Housing Opportunity 2014 - Growing Healthier: Linking Housing, Food, and Community, Laura Cole

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Laura Cole, Willowsford, LLC

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  • Property acquired in 2009; Willowsford team and concept established in 2010; community opened for sales in October 2011
    4 non-contiguous villages totaling approximately 4,125 acres
    36 miles from Washington DC, West of Dulles Airport
    2 villages north of Rt. 50; 2 villages south of Rt. 50
    Located in the Transition Zone Between urbanized eastern Loudoun and Rural western Loudoun
  • Formerly planned for 15,000 units and a golf course

    Little appetite for rezoning

    Developing by-right—all single family

    50% of property set aside in open space

    Loudoun has a strong agricultural heritage

    Willowsford had and was using parcels for agricultural uses
  • Conducted focus groups

    2010 market was still very cautious
  • Can’t give this to an HOA…way too much to manage
    This is in addition to the HOA
    Also allowed us to raise money which is more problematic with HOA structure
  • Conducted soils test
    Identified best fields for production and livestock
    Seasonal Eating / Locavores
    Even if CSA isnt for you, you can have your own local, fresh grocer in your neighborhood
  • Young Farmer Movement
    Very well educated
    Don’t have land, we do – Conservancy eliminates the risk of losing the land
    Passionate, want to make their mark on the farm
    Housing essential
    Give them “ownership” and free reign—Staff of The Willowsford Conservancy
    Responsible for developing business plan – self sustaining in 5 years
  • Young Farmer Movement
    Very well educated
    Don’t have land, we do – Conservancy eliminates the risk of losing the land
    Passionate, want to make their mark on the farm
    Housing essential
    Give them “ownership” and free reign—Staff of The Willowsford Conservancy
    Responsible for developing business plan – self sustaining in 5 years
  • Farm practices revolve around Holistic Farming, meaning we work with natural processes that allow us to grow strong and healthy crops with few off-farm inputs.

    We strive to farm holistically, meaning we work with natural processes that allow us to grow strong and healthy crops with few off-farm inputs.

    Farm is 1/5 the cost of a golf course
  • Conducted soils test
    Identified best fields for production and livestock
    Seasonal Eating / Locavores
    Even if CSA isnt for you, you can have your own local, fresh grocer in your neighborhood
  • Chef Bonnie Moore is Willowsford’s Culinary Advisor, worked on kitchens and developed the culinary program
    Works closely with Mike to bring in vendors that meet the same standards
    Mainstream community, programming commensurate with the expertise (101)
    Children developing a whole new vocabulary around food…Bok Choi, Kale,
    Newsletter shares historic origins of food, how to prepare and preserve, and recipes
    Culinary classes take the food from the farm into the kitchen
    From basic cutting classes to full course meals
  • Integrating recreation with food is a core tenant of Willowsford’s ethos
  • Farm has been a major differentiator in the market

    “Pop up” Farm and Markets—beware of the marketing gimmick, bringing stuff in from offsite

    Takes a great deal of commitment and capital to invest if you want to do it right

    Goal is to grow for our residents—1/3 today; ½ is our goal…ultimatley, we’d like to see our homeowners all be CSA members or connect with the Market
  • Housing Opportunity 2014 - Growing Healthier: Linking Housing, Food, and Community, Laura Cole

    1. 1. CULTIVATING A NEW WAY OF LIVING IN LOUDOUN COUNTY LAURA COLE MAY 16, 2014
    2. 2. THE OPPORTUNITY 4,000 ACRES IN THE PATH OF GROWTH 2
    3. 3. THE OPPORTUNITY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PLACE 3
    4. 4. THE OPPORTUNITY LARGE TRENDS TO CAPITALIZE ON 4 We underwrote the Loudoun County buyer profile we expected to come out of the downturn: • Highly educated – 58% BA or higher • Highest HH income in THE COUNTRY - $119k • Quality of schools important • Concerned about the food chain…source, distribution, and quality • Focused on health and recreation • Seeking meaningful connections to family, friends, and nature..a simpler life • Want to live in a “real place” with a true sense of community
    5. 5. THE OPPORTUNITY POSITIONING WILLOWSFORD 5 • 4 Distinctive Villages Interconnected Within the Framework of One Community • Reject Northern Virginia “Sameness” and Create a Community True to The History, Culture, and Traditions of Loudoun County • Defining Features • Lots Sited within “agricultural theaters” • 2,000+ Acres of Open Space Managed in a Conservancy • Willowsford Farm and Culinary Focus • 45+ Miles of Multipurpose Trails • Unique Amenities—Camp Sites, Sledding Hills, Tree Houses, Fishing Piers • Repurposed Materials • Education and Lifestyle Programming
    6. 6. IMPLEMENTATION MANAGING 2,000+ ACRES OF OPEN SPACE 6 • Established by Founder in 2011 • Long-term steward of the approximate 2,000 acres progressively dedicated to the Conservancy as the community develops • 501(c)4 Structure • Example of Virginia Piedmont countryside to be privately owned, managed and maintained in perpetuity as provided for in the Community Covenant • Conservancy is separate from the HOA • Supported by Community Enhancement Fees paid upon transfer of title, earned income from farming and other Conservancy- supported activities, annual assessments and through grants, contributions and sponsorships • Beneficiaries include the Willowsford residents whose quality of life is enhanced, the greater community whose rural landscapes are maintained, and the diversity of wildlife and their habitats which are sustained
    7. 7. WILLOWSFORD FARM 7 • 300+ Acres • 150+ varieties of fruits and vegetables • Small livestock—laying hens and chickens for poultry • Goats for mowing • Bees for honey and pollination • Weekly CSA Program • Veggie • Egg • Flower • Chicken & Meat • Milk & Bread • Kombucha • Market Stand Open 3 days a week—May through November • Value-add Products • Educational programming and farm events
    8. 8. THE FARM 8
    9. 9. THE FARM 9
    10. 10. WILLOWSFORD FARM MISSION 10 • To support our community with food that is healthy and tastes great • To keep our land open, accessible, and productive • To enhance the environmental and agricultural resources of Willowsford and the watershed we reside in • To integrate the farm into the fabric of the Willowsford community o Serve as a social and educational resource for the community o Encourage all members of the community to make healthy lifestyle choices, particularly in regard to the food we eat, our relationships with our home, and the activities we participate in.
    11. 11. WILLOWSFORD FARM LOCAL, SEASONAL EATING 11
    12. 12. WILLOWSFORD FARM 12
    13. 13. WILLOWSFORD FARM TO KITCHEN THE LODGE & SYCAMORE HOUSE 13
    14. 14. WILLOWSFORD FARM TO KITCHEN THE LODGE & SYCAMORE HOUSE 14
    15. 15. WILLOWSFORD FARM TO KITCHEN THE LODGE & SYCAMORE HOUSE 15
    16. 16. WILLOWSFORD FARM TO KITCHEN THE LODGE & SYCAMORE HOUSE 16
    17. 17. WILLOWSFORD FARM TO KITCHEN EDUCATION 17
    18. 18. 18 INTEGRATING HEALTH & RECREATION
    19. 19. AGRI-COMMUNITIES A GROWING TREND – BUT HAS TO BE REAL 19

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