Grow with us on the Grow Community Blog.

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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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

 

Grow Community Ice Cream! It doesn’t get better than that.

Available at Mora Iced Creamery in Downtown Winslow, just a 5 minute walk from Grow Community.   For a limited time only.

Grow-Mora-Campaign-Poster

Click here to learn more about the “Mora Index.”

moraphotos

GROWmit, the One Planet Frog

Hi my name is GROWmit, I’m a One Planet frog representing the one earth we all share, and I live at Grow Community.  I was painted by local artist Pierr Mogan and I’m part of the ‘Frogs on the Rock‘ community art project here on Bainbridge Island.

frogcutoutDid you know frogs like me are what scientists call an indicator species: we are particularly sensitive to changes in our environment.  Toxic chemicals in the water and small changes in climate can make us very unhealthy.  Many of us are disappearing because our homes have been polluted or because our habitat is getting warmer.

What if frogs didn’t have unlimited clean water and air?  What if WE didn’t have unlimited clean water and air?  What if there were just ONE planet for all of us to share?

The One Planet Living® program at Grow Community envisions a world in which it is easy, attractive, and affordable for all of us to lead happy, healthy lives with fewer of the earth’s resources.

GROWmit-kids

Aria and Ocean meet GROWmit!

If you live with me at Grow Community, you don’t have to make big sacrifices, learn a bunch of new stuff, or completely turn your life around to live here. But you can live in a way that helps both frogs and people to enjoy healthy habitats.

Come visit me and learn all about the 10 One Planet Principles that provide a framework for building healthy, vital communities.

What’s Coming Next? – Join the Conversation

Grow Community Public Participation Meeting
July 29th 2013, 6-8pm
Bainbridge Performing Arts
Join us to provide feedback on our site plan, home designs and floorplans for the next phase while enjoying some tasty treats and local wines.All are invited. We look forward to seeing you there!

What's coming next at Grow Community SCHEDULE

6pm – Arrive and connect with friends and residents of Grow Community. Learn whats coming next.

6.30pm – Grow team member and sustainability expert, Greg Lotakis will discuss One Planet Living.

6.45pm – Local, internationally acclaimed, Architect and the newest member of the Grow Team, Jim Cutler, will present our new concept in the context of livable communities.

7.15pm – Connect and provide feedback on home designs, floor plans and the community concept as a whole.

Exploring Intergenerational Living Options at Grow Community

The concept for Grow Community has always been based on an intergenerational community. We imagine a neighborhood where families, young children, singles, retired couples, and elders all live in homes that suit their needs. But not only that, the community, in it’s physical and social design is intended to encourage interactions amongst all these residents. We imagine a neighborhood where relationships are formed, spontaneously and intentionally, where young and old play together in the garden, share experiences and care for each other.

To explore what this type of community might look like, we held a workshop last month. In our workshop we asked folks to ‘backcast’ – imagining that they were living at Grow already and they sent a postcard to a loved one about the community.  Here is what they wrote.

Ani – you will love my new house/life in Grow.  We have soup night every month and I am a driver volunteer taking people to the ferry, store, etc. in the community electric car.  I babysit for a 6 and 8 year after school they live 2 houses down – so much to do in the neighborhood.  I lead a writing group at our converted “Grow House” every week.  I’m gardening and eat what I grow – finally.  Still live a walkable life like I used to, but best is my carbon footprint is about zero.  Yay!  Mama 

Dear Racheal, Can’t wait to have you visit when we move to our new community in Winslow (growbainbridge.org).  You will really appreciate the very ecological building and the intentional community aspects.  Love Kate  PS – Check out the One Planet Principles – you would love it.

Dear Gabby, We’re looking forward to your visit with Ava (still our only beloved granddaughter).  Ava will meet other kids her age, and we can all spend some time working in the garden.  The families in our immediate neighborhood will come together for a potluck during your visit, so we’ll be cooking together.  There’s usually some music and dancing before the evening is over.  Cheers, Dad

Wow – I’m finally settled into my new home at Grow Community.  Never thought I’d move again – and here I feel a lot more community support as I got older.  I like being with a mixture of ages and family types – and not just people my own age or older.  Happily, there are quiet places where kids don’t hang out.  And my space is very quiet, which is lovely.  Come visit – I have a guest room!

Dear Lisa, I can’t wait for you to come visit pops and me at Grow Community.  We’ll celebrate your birthday in our community room, pick tomatoes in the garden, listen for frogs in the pond, walk to town for a cookie, then take the gerry to Seattle and ride the wheel.  We’ll read books together in our cozy apartment and we’ll check out bikes to ride from our shared bike barn.  Lots to do together.  Love Mama B

Culture & CommunityWe are constantly using words like inclusivity, walkability, visitability and (of course) sustainability in our conversations about how we design, build, and create opportunity for community to take hold in a place.  Considering all these words and all our hopes and dreams to incorporate in one place can be quite a challenge… and one we are thankful to be undertaking. This is made easier with ideas from our community.

The next buildings we construct will be designed to take this intergenerational concept to the next level. The beginning of an idea has taken shape as we’ve listened to your feedback. A building based on Universal Design principles, with one-level flats, accessible spaces, comfortable spaces, spaces designed for people of all ages.

Couldn’t make the workshop, but have some ideas to share?  Please share your thoughts by clicking the comments link above.  No idea is a bad idea!  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

The ‘Mora Index’ for growing a connected, freedom-loving kid


The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

As a 12-year-old, I remember well the territory I was comfortable exploring on my bike with friends and siblings. We could ride on a dirt path from the residential road through an empty lot to the usually vacant parking lot behind Safeway. The empty lot had little hills that helped us hone our bike handling skills. And the Safeway store offered us refunds for empty bottles and plenty of ways to spend the new cash.

