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  • Writer's pictureSheila Alston

AGRITOPIA: Residents of Agritopia understand the secret of living well

By Sheila Alston, Founder of HealthyHOME Media

A few years ago, we had the pleasure of featuring a remarkable community that captured the hearts of our readers and us alike: Agritopia. Located in Gilbert, AZ, this wellness lifestyle community left a lasting impression with its unique blend of a certified organic working farm and a residential area spanning 90 acres, comprising 452 homes. Today, we are thrilled to revisit this incredible community and share its amazing story with both our loyal readers and new enthusiasts. Whether you are a family looking to embrace a sustainable lifestyle, an individual seeking a close-knit community, or someone who values a deeper connection with nature, Agritopia offers a truly unique and enriching experience for those who call it home.

Every month, we uncover awe-inspiring communities that embody wellness at their core. Agritopia, nestled in Gilbert, AZ, exemplifies a growing trend across the US known as Agri-hoods, where residential living is integrated with agriculture. Here, residents indulge in organic farm-to-table dining, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and a slower, more connected way of life. To gain an insider's perspective on what makes Agritopia so unique, we had the privilege of sitting down with Katie Critchley. Katie, who has been working with the family for over 11 years and is one of the first residents in the community, shared her enthusiasm for this extraordinary neighborhood.

Rooted in Community

Agritopia's journey began with a simple idea: a home on a farm. The land, farmed since 1927, came into the care of Jim and Virginia Johnston and their three sons when it was sold in 1960. Living on the farm, the family flourished. However, in the 1990s, as suburban development encroached on neighboring farmland, the Johnstons brainstormed ways to preserve the land they cherished deeply. It was the literal and figurative seed planted by Jim and Virginia's sons that paved the way for Agritopia. Collaborating with a team of professionals, including land planners, landscape architects, the Town of Gilbert, and community developers, Joe, the eldest son, led the evolution of their vision. They aspired to create a simpler yet fulfilling life in a present-day village that honored the farming traditions of the past. Over five years, beginning in 2003, 452 homes were built, all unified by the vision of preserving farmland and fostering a thriving, close-knit community.

"Residents don't want to leave because we've created such strong bonds with our neighbors that all our friends live here. Property values are 20% higher in Agritopia than those across the street. Homes don't even come available that often, and when they do, they sell fast. Many are sold off market. You know you have something special when we have 3 generations of families living in the same community. " says Katie.

A Vibrant Village Life

Agritopia's inspiration drew from the charm of European villages, which celebrated walkability, fostering connections among people and businesses. Unlike conventional developments, where large homes and garages often separate residents, Agritopia embraced a design focused on front porches, sidewalks, and walkable amenities. Within this vibrant community, you'll find a delightful coffee shop, four restaurants, a winery, and the beloved working farm.

Photo Credit: Agritopia

Accessible to everyone, the farm offers community plots and a farmstand, creating a lively village within the neighborhood. Residents get to experience an active and social lifestyle that enhances their overall well-being.

A Multi-Generational Haven

Agritopia was envisioned as more than just a place to live; it was intended as a thriving community embracing multi-generational living. Studies have shown that being part of a community leads to longer and more fulfilling lives. With Generations, an assisted living and memory care facility integrated into the neighborhood, children can easily visit their grandparents and great-grandparents, strengthening family bonds.

Today, the Johnston family continues to live in Agritopia, remaining humble and committed to stewardship of the land. Three generations thrive within the community they envisioned, where families build a lifestyle centered on community. The Johnston family's legacy is nothing short of incredible, showcasing the power of ideas driven by service and a genuine desire to help others.

Agritopia stands as a living testament to the beauty of community-driven developments and the enduring impact of values-based living. If you're seeking a wellness-oriented community that embraces simplicity, sustainability, and a strong sense of belonging, Agritopia may be your dream destination. For more information on Agritopia and their inspiring journey, reach out to them directly at

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