California builds first farm-to-table new home community


Urban farming is in the air and California is setting an example by creating the first American housing project of its kind with an urban farm built intentionally in the center of the community. The farm will be 7.4 acres and will include a teaching center for sustainable farming. Some 547 new homes have been built around the farm.

This is no straw bale hippy paradise, but fulfilling the dreams of mainstream urbanites who want the pleasures of big, single dwelling homes with access to fresh, local, organic produce.

The project is called The Cannery, and this Saturday 14 model homes will go on sale. Owned by NEW HOME (NYSE: NWHM) this event marks California’s first farm-to-table new home community. It is located in Davis, Calif.


“We have worked extremely hard over the past several years to get to this moment,” said Kevin Carson, Northern California President for NEW HOME. “The Cannery is unlike any other community in the western United States and it has truly been a rewarding experience to contribute to such an innovative concept.

Through a collaborative effort with the Center for Land-Based Learning of Winters, Calif., the Urban Farm will serve as a state-of-the-art example of sustainable urban farming and as an agri-classroom for students and beginning farmers.

“To see The Cannery today becoming a viable farm community is not only personally exciting for me, but also one of the most fulfilling accomplishments in my career,” said Craig McNamara, founder of the Center for Land-Based Learning. “The Cannery Urban Farm honors what I believe in most: Connecting eaters directly to food.”

Hear, hear. Let’s here of more projects like this multiplying across the US and the world.

::The Cannery

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29 thoughts on “California builds first farm-to-table new home community”

  1. Peter Javsicas says:

    As presented here, this makes no sense. Someone has to fill in the details of how such a small amount of growing space could even be a substantial supplement to the nutritional needs of 500+ households. It seems to me that if you really want to build a sustainable, “green” community, you have to work from the bottom up to make a total system of sustainability, not just a vegetable garden. Start with the numbers of people, then consider housing, energy use, the food and water cycle, economics, governance, etc. etc.

    1. Yes, we are doing such a project in Santa Clara.
      Our development deals with air, soil, native plant ecosystems, water, waste, food,(regenerative farming models) renewable energy, innovative transportation, education and human health and well being. Watch out for green dressing. Work with experts who understand local ecology restoration, eliminating infrastructure, strive to create sustainable regional food systems
      That produce a lot of nutritious organic food utilizing urban food technology like production aquaponics systems that use storm water and are on the roof tops of existing or new buildings!

  2. Hedy Parks says:

    I only see a plan for a pretty conventional suburban development on the pictures shown. What has this to do wirh farm-to-table? Oh, its the marketing spin: , lets greenwash it with a couple of solarpanels on the roof an package it in a trendy way. Voila!

    1. Aileen Kader says:

      Exactly. It’s more of an expensive PR stunt than anything. It’s also interesting that it’s being marketed primarily to folks in the SF Bay Area, where real estate prices are high as are fantasies about “farm” country life. Also, what coincidence that this housing development is within daily commuting distance to the greater SF Bay area! 😉

  3. Aileen Kader says:

    Yessiree! That would be right here in Davis, California. Single family detached homes START at a mere $710,000! As for farm-to-table, let this gal who grew up on a working farm tell you this so-called farm-to-table community is strictly a citified concept of farm. In other words, it’s a “farm” only to city folks who’ve never spent one night on a real working farm. Sorry for the disappointment, but that’s what happens when you hire slick PR folks pitching their wares to the basically uninformed.

  4. Monica Perez Nevarez says:

    Um, what’s green about this? The materials used to build the houses/communities? The lot size that allows for breathing space and food gardens? The outsize size of the homes? The energy self-sufficiency and water catchment/recycling system built in? The grey-water recycling design? The composting center? The waste management practices? The permaculture practices and design of green space? Oh wait! No, they don’t have any of these things! This is just another regular housing development with some space set aside for growing veggies. Sorry, that does not make it green or sustainable. And by framing your article the way you did, you’re part of the problem. Utter lack of context leading to slick misinformation.

  5. Thank you for any other fantastic article. The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such a perfect method of writing?
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  6. Victor says:

    First…. Really

    1. JTR says:

      That’s fine, but the drought is on going because the ocean is so polluted not enough water can evaporate to form rain clouds. So there needs to be a big effort to clean up the ocean as soon as possible.

  7. Be a Builder says:

    Ms. Kloosterman: If the houses were actually “straw bale hippy paradise”, housseholds will be more energy efficient, insulation rate will be higher than conventional building and the entire community will be more sustainable. Building a community around a farm is what our ancestors did, the new “green development” industry hasn’t discover anything new, it is just good marketing. Do we want more sustainable places to live in harmony with the environment? Along with the Urban Farm, go natural building then, promote water conservation, use the resources of your site, foster permaculture principles, etc…Those cookie cutters designed house pale in comparison with some straw bale homes built in the U.S. – in San Diego County only, there are 56 permitted straw bale homes in an assortment of styles that will make your jaw drop…Get informed before bashing on the future of construction.
    To gain a wider perspective on the topic, please visit: California Straw Building Association,,,

  8. John says:

    If we are worried about a drought, stop eating meat as the amount of water is takes to raise 1 pound of meat far exceeds its value.

    This farm to table community is a great model for what many of us would be interested in for the future. I would love to live in a community in a small home where we collectively supported our health from the land.

    1. JTR says:

      The only way to stop the drought is to clean up the ocean. .Then rainfall will return to normal.

  9. The Hungry Architect says:

    A small step in the right direction but unfortunately America’s obsession with single family residential lifestyle prevents this concept from being successful. Denser living leaves more open space. Build up, not out.

    1. JTR says:

      Urban farming needs seasonal weather, not years of drought, wildfires and flash flooding. But the ocean is so polluted not enough water can evaporate to form rain clouds. So we need to clean up the ocean as soon as possible.

  10. Vickie Spray says:

    This is higher conscious becoming reality in human life!! Applause!

  11. Sue Rine says:

    7.4 acres won’ t go far towards feeding 547 households!

    1. Sue Beckwith says:

      Agreed, Sue R. 7.4 acres absolutely will not feed 547 households – not even close – not even for a season. We’re developing a project here in Elgin Texas (near Austin) that includes up to 80 homes with 6 acres of farm and even that will be tight.

      1. Joe Stolfi says:

        I’d be more interested in the Elgin project,
        Not anything on Google,


        1. Sue Beckwith says:

          Joe, the developer is working on the site. It’s called the Elgin Agrarian Community.

    2. It’s also being used as a teaching center – so imagine how many suburban homes there will be growing their even more local gardens. And if they use hydroponics a lot more mouths can be fed.

  12. Jeeni Zucchini says:

    “straw bale hippy paradise”?

    1. Cheryl says:

      What’s wrong with strawbale hippy!!!! Didn’t that help launch basic ideas of sustainable? Not everyone (far from it) can afford a 400,000 home – we called this concept Yuppy-back at ya

    2. Nancy Hall says:

      Really! I thought that comment was totally uncalled for!

  13. BrianSpecMan says:

    The two illustrations bear no relationship to each other so its difficult to understand the scheme, or make a judgement about it.

  14. JTR says:

    The drought makes such a project unworkable.

    1. Laura Sweany says:

      The reclamation of greywater from the 500+ homes will make the farming absolutely easy. The biological filtration areas would also make wonderful habitat for local wildlife. Australia has been doing this for decades.

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