservation of the county’s historic and cultural identity. Agriculture being integrated into residential, institutional, and commercial spaces provides a way for people to grow their own food in community based agriculture lands, for educational spaces to have the lands needed for research and learning, and many businesses benefit from the selling and producing of food. Promoting walkability works to promote the physical fitness of residents, as well as the mental and emotional benefits of being connected to nature. The different patterns used provide a variety of lifestyle choices among different communities, which allows people to have a variety of experiences and the opportunity to live where they feel most comfortable. Through self-sufficiency of access to farmland, nature, and commercial spaces, this allows for a community grow resilient to outside factors and maintain their wholesome lifestyle on their own. The agriculture lands also provide a connection to Brunswick County’s history of farming while also bringing that history into today’s culture and lifestyle.
The site has a very rich and fertile soil, which is very suitable for cultivating tomatoes, wheat, soybean and corn. Also the water level is high; therefore, the site is very suitable for farming and agriculture. Since the main focus is to create resilient community that can sustain itself within network of resources, agriculture has a strong connection with residential part. Based on the size, production and how the farms are managed, three kind of farmlands are proposed for the site: production, CSA and farmette.
The production farmlands are manly lands that their size exceed up to 50 acres. Mostly, farmers lease the farm, use the land for producing in big scales that are eventually sold in market. CSA, stands for community supported agriculture which involves a group from a community that support the farm so that the farm functions for the community. In this model the community is the first consumer of the farm; therefore, the locals provide support and share the risks and the benefits of the production. The size of CSA exceeds up to 25 acres. A farmette is a small residential farm. The size is between 2 to 10 acres. A farmette is run by individuals who merely benefit from the farm’s production and their main source of income is other than the farm.