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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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Urban Land likes Grow’s common spaces

Grow Community got some more great kudos this week in Urban Land, the online magazine of the prestigious Urban Land Institute.

Grow is honored in the feature article “Growing Sociability: Integrating Communal Spaces with Development,” which looks at “agrihoods” (development-supported agriculture), edible landscaping, and other trends in sustainable community design.

“A new day is dawning in residential development that can serve as a foundation for how people will be living for generations to come,” ULI writes, a comment amplified by a leading architect and town planner.

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Community, the planner says, is the next generation’s golf course – an attractive amenity to build a whole neighborhood around — and developments that include a working farm or agricultural activities are creating new healthy, cohesive communities.

Sounds like Grow! Our project manager Greg Lotakis tells ULI how Grow Community’s shared gardens are the axis around which our first phase, the Village, is organized. And what a draw those gardens are for buyers.

“We have microhoods—six or eight homes that face each other and the community gardens between them,” Greg says. “The neighbors work together and decide what they want to plant – and the gardens have really brought neighbors together. When people come to see the community, they see how lush the garden spaces are and the community interaction they create.”

It’s a great article on this exciting trend in urban planning, all the better for highlighting the success of our own Grow Community. Read the whole story here.

 

What’s it like to live at Grow Community?

Our bountiful neighborhood gardens get all the press, but there’s still plenty going on during these chilly indoor months.

YULE FEST: Over the holidays one Grow resident hosted a Weihnacht Evening, a German-themed Christmas get-together with tasty hot mulled wine (and NA cider, for those who don’t imbibe), homemade cookies and spicy bread.

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FETE ’15: Across the way, residents of the new Cooper building threw a neighborhood-wide New Year’s Eve party, a get-acquainted social to introduce Grow’s most recent residents.

BARGAINS & BINS: Our eco-conscious ethos served us well through the holidays, as residents made sure unneeded items found their way to the nearby Bargain Boutique thrift store, and leftover packaging wound up in the appropriate recycling bin.

STAYING SAFE: Grow’s Emergency Preparedness Training got underway with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, with the goal of “Building and Strengthening Disaster Readiness Among Neighbors.” Emphasis was on “mapping” the neighborhood to know our neighborhood resources and identify residents who might be vulnerable in an emergency. Grow is all about being a self-sustaining community.

PEDALS READY: The new bike barn was finished – and promptly filled up with two-wheeled wonders. One resident donated a small children’s bike community use, for any young visitors who want to get to know Grow by pedaling around the green.

GETTING ON BOARD: For strategically minded gamers, a new neighborhood Chess Group is forming.

Oh — and the 2015 Garden Committee is now looking for new members to plan for the upcoming planting season. You didn’t think we could get through a whole post without mentioning the gardens, did you?

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Grow Community’s first phase, the Village, is at full occupancy, so we’re making more room just for … you. Find out what our next two neighborhoods, the Grove and the Park, have to offer by visiting our sales office at 180 Olympic Drive in Winslow, just up the way from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal.

Learn more about the Grove on our website here and pay us a visit! We’d like you as a neighbor too.

Grow earns prestigious “Green Home of the Year” award

Grow Community has been honored with a coveted “Green Home of the Year Award” in the “Best Community Project” category for 2014 by Green Builder magazine.

In a feature headlined “Holistic Homes,” the magazine praises Grow for “connect[ing] health and happiness with sustainability” through every element of design and construction.

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The magazine highlights Grow’s advanced framing techniques, weather-tight building envelopes, and locally sourced solar products among other distinguishing features. Grow is already the largest planned solar community in Washington state, with a solar component also planned for the next two phases, the Grove and the Park.

An expert panel of judges considered nearly 40 projects on criteria including overall sustainability, resilience, affordability, synergy with the environment and surrounding neighborhood, and depth of building science employed.

“Our winners combine the best of tradition and technology — homes of great beauty that are also resilient and flexible,” the editors write to introduce the awards.

Jonathan Davis, architect for Grow’s first phase, the Village, tells Green Builder that all the principles of One Planet Living on which the Village was designed supported the goals of health and happiness.

“When my kids go out the door, I know they’re safe,” says Davis, now a resident of the Village.

Read this great feature on the Green Building website page 22.

 

IT’S SO EASY BEING GREEN

Your closest neighbor at Grow Community? The environment. Healthy, sustainable living has never been more convenient.

Grow puts you close to your community – and closer still to the great outdoors. Residents of the Grove enjoy the quiet company of woodland trees and an orchard right outside their doors; homes in the Park flank the sprawling central green that gives the neighborhood its name.

Altogether, sixty percent of these neighborhoods are dedicated to peaceful and natural open spaces. Parking is underground, reducing impervious surfaces and putting cars out of sight (where they belong).

Not that you’ll really need a car. We’ve got bikes you can borrow, too.

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Summer’s glow warms us still

Even as we slip into a lovely high autumn, we can still take a fond look back to Grow Community’s summer garden party.

Residents of the Village celebrated the rich greenery and edible bounty found throughout the neighborhood with a festive and tasty afternoon get-together.

Flowers in glorious bloom. Vegetables ripe and ready. And neighbors who give the Northwest’s greenest community its amity and spirit. Now that was a day worth celebrating.

We’re already looking ahead to next summer!

