We are building a community project that aims to integrate nature, the benefits of rural living, and the empowerment of local populations
More awareness about environmental issues, an increasing desire to live in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, and a pursuit of opportunities to be more connected to nature. These are some of the features of a green mindset in a society driven by the need to tackle climate change and restore the balance between people and the natural environment. What we don’t hear much about is how a paradigm shift towards sustainability could impact how we interact with our living environment (housing, land use, public facilities, services, etc.).
While sustainable development increasingly depends upon the successful management of urban growth, in a world that is becoming more and more environmentally and health-conscious, there is a growing perception that being closer to nature can make us better human beings. According to scientific research, exposure to nature positively affects our bodies and mental health. It also helps us, especially our children, learn more about plants, animals, natural resources, and the importance of preserving the environment.
Modern living, particularly in urban areas, has made most people forget the link between nature and virtually everything that has allowed human communities to flourish. Historically, cities became appealing because of job opportunities, services, amenities, and meeting other people (remember, we are social beings). So how to create a workable blend of urban community and nature? What are the alternatives that may produce better lifestyles and a healthier standard of living, for us and our planet?
For some who reimagine the spaces we interact with, the answer to these questions comes by incorporating the benefits of rural living into our daily lives. This has sparked a new trend among property developers: the “agrihood,” a type of planned community that integrates farm living and residential neighborhoods. These communities typically feature shared gardens, greenhouses, and small farms where residents can participate in food production and even animal husbandry.
The goal of agrihoods is to promote sustainable living and create a sense of community through shared access to fresh, locally-grown produce. The trend has accelerated during the pandemic, especially in the United States, where many people moved from urban to suburban or rural areas. Three years ago, there were about 90 agrihoods across the country, according to the Urban Land Institute. That number is estimated to have risen to more than 200 in 2022. Three main drivers are behind this increase:
Farm living has been a way of life for many people throughout history. Still, most of the new agrihoods have more to offer, including a community center or clubhouse, swimming pools, walking and bike paths, playgrounds, boathouses, and equestrian facilities. Along with the collaborative work on the farms, such amenities help residents form strong bonds with each other.
But a risk is involved: how to prevent a typical agrihood from being isolated from surrounding communities or local villages?
To be inclusive, a closer-to-nature way of life must encompass environmental, economic, and social impacts. 2Future has been working on a new community project designed to integrate natural reserves, the benefits of rural living, and the empowerment of local populations. Bento Botanic Farm & House will blend forest protection, the agrihood concept, a farm hotel, restaurants with local products, and other services provided in cooperation with local families.
The endeavor is being developed by Oz Collection, a new branch of 2Future’s portfolio company, Oz Earth. It will be located in Paraíba Valley, in the São Paulo state countryside, in a mountain region partially covered by primeval forest.
In addition to a commitment to sustainable land use, environmental protection, and a healthier, closer-to-nature lifestyle, Bento Botanic Farm & House is inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” In this comprehensive document on biodiversity, ethics, and the importance of preserving the green environment and human life, Pope Francis urges the global society to embrace a new ecological approach that can transform our way of inhabiting the world, our lifestyles, our relationship with the Earth’s resources and, in general, our way of living life.
In today’s world, modern living must focus on reconnecting with nature and living together with it. Therefore, a paradigm shift towards sustainability requires an increasingly conscious occupation of the spaces we inhabit.