At the Grow Community we believe that our built environments are crucial to the health of our minds and bodies. This section is devoted to how we’ve tried to design the healthiest community for ourselves and our kids.

Grow Community Wins Built Green Project of the Year

This past Thursday (9/14), Grow Community received the Built Green Project of the Year at the annual Built Green Conference.

It was unexpected, and we are deeply honored to be given such an award considering the unbelievable work our peers have accomplished in 2017.

The Grow Team wishes to thank our investors, construction team, Built Green, our design teams, and the other builders that are pushing the envelope toward sustainability, and especially our Grow Community residents. Everyone has believed in possibility and found a way to make Grow a reality.

 

Grow memories cross the generations

Jerry Grow left a quieter, simpler Bainbridge Island in as a youngster in 1955.

But his memories conjure images that would be familiar to generations of islanders before and since: attending services at the Congregational Church downtown, marching in the Fourth of July parade, learning to fish from a boat his great-uncle Fred kept on Eagle Harbor.

The latter experiences have proved useful into Grow’s later years, giving him “sea legs” for his travels in retirement.

“My great-uncle would take great delight in running the boat back and forth across the wake behind the ferries, to see if he could get me seasick,” Jerry recalls. “I thank him for that now, because I do a lot of cruising and I never have any problem with seasickness.”

A direct descendent of bonafied island pioneer family, Grow returned to Bainbridge in July as an honored guest at the “Sharing Our History” reception in Grow Community’s new neighborhood hall.

The evening reunited former residents of the old Government Way housing, dignitaries from the American Legion and island’s Japanese American community, and local historians for reminiscence and reflection.

 

Visitors shared their memories of the berry fields and orchards that once rolled down the hillside toward the harbor, the vibrant scene at the Japanese community hall nearby, and the many families, faces and touchstones of bygone Bainbridge.

While Grow Community’s new neighborhood hall is still under construction, the evening was a chance to unveil colorful display boards that trace area history – from millennia of Native American habitation, through pioneer settlement, to post-war military housing, and into the present – that will be on permanent display inside.

Among the honored guests was Jerry Grow, whose great-grandfather Ambrose homesteaded north of Eagle Harbor in the 1880s. Along with fellow pioneer Riley Hoskinson, Ambrose Grow is credited as one of the founders of the town of Winslow and donated land for the first school.

Jerry Grow’s parents still held 20 acres on the northwest corner of today’s Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue into the 1950s, while his grandfather Walter owned the southeast corner where Grow Community is now being built. His great-uncle Fred resided farther down by the harbor.

The family moved off the island in 1955 when Jerry was 8. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1965, trained in electronics school and went on to maintain fighter jets.

After leaving the service, he parlayed his training into a career in the nascent computer industry repairing big IBM mainframes. As computers got smaller, he went back to school for certification as a network engineer, and worked for many years for the City of Seattle.

He and his family lived up on the Sammamish plateau, another community that was about to be touched by dramatic change.

“At the time we bought, it was still unincorporated King County,” he says. “Then everybody decided it was the place to be, and it really exploded up there.”

Grow retired to Long Beach on the Washington coast in 2005.

He has only been back to Bainbridge a handful of times through the years – once when his father was grand marshal of a centennial parade, again in the 1980s to show his own son the island community their Grow ancestors helped found.

The occasional visits marked a changing island – the loss of the family farmhouse and barn from the old Grow property, the incremental appearance of new homes and neighborhoods as the town his ancestors helped found stretched ever north and west.

He only learned of Grow Community this past February, quite by chance, when he met a couple from Bainbridge while on a cruise to Hawaii. He researched the new planned-solar community on the web and contacted developers Asani out of curiosity, leading to his recent visit.

“We’re so grateful Jerry reached out to us,” says Greg Lotakis, Grow Community project manager. “We’re committed to honoring the history of the land and those who’ve lived here through so many generations. Being able to bring Jerry here to share his stories adds to that continuity, helps connect more fully and vividly with the past.”

While others in the Grow clan could not attend the Sharing Our History event, Jerry Grow has kept them apprised that not only does a Bainbridge street still bear their name, but now a whole neighborhood.

“They’re pleased, and quite surprised,” he said.

Homecoming and history sharing in Grow’s new community center

Old friends and new turned out as Grow Community celebrated our history at a community potluck yesterday evening. Venue was Grow’s new community center – only half finished, but still a great setting for this homecoming that crossed the generations.

Honored guest was Jerry Grow, great-grandson of island pioneer Ambrose Grow, who came up from Long Beach for the occasion. Former residents of the old Government Way military housing project also shared their stories, as did veterans from the Colin Hyde Post of the American Legion with neighborhood ties. What a great evening it was!

Thank you to everyone who came to enjoy an evening of fellowship and honor our neighborhood history.

 

A real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

Amelia Parker had been following the work of Bioregional and its One Planet Living initiative for years, since the development of London’s famous BedZED zero-carbon community in 2002.

When she learned that there was another One Planet Community just a few miles away on Bainbridge Island – she was living in Bellevue at the time – she decided to visit and see environmentally friendly development firsthand.

She and her spouse found Grow Community. After speaking with residents, they made their move – to the Juniper building in the new Grove neighborhood.

