Dreaming of Wintering at Agritopia in Gilbert, Arizona

Last Updated on December 24, 2012 by Jody Halsted

I’m going to begin this post with a little admission. 

I’m a farm snob.

Lettuce in the Agritopia Community Garden
Lettuce in the Agritopia Community Garden

It wasn’t something I realized, or was even aware one could be, until I spent some time in Glibert, Arizona.

Now, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Arizona, especially the area around Phoenix, is desert.  And I currently live in one of the greenest, most fruitful places on Earth.  So you can imagine that the last thing I was prepared to be impressed by was a farming community.  And then I entered Agritopia®.

Agritopia® Began With a Family Farm

Red Leaf Lettuce at The Farm Stand at Agritopia
Red Leaf Lettuce at The Farm Stand at Agritopia

Agritopia®, a luscious combination of agriculture and utopia, is a planned community that sits where the Johnston family farm once produced cotton and wheat.  The original farm house is now the incredibly popular Joe’s Farm Grill, where the menu is determined by the produce grown in the production garden.  Nearby sit farm buildings that now house The Farm Stand, The Coffee Shop and a Vespa repair shop- Joe Johnston’s hobby when he’s not leading tours around the community.

Just in front of the commercial garden sits the largest community garden in Arizona, filled with personal plots overflowing with vibrant greens and brilliant orange carrots.  And surrounding this are 450 residential plots of varying sizes with a myriad of housing types and yard sizes. 

Washing Carrots at Agritopia
Washing a Carrot, Picked Fresh from the Garden at Agritopia

With public amenities like a swimming pool and park, as well as a private school in the center of town, Agritopia® has the feel of a small, welcoming village; far enough removed from the busy-ness of the city, but near enough to the amenities provided by Phoenix and its’ suburbs.  I appreciate that a portion of the home owner association dues are allocated to social events designed to bring the community together, and I adore the tree lined streets, welcoming front porches and backyard fences designed to talk over, not block out.

Snowbirding In Agritopia

Here in Iowa we lose much of our population in the winter to warmer southern climes; many to Arizona.  While I couldn’t imagine it before, after visiting Agritopia® the thought of warm winters is beginning to appeal to me.  I can totally imagine my family wintering in one of the sweet cottage houses, walking through the neighborhood in the evenings, chatting with neighbors, and enjoying our summer Iowa experiences during the winter in Arizona.

Even if this little dream doesn’t come to fruition, I have to thank Agritopia® for showing this farm girl that there is more to Arizona than cactus and desert.

I also want to thank the SunnyAZ CVB for hosting Brenna and I during this trip.


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  1. Yes, we did. But when winter gets nasty I think I want to snowbird here….

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