Guest Post: Durham Welcomes The Nation’s First Net-Zero Agrihood

This is another guest post from Logan Cason. You can find his first post here. Logan lives with his wife in a 1950s ranch in North Durham. He writes about pretty much anything he wants to learn about, and right now he wants to learn about modern residential architecture so he can design his dream home someday. You can follow him on Twitter @logancason5

When you drive north out of the Bull City, past the brand-new office buildings and swanky high rises, past the hip breweries and chic coffee shops, past the bodegas and taquerias, the scenery slowly turns green. Just past the city limits—in the wide-open space of Durham county—a new type of community is sprouting from the earth: Wetrock Farm, the first net-zero agrihood in the US.


The agrihood concept has grown in popularity over the past few years as more homebuyers value locally sourced food. An agrihood builds the community around a farm, and it encourages community involvement. With Wetrock Farm, not only will homeowners get fresh produce from a professionally managed farmstead; they’ll also get LEED-certified homes with sustainable utilities.

Rick Bagel, the community’s founder, knew Durham was the perfect place for his vision. After graduating from Duke University with a BS in Economics in 2008, he went on to pursue an MBA in Real Estate from the University of Miami. He returned to Durham, because he loved the small-town culture and impressive food scene. “Durham’s the best,” Rick said. “Businesses are moving here; the air is clean; the people are friendly, and there’s lots of growth.” He also saw the value in the land.

With help from investors, Rick purchased the 230-acre property, which sat unused in Bahama, just north of the legendary Arrowhead Inn on Highway 501. Most of the investors were Bull City natives, and many of them were attracted to the concept because they wanted something new and unique for Durham, especially something that fit the local eco-conscious ethos. Initially, Rick assumed most homebuyers would be attracted to the farm and solar power, but an early marketing survey revealed that most people liked the agrihood concept because it generated a close-knit community. People wanted to be a part of something special with their neighbors.


In general, this is the draw of any affinity community. People want to live around other like-minded people. Some communities are built around pools or golf courses, but Rick believes people will want to live in Wetrock Farm because of what it represents: a shared desire to create a better way of life, one that offers comfortable living with the peace of mind that comes with environmental stewardship.

Every home in Wetrock Farm will be LEED certified and net zero, thanks to modern residential construction methods and renewable energy technology. A professionally managed farm will provide fresh produce, and residents will be able to participate in the ecosystem with an organized composting plan and educational programs. The 15-acre farm will off year-round produce with heated greenhouses, and it will partner with neighboring farms to ensure a wide variety of locally sourced freshness. In addition, residents will enjoy amenities like yoga classes in the fitness center and a trail system winding throughout 100 acres of forest on the property.

The streets at Wetrock Farm are already taking shape, and presales will begin by mid-summer with the first homes ready for move-in by the beginning of 2020. To learn more about this future community, visit wetrockfarm.com.






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