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Pollinator Improvement Plan – a bee-eautiful idea comes to Grow

Bees are the unsung heroes of a healthy ecosystem.

By supporting flowering agricultural crops and orchards, they and their fellow pollinators butterflies and birds are responsible for as much as one-third of the human food supply.

Enjoy tasty local cucumbers, strawberries, apples or even onions? Thank your neighborhood bee.

Grow BEEGrow Community joins the effort to promote our island’s pollinator populations through the Pollinator Improvement Plan (PiP), now under way at Commodore Options School.

The goal: to create a network of pollinator-friendly micro-environments around the island, aiding the industrious apiformes as they seek out nourishment and shelter.

The landscape plan at Grow Community phase 2, the Grove, will include pollinator-friendly native plants with a sequential bloom season to provide food and habitat through the year for pollinators – from hazelnut in late winter/early spring to Oceanspray in late summer. These plants are located throughout the project, not just in the planting beds planted with the “pollinator mix.”

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Grow also features multiple canopy layers in trees, shrubs and perennials, to provide shelter options for pollinators.

Planting under the direction of renowned firm PLACE landscape architects is now underway on the site, even as we round out the first buildings nearby for residency this fall.

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“Bees might not be among our ‘homeowners’ per se, but we want them to be regular visitors,” said Greg Lotakis, Grow Community project manager. “Community gardens have been one of the signature features at Grow from the start, and we want to share those gardens and fruit trees with pollinators who are more reliant on them still.”

PiP is a joint project of Commodore Options program and the City of Bainbridge Island.

During the yearlong program, students will learn about the importance of bees and other pollinators to the natural environment as well as the various threats – overuse of garden chemicals, loss of habitat – their fragile populations presently face.

Grow-village-kids1The multiage curriculum will include mapping of local bee habitats and production of a “Bee’s Eye View” video, to promote bee-friendly planting at homes and neighborhoods throughout the island.

The video will be shown on Earth Day 2016.

Participants will also work with the city to review local landscaping and pesticide policies, to make local public lands pollinator friendly. Students will be part of this community discussion.

“Our COS students are currently conducting the research needed to produce an educational slide show about pollinators. This is a first step to educate themselves about the process, developing a depth of knowledge that will add support throughout the project,” said Carl Lindbloom, project coordinator. “Commodore Options School’s focus is on project based curriculum and community service, so PIP is the perfect fit.”

Watch for more news about Grow Community’s bee-eautiful plantings here in the coming weeks.

HouseSmarts finds smart homes at Grow

Intentionally designed for unintentional connections – that’s Grow Community.

Lou Manfredini (NBC’s Today Show, WGN Radio) and the crew of HouseSmarts visited Grow this past spring, interviewing residents and exploring what is now Washington’s largest solar community just a few steps from Winslow town center.

Manfredini liked what he found at Grow, praising the community for its modern design, neighborhood spirit, and forward-thinking renewable energy features.

“These types of ideas, we can place anywhere in the U.S.,” the host says.
 

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Très bien! French programme Écho-Logis visits Grow Community for television feature

A film crew from the French production house TV Only visited Grow Community last week, shooting a half-hour feature for the magazine show Écho-Logis.

camera2The program features the best examples of sustainable architecture and construction around the globe – so naturally they found their way to Bainbridge Island and Grow.

“We were looking for the greenest places in the U.S.,” says Anthony Da Silva, TV Only journaliste, who admits that while he and the producers had scouted out Grow Community online and were confident it would make a good subject, they were still startled by what they found.

“When we arrived, we were really surprised that it was much more beautiful than the pictures we saw on the web,” Da Silva says, praising Grow for building not just eco-friendly homes but also a whole simpler, low-impact lifestyle.

“It’s not only putting solar panels up and respecting the landscape where you put your house,” he says. “It’s also a feeling. For me, it’s a system, a way to work and to build and to live.”

The four-man production team spent four days on the island after filming an eco-friendly home in Los Angeles the previous week.

interview1Da Silva interviewed Jonathan Davis, architect of Grow Community’s phase one, the Village, along with project manager Greg Lotakis and various residents.

Interviews were conducted inside homes and around the Grow Community grounds and shared P-patch gardens.

A drone-mounted camera buzzed around the neighborhood throughout, zooming down pathways before soaring skyward for dramatic aerial shots of Grow’s solar energy-producing rooftops.

