Farm life is officially taking root at Arden, the only “agrihood” in South Florida and among the first in the state. The master-planned community in western Palm Beach County that features a working farm and event barn as a central component has added full-time farm directors, Tripp Eldridge and Carmen Franz. The duo will be responsible for all aspects of the five-acre parcel that will grow tropical fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to be shared among residents.
Eldridge began his career in organic agriculture in 2003 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, and he has studied farms and food systems in Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain. Over the years, he has grown crops and plants in a variety of settings, ranging from manicured college campuses and pristine botanical gardens to production-focused row crops and ranch land. Since 2009, he has been managing community-supported agriculture farms throughout Georgia and Tennessee, most recently serving as farm director of a 400-acre farm on the family land of former U.S. vice president and environmental crusader Al Gore.
Franz will work alongside Eldridge to manage the daily farm operations, logistics, programming in the event barn and outreach to residents. She began building and maintaining community farms while working in the Peace Corps as a sustainable agriculture teacher in Panamá and later as the founder of a one-acre teaching farm at the University of North Florida. She gained valuable program management experience during her tenure as program director for Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers Inc. (FOG), where she developed and implemented programs to promote community health and local, sustainable and fair food systems. A graduate of the University of Florida with a focus on agriculture policy and sustainable and organic crop production, Franz also joins Arden from Gore Farms, where she was CSA manager.
“We believe growing and sharing organic food has the power to heal the Earth and our human culture,” they explained. “We love working on farms and have made it our mission to help build inclusive, fun, welcoming environments for all ages. We can’t wait to get our hands dirty at Arden.”
Arden will eventually have 2,000 homes with community green space, including parks, playfields, greenways, nature trails or lakes. The property features 20 miles of walking and biking trails; 200 acres of lakes for fishing, kayaking or canoeing; and a great lawn for events. The central component of community life is the farm and event barn, which is scheduled to open in the fall.
Freehold Communities is the development team behind Arden, located at 19425 Southern Blvd. Learn more at www.ardenfl.com.