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Community spirit bring a bumper harvest at Grow Community

Posted to BioRegional Blog
September 26, 2014

Grow resident Ron Kaplan shares how self-sufficiency and community spirit have come together for a bumper harvest at Grow Community, as edibles sprout up in time for Local & Sustainable Food month.
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Edibles in the new Bainbridge Island neighborhood are sprouting up in time for Local and Sustainable Food month, even amongst the native landscaping. On one footpath, tomatoes grow side by side with fronded ferns. “Only in the Northwest, huh?” says Ron Kaplan, a resident of the uber-green development now taking shape a short ferry ride across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. Grow Community’s first neighborhood – dubbed the Village, one of three phases in a planned 8-acre project – was designed to reflect and promote sustainability at every turn. Rooftop solar provides much of the power for each home, while the residents share bicycles to reach merchants and services in nearby Winslow town center.

The One Planet Living principles so foundational to the project encourage the sharing of locally grown, organic food. So the signature stroke for both self-sufficiency and a communitarian spirit may be the neighborhood P-patch gardens that nestle amongst the close-knit, architecturally arresting homes. Autumn finds the first three designated gardens a veritable cornucopia overflowing with onions, pumpkins, spinach, peas, eggplant, kale, chard, exotic herbs and other delectables. Grapes and other vine fruits hang from trellises in the wings.

The neighborhood organized a community potluck in late August to celebrate the bounty — and the shared endeavor it represents. “There was a lot of good food, all based on vegetables from the gardens,” Kaplan says. “And it was another excuse for people to get together.” The gardeners are still finding a certain equilibrium between their own tastes and the collective palate. The recent harvest produced a surfeit of beans and squash, says Kaplan, confessing his own complicity in a bumper crop of fiery hot peppers. But any excess just gets carted up the street to Helpline House, the local food bank.

“It wasn’t the Soviet Union model of centralized planning,” Kaplan says. “One of the lessons is, next year there might be more coordination about what’s planted.” More raised beds are now going in next to a just-completed apartment building at the project’s north end, and new residents there will assume their own stewardship of the soil or fall into other neighborhood roles. At Grow Community, Kaplan says, everyone chips in according to their interests and abilities, but the harvest is open to all. “People contribute to the community in different ways,” he says. “I’m putting my time into the gardens, others are putting their time into something else. But they should all be able to harvest – so they do.”

Building for Generations

grow-grandpaThe neighborhoods at Grow have intergenerational living at their heart – because a true community should be “as welcoming to a 73-year-old as it is to a 3-year-old.”

In our new neighborhoods, the Grove and the Park, sixty percent of the homes offer single-level living with elevator access to front entries, and the community spaces invite interaction and sharing between generations year-round.

And accessibility extends beyond the neighborhood. You’re just 5 minutes from downtown amenities like shops, restaurants and theaters – even ice cream.

If you haven’t visited yet, come find out more about intergenerational living at Grow Community at our sales office, 180 Olympic Drive SE, right next to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. The office is open noon to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Or see www.growbainbridge.com

 

One Planet Lunch for Construction Team

Contractors in the Grow Community PHC Construction team were treated to a locally grown luncheon on the job site last week. All food for the noontime repast was grown on Bainbridge and North Kitsap farms. Local agriculture, sustainability and health are always on the menu at Grow!

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Historic Honoring Ceremony – Thursday, March 20th

On Thursday (March 20th) at 12.30pm a local Bainbridge community group will be joining the Grow team to honor those that lived or grew up along Government Way (John Adams) on what is now the Grow Community property.  The ceremony will be held on the current basketball court (behind house 370) on John Adams and then move to the American Legion Hall.

Culture & CommunityThe ceremony will last 30 to 45 minutes and include short stories from each of the following:
Grow Family – Jon Quitsland
Japanese Community – Kay Nakao
Military Community – TBD
Grow Community’s Future – Greg Lotakis

The ceremony was initiated between the Grow Team and a Bainbridge community group lead by Karen Vargas, out of a desire to honor the early Japanese Community in this area of the island as well as those families and Military Veterans that made the Government Way housing their home, and to capture the stories of those that spent time in this place.

An early historical record/study was commissioned (Quitsland report) during the planning process for the Grow project to inform us about the history of the area.  While the report touches only the tip of the iceberg, much of the history is rich with food production and community – two of the major themes for our new development.  The Grow Family homesteaded in the area and on the property we are developing.  What was once a strawberry field will again be home to fruit trees and garden beds.  The next 5 acre phase of the project alone will have 3 acres of open space that will be mixed with fields, orchards, and light forest groves.

The history of this site teaches us that the area was rich with community connection. The beauty in our recent work with Karen and others is the richness of the place in community and the stories we plan to tell andpreserve.  The military families and the Japanese community who touched this land each provide a glimpse into the past.  Our intent is that the Grow neighborhood will honor the past by creating a renewed connection to community through the land.  In our opinion, too often new development disregards these connections to each other, therebylimiting  opportunities to create a sense of place.

We are working toward a way to share the stories once the Grow neighborhood is complete.   We are currently considering telling the story in a variety of formats within our new community center and through interpretive signage throughout the property.

Some other worthy notes include:

1/  All play equipment will be collected by BI Parks Department for future reuse
2/  Small items from the homes/site will be saved by the community group focused on historical honoring
3/  Reusable items in the homes will be salvaged and repurposed
4/  Remaining structures will be used for training by Fire & Police
5/  All demolition debris will be recycled where applicable
6/  House numbers will go with those that grew up in the homes
7/  Stories will be collected and kept with appropriate entity (City or Museum)

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