“It was an honor to have the Écho-Logis film crew here,” Lotakis says. “To be able to share a bit of the vision, and have the community’s voice as part of the show, was wonderful. It was a great reminder of how much has been done here that can inspire other communities.”

Écho-Logis presents “beautiful and innovative green projects all around the world by featuring the people who have conceived it, those who live in and interact with it,” producers say, while showing the environmental advantages that come with “an ethical way of building.”

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After returning to France, the team will decamp for Romania and their next feature: a woodland lodge replete with solar power and a system for recycling water.

Now in its fourth season, the Écho-Logis program can be seen on France’s TV5Monde network, available in more than 200 countries.

The Grow Community feature is expected to run late this year as part of the current 40-episode run.

Previous Écho-Logis episodes can be viewed online here.

Grow a paragon of the ‘New Urbanism,’ Professional Builder magazine says

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.19.37 PMPublic engagement, eco-friendly designs, affordable options, and diversity of home styles and offerings are hallmarks of the New Urbanism, the most significant planning movement of recent times.

Grow Community is a paragon of this forward-thinking ethos, Professional Builder magazine says in its new issue.

In the article “The Seaside Effect” (a nod to the first New Urbanist community, Seaside, built in Florida in 1980), Pro Builder fetes Grow for such enlightened features as shared pea-patch gardens, energy-efficient construction and rooftop solar power.

Proximity to Winslow town center – just a 5-minute walk from the heart of the neighborhood – allowed project designers and now residents to move beyond the demands of an automobile-centric lifestyle, toward healthier and more sustainable alternatives.

“We didn’t need to provide anything other than a residential fabric,” Jonathan Davis, Grow’s phase 1 architect, tells the magazine.

Read more about how Grow Community measures up to New Urbanist principles in Professional Builder’s July 2015 edition here – see pages 30-35.

See Grow on HouseSmarts TV

Grow Community will be featured on HouseSmarts, the “reality show for real homeowners,” Aug. 1 on KONG-TV in the Seattle area.

The HouseSmarts crew and contractor/host Lou Manfredini (NBC’s Today Show, WGN Radio) visited Grow for a day this past spring and really liked what they saw.

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The popular 30-minute weekly home improvement program “answers the questions homeowners really want to know,” the producers say. “Nobody adds on a room in one weekend, or lets their neighbors decorate their living room. HouseSmarts follows the progress of real people and lessons learned.”

HouseSmarts’ Grow Community segment airs at 10 a.m. Aug. 1.

For information see www.housesmartstv.com, and you can find the KONG-TV programming guide here.

 

Happy Earth Day from Grow Community

We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, the Native American proverb goes, we borrow it from our children.

The wellbeing of our planet and the quality of life that we’ll leave to future generations is what Grow Community is all about.

Grow-village-kids1Every facet of our design, planning and construction asks a simple question: How can we build a healthier, more sustainable community?

The success of our first neighborhood, the Village, says we’re finding the right answers. Now, as work progresses on our next two phases, the Grove and the Park, word is really getting around.

Over this past year, we were honored to present the community at the Northwest Eco-Building Guild Green Building Slam event.  The Urban Land Institute made Grow a prominent waypoint on its roadmap to healthy neighborhoods, the excellent “Building Healthy Places Toolkit.” And we were featured in the new eco-focused publication Conscious Company.

As we reached 100 percent solar participation among our single-family homes in the Village, Solar Builder magazine named Grow one of the nation’s top residential solar installations, and we were named 2014 Home of the Year by Green Builder Magazine.

Perhaps the best accolade of all came from the National Association of Home Builders, who gave Grow its very highest honors – the prestigious Platinum Award and Best In Green Award in the 2014 Best In American Living contest.

We think we’re really on to something – a new model for healthy, sustainable urban living, one that offers the template for new neighborhoods and multi-generational living around the country and the globe.

We’re thinking ahead, and we’re thinking big. At Grow Community, we know we borrow the earth from our children – and we want to return it to them, with interest.

From all of us at Grow Community, Happy Earth Day!
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March Construction Update: Garage is on good footing(s)

Work on Grow Community’s Phase 2 underground parking garage continues apace. Crews are now installing rebar and cables for the post tension slab for the Salal building, forming up walls and columns for the garage of the Elan townhomes, and crafting footings for the Juniper.  In utility news, a water line that will serve the new buildings is being routed up from the local main. It looks like foul weather is (mostly) behind us, so be sure to watch the dramatic progress each time you go past the work site.

