What If Housing Developments Required Food Not Lawns?

I recently visited family in the outskirts of Sacramento and came across a housing development called “The Vineyard.” The entrance sign sports standard McMansion housing development cursive font but instead of traditional landscaping, there are rows of grape vines surrounding the sign. I was a little confused. Is it a housing development or is it a vineyard? I meandered through recently paved streets to find $750,000 homes interspersed with empty lots, that all had rows of wine grapes growing in the front yard instead of the standard lush green lawn. See one of the homes pictured above.

I guess the concept is living on your own private vineyard. I noticed that all the grapes were shriveling up on the vines. Maybe the plants were too young to be much good for harvest but the clear intent of the development is to cash in on the vibe of the local food system, the working vineyard down the road. It’s more about looks than substance.

I have to give them an “A” for effort. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. Here are my recommendations for a more substantive development concept. How about “The Pumpkin Patch” and instead of a front lawn everyone gets a pumpkin patch plot where they compete annually for the largest pumpkin and have a massive Fall festival that everyone looks forward to all year. Or how about “Berry Lane” where everyone grows various kinds of berries and has a whole week they set aside to make berry jams and jellies. Or how about “Salsa-lito” where everyone has a salsa garden with onions, cilantro, tomatos and tomatillos. Or how about “Pickle Palaces” where everyone has a front yard of pickling cucumbers, garlic and dill plants.

Feel free to offer your own ideas on the housing development of the future. Let me know if your interested in putting up a couple of million dollars to get one of them rolling here in Spokane.