In 1960, Jim and Virginia Johnston bought an alfalfa hay farm in Gilbert, Arizona and built a home on it to raise their three sons. As Jim approached retirement in the 1990s, he and his family realized that the farmland on which their house sat would likely be sold to developers.
A visionary solution from one of their sons led to an agreement to preserve a portion of the agricultural land while at the same time creating a partnership with a developer to build new homes on the property. The result was the creation of Agritopia, a 160 acre masterplan community of 452 single-family homes that surround an 11-acre USDA certified organic farm. In 2015, the family formed the Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture, to oversee the 11 acre organic farm in perpetuity.