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ULI finds Grow on its roadmap to healthy neighborhoods

The Urban Land Institute has drawn up its roadmap for healthy development, and Grow Community is a prominent waypoint.

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Grow is cited twice in the “Building Health Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment,” an expansive new report on sustainable planning and construction from the ULI. The report looks at developments and communities that have been successful in promoting physical activity, healthy food and clean drinking water, and general social well-being.

Grow’s famous community gardens and “edible landscaping” are cited as a prime amenity in today’s urban and suburban planning.

“Participation in community gardening activities can increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and when community members come together around the growing of food, the interaction promotes social bonds and connections,” the editors write. “Local produce helps reduce pollution associated with shipping food long distances.”

The ULI notes that gardening has enjoyed a growing popularity across the country, a trend that is expected to continue: “Small farms can take the place of golf courses as community centerpieces, can cost less on an upfront and ongoing basis, and can provide community members with fresh, locally grown food.”

Grow is also touted for earning certification under the One Planet Living program, whose ambitious 10-point goals promote reducing humans’ impact on the earth. You can read all about Grow’s impressive One Planet designation elsewhere on our website.

“Reading a report” might not sound like the most scintillating springtime activity, but the ULI’s new “Building Healthy Places Toolkit” will surprise you – we promise. It’s a very colorful read, and highlights the most forward-thinking work being done in planning and construction today.

View the report here (page 48 online & 40 in print) and find out more about the sustainable vision that earned Grow Community recognition among the very best new neighborhoods anywhere.

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Conscious Company finds the future at Grow

Conscious Company Magazine, a new journal focusing on innovation and sustainability, recently paid a call on Grow Community to get the scoop on our über-intentional neighborhood.

logo“It’s an inspiring model of community development and one that we hope will begin to scale throughout the rest of the country,” writes Maren Keeley, whose magazine bills itself as “The Future of Business as Usual.”

Maren sat down with Greg Lotakis, our project manager, for a great interview that highlights the best of what Grow has to offer. Here’s an excerpt:

MK: What aspect of this community are you most proud of?

GL: Ultimately, all the “cool” around sustainability means nothing without community. Really, Grow Community Bainbridge is about creating opportunities for residents to support each other in the pursuit of One Planet Living. Being able to walk across your path and connect with your neighbor over a glass of wine, share time in the garden with your grandchild, or watch kids and dogs play in the open space at the end of a day makes Grow special. It all comes back to health and happiness.

MK: Do you feel this idea can scale and be brought to other communities in the U.S.?

GL: We truly hope so. There are so many great builders and innovators in green building that now it’s time to be thinking large-scale. Too many neighborhoods have been developed for one particular moment in our lives, lack energy efficiency, or allow vehicles to disconnect us from one another.

You can read the whole interview with Greg Lotakis here.

Thanks to Maren Keeley and the new Conscious Company Magazine for the fantastic coverage.

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Grow sets the table for Urban Agriculture

Grow Community is outstanding in its field — more precisely, its planter boxes.

Grow is one of 10 exemplars of the new Urban Agriculture, the Urban Land Institute Magazine says in its current issue. The ULI praises Grow for the rich mix of raised beds and plantings throughout the community grounds, tended by residents and yielding a bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs to be shared by all.

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It’s a sustainable strategy, the magazine writes, narrowing the wasteful distance between farm and table and enhancing food security. It’s an idea that’s catching on — and one that puts Grow Community in the forefront of a national movement.

“The rise of the locavore movement dovetails with an increased awareness of the health benefits of choosing fresh vegetables and fruits over highly processed foods,” ULI writes. “In response, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, developers, and entrepreneurs are bringing agrarian practices into the city, shrinking food deserts, helping educate people about gardening practices, and reconnecting city dwellers to the source of their food.”

Grow Community’s first phase, the Village, includes extensive gardens while the next phase, the Grove, now under construction, will be arranged around an orchard to produce “edible landscaping.”

Other projects feted by the ULI include the Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, La.; sprawling and productive rooftop gardens on Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center; and other amazing plots and pea-patches that have sprouted up in unlikely urban settings in Toronto, London, Montreal, Los Angeles and other major metropolitan areas. Great company for Grow!

Thanks to the Urban Land Institute for calling attention to Grow Community’s commitment to healthy, sustainable urban agriculture.

Read the whole story here.