These days, as parents we put a lot of money and time into taking care of our kids. Different families make different choices, but the community we live in makes many choices for us too. During the week we drive our kids from one activity to another, and then on weekends we drive to big box stores to provision ourselves for the coming week. These rituals can be fun… come on, admit it, Costco has us nailed, offering free samples of prepared food sold in volume, cheap pizza or a cone at the checkout. But it is not a kid’s world. We don’t feel safe letting our children run around by themselves as we shop.

Going somewhere and buying something… that is what grown-ups do. So isn’t it the Holy Grail of freedom for a kid to be able to get somewhere by themselves and purchase something of high kid-value?  How many parents with school-aged children in your neighborhood would think it safe to send their kids to the grocery store alone? Architect Ross Chapin is an advocate of small scale communities. In his book “Pocket Neighborhoods”, Chapin describes what he calls the “Popsicle Index” – the percentage of people who think it is safe to let their kid walk to a store and buy a Popsicle without adult supervision.

On Bainbridge Island, we are lucky to have Mora’s Ice Cream, surely a part of many families’ ritual outings long before a kid has much independence. So. If you lived within walking distance from Mora’s in downtown Winslow, would you let your daughter walk there by herself to buy a treat?

To reach that Holy Grail safely, a child needs to start much earlier in life with smaller circles of independence, or safety zones that expand with the age and confidence of the child. A safe base creates independence. The Grow Community is designed so that no one ever crosses a street while inside the community. Courtyards between homes are the protected close-in zones, with opportunity to meet the neighbors as the first integration into the larger community. Living in this community, a child will graduate to playing alone at the community center, with helpful eyes watching out for the unexpected.  It takes a community to keep an independent child safe, to contribute to raising independent children.

When children graduate to the outer circles of the community, there are many options for walking and biking—to get to two nearby elementary schools, Ordway and Odyssey, the two Island middle schools, Sakai and Woodward, and the high schools, Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor. The library and a park is even closer. The Farmer’s Market is practically across the street. Hmmm.  Maybe this smaller world helps us stay out of our cars and gives our kids the autonomy they crave a little earlier!

Check out ‘5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids’ also written by Leslie Schneider

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids


The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

How did you feel about your neighborhood as a kid?

Before I was even 11 years old I could walk on my own to the library, or to a couple of stores in my neighborhood to spend my dimes and quarters. When I visited my grandparents in the summer, my cousins and I would walk to the public swimming pool or a community center for day camp classes. These memories define my childhood because I was not dependent on adults driving me there. My world had a connected set of places that I could “own.”

In the 5-minute lifestyle of the One Planet Grow Community, our homes are walking and biking distance from many family-friendly destinations, and they become such a part of our lives that we don’t even have to plan for them.  The Grow Community on Bainbridge Island offers so many activities that will live in our kids’ memories as part of where we live.

Here are a few favorites that are great for a range of ages:

The Farmers Market in Winslow

For almost half the year, the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Town Square is just a block away. Kids experience the color and bounty of fresh local food, the energy of the music, and even a marketplace where kids are the artisans and vendors.  Keep walking through the market, and just around the performing arts center is the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, with fresh displays as well as the longstanding history exhibits. Come home by way of Winslow with occasional visits to the Curious Child for the latest instructional games and toys, and you’ve got a weekly tradition that will live on for years in your kids’ memories.

On any day, a five minute stroll on friendly sidewalks through Winslow gets you and your kids to the playground behind the Town & Country grocery. From there, another 5 minutes on trails through Waterfront Park opens up to the beach. Low tide under the ferry dock is an unbelievable zoo of anemones, at least seven different species of sea stars, and frequent startling spurts from buried clams. A few times each season there are beach naturalists to help identify your finds. Bring rubber boots or water shoes, and don’t forget to buy the makings for dinner at Town & Country (grocery store) on your way back.

Kayaking on the Sound

For the days when weather discourages extended outdoor time, the Bainbridge library is just a five minute walk up the street, and another five minutes lands you at the Aquatics Center for swim lessons or free play in the lazy river or down the 20′ water slide. Diagonally across High School Road from the library and behind the Commodore Options school is the Bainbridge High School Gymnastics Room that hosts many Parks and Recreation classes, including the urban gymnastics for older kids  called Parkour (it’s much safer than jumping between tall buildings).

Biking around the island

Five minutes on bikes (or 10 minutes by foot at an adult pace) and you’ll be at the ferry for an excursion to Seattle (and you can lock the bikes in the protected Bike Barn). Or stay on the island for an adventure at the Kids

Discovery Museum across the street. “KiDiMu”, as it is mostly called, has built a strong following in its new location in Island Gateway, and soon the Bainbridge Art Museum will be another destination in that same campus. On

Fun at the KiDiMu

that same route, kids probably won’t love their appointment at the Virginia Mason clinic, but stop at Mora’s ice cream on your way back and all will be forgiven. In the car-dependent life, we weigh the benefits of a great destination with the costs of our own energy and time getting kids buckled in, travel and traffic, and finally finding parking in the vicinity of the destination. Then there are the real costs of gas and parking and maintenance, but we don’t usually track these carefully, willing to accept an average monthly budget for such necessities. In a car-free 5-minute lifestyle, instead of a hassle, getting there is half the fun!

If you’d like to learn more about the 5 Minute Lifestyle, check out our blog on Sustainable Transportation

 

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.