Welcome to the agrihood: Farms are shared in these Rancho Mission Viejo communities

Billy Martin, donned in a velvet cowboy hat and boots, weaved through rows of fruit trees on a farm. The 5-year-old then took a persimmon off a tree and munched on it. Standing beside a nearby barn, his parents discussed what to harvest next.

No, it isn’t a scene from a country farm. The Martins are among more than 30 families participating in Sendero Farm, a communal farm available as an amenity to residents of this new master planned community in South County.

Instead of cultivating individual plots like in other community farms, participants here work together on one farm and share the harvest. They can come in when they have time, and learn new skills from a full-time farmer and other experts.

“What’s so great about it is that we get to learn from the classes here and bring it back home,” said April Martin, Billy’s mother.

Landowner and developer Rancho Mission Viejo Co. has built two farms in Sendero and another in its latest development, Esencia. They are part of the company’s vision to incorporate agriculture into urban life, an idea referred to as the agricultural neighborhood or “agrihood.”

This article was written by Tomoya Shimura and first appeared in the Orange County Register