Agritopia, outside Phoenix, has sixteen acres of certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep). Fences gripped by grapevines and blackberry bushes separate the farm from the community's 452 single-family homes, each with a wide front porch and sidewalks close enough to encourage conversation. The hub of neighborhood life is a small square overlooking the farm, with a coffeehouse, farm-to-table restaurant and honor-system farm stand. The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey, which come with a $100-a-month membership in the community-supported agriculture, or CSA, program.
'Wednesday is the highlight of my week,' says Ben Wyffels. 'To be able to walk down the street with my kids and get fresh, healthy food is amazing.' Because the Agritopia farm is self-sustaining, no fees are charged to support it, other than the cost of buying produce at the farm stand or joining the CSA. Agritopia was among the first agrihoods — like Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.; Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Ill.; South Village in South Burlington, Vt.; and Hidden Springs in Boise, Idaho. 'The interest is so great, we're kind of terrified trying to catch up with all the calls,' says Quint Redmond adding that in addition to developers, he hears from homeowners' associations and golf course operators who want to transform their costly-to-maintain green spaces into revenue-generating farms. Driving the demand, Redmond says, are the local-food movement and the aspirations of many Americans to be gentlemen (or gentlewomen) farmers. 'Everybody wants to be Thomas Jefferson these days.'" The city of Detroit is planning a 26.9-acre urban farm project on one of its vacant high school properties. Produce from the project will be included in meals for students in the district and later to the larger community.
You are correct, but it only makes business sense if you can mitigate some of the inherent higher financial risk that comes with doing business with poor people. That's why it's a fee-based structure, and that's why the fees are so high -- they have to offset the statistically-higher percentage of poor people who (for whatever reason) don't / can't hold up their end of the bargain -- by trying to cash bad checks etc. Many people blame the banks for this simply because "the banks are evil," but in reality, that's why interest rates for people with low credit scores are so much higher than they are for people with good credit scores -- there's a direct correlation between credit score and lending risk. The less risky borrowers are more desirable potential customers, so the banks compete for them by offering them a lower rate.
I do agree that this country needs to have an conversation about the growing number of poor, but it must be an honest conversation -- one that acknowledges that sometimes the poor are exploited by lenders, and also one that acknowledges that it's risky to lend money to poor people, because they're less likely to be able to pay it back.
had good interest rates
This is because historic interest rates were insane at the time -- the highest they've ever been. When you bought a house, your mortgage rate was about the same as the one you have when you run a balance on a credit card today. Can you imagine buying a house with your credit card, and running that balance for decades? That's what it was like -- so be careful what you wish for when pining for the 80s, especially regarding interest rates.