It’s a real turn toward sustainability from her last home, a 1912 Craftsman bungalow. It was beautiful and twice the size of her current home, she says, but trying to modernize and maintain it was exhausting and expensive.

“It’s lovely to be in a place where things simply work,” Amelia says of Grow Community, “ and if they don’t, maintenance is on it quickly, where good design minimizes utility bills – large, well-insulated windows make the space feel expansive and reduces the need for lighting – and makes caring for the space simple, so that time can be spent on other things.”

At Grow, she has found a simpler lifestyle, one that de-emphasizes the need for a car, with easy connections to local shops and merchants, and even travel hubs like the ferry system and regional rail.

“For the most part, I can walk to anything I need, including the ferry terminal,” she says. “My car is coming up on 193,000 miles, and I drive so little that I’m in no hurry to replace it. My spouse occasionally needs to travel to Vancouver for business meetings: before, he would have to drive to Everett to catch a train. Now he takes the ferry across and walks to King Street Station. Not having to deal with traffic does a great deal for our mental health!”

She also finds a real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

“Last weekend I was out at the observatory with my next-door neighbors, after a thank-you dinner for looking after their cat while they were on holiday,” she says. “We will text one another: ‘I’m going to Silverdale, do you need anything?’ ‘I’ve got too much lettuce: can I bring you some?’”

She adds: “Seeing people from the yoga studio means stopping and chatting in the aisles of the grocery store. I lived in my previous home for 13 years and really didn’t have that sort of relationship with my neighbours; I’ve been here almost 18 months, and it’s very different.”

Does she recommend Grow Community?

“Yes, absolutely.”

 

Sharing our History + Celebrating our New Community Center

Grow celebrates the progress on our new Community Center with daylong events on Thursday, July 20.

We will be hosting lunch for the construction team, followed by an evening potluck and sharing of the Grow Community site history through many generations. Special guests will share family and neighborhood stories, including a visiting descendent of the pioneer Grow family.  This event will focus on history – no tours of the center or its features will take place, but see our schedule of upcoming events for future opportunities.

11.30am-1pm – Construction Worker Lunch
1pm-5pm – Feel free to walk by and see progress
6pm to 8pm – History Sharing and Potluck

LOCATION: 395 Ambrose Street, in the Park at Grow Community

 


UPCOMING EVENTS:

August (DATE TBD) – Neighborhood meeting on Community Center operations: This discussion will focus on answering questions about the center, understanding its availability, use and operating budget, and hopefully celebrating the certificate of occupancy!

September 14th – Community meeting on Emergency Preparedness. Grow residents are invited to a potluck dinner and discussion of community emergency preparedness. Guest speaker will be Scott James, author of “Prepared Neighborhoods” and Bainbridge Island resident

October (DATE TBD) – Community Harvest & Solar for the Community Center Celebration. Join us for a celebration of the harvest season, pumpkin carving, cider pressing, and official commissioning of the Community Center’s rooftop solar array!

Urban Land group visits Grow

The prestigious Urban Land Institute held its Spring Conference in Seattle in early May, and Grow Community was both hot topic and host.

Grow welcomed thought-leaders in spheres ranging from development to investment, planning and design, as they came to Bainbridge Island for site visits throughout the conference.

Grow has been part of the ULI conversation since the project began, our community being a case study for creating healthy places, promoting intergenerational living, and integrating sustainability at scale.

Discussion threads running through the week included:

Creating a legacy. Pooran Desai, founder of the organizations BioRegional, which established the One Planet Living Principles, described effort at Grow as a legacy – both for the region, and in changing the conversation around the way we develop future communities. While the project has had many twists and turns, its consistency around creating a place for all ages to be comfortable and live in a more sustainable way is a profound achievement.

Intergenerational living. Visitors from the ULI appreciated Grow’s commitment to developing a community with many varied home types, to give people at every stage of life a comfortable place to live. It marks a change from development patterns often seen in the United States, where we tend to segregate generations, versus other communities around the world that embrace keeping mixed generations together.

Sustainability. Many of the ULI visitors came from places where a push for sustainability is just beginning, compared to the Seattle region where it is becoming the norm. Visitors were impressed by the range of areas where Grow challenged the norm: energy, materials, solar, and open space. Built Green standards allowed us to use a local certification program and consider our efforts from a neighborhood level, integrating our sustainability goals through One Planet Living. Grow gave visitors a model they can follow and incorporate into their own communities.

The Grow Community development team and investors thank residents for continuing to allow for guests like ULI to visit. These visits and conversations plant the seeds for other communities to come. They also provide the inspiration for others to take on the challenges of sustainable growth and living – allowing others to take what we have learned here, and spread the best of what we have for our One Planet.

Grow sponsors new ‘terrestrial’ podcast on KUOW

Grow Community is all about making smart choices for the Earth – how we build and how we live.  Now we’re proud to sponsor the new podcast “terrestrial” on local radio station KUOW, exploring “the choices we make in a world we have changed.” Host Ashley Ahearn travels the country — from ranches in Oregon to churches in Colorado — to bring listeners stories about people making personal choices in the face of environmental change.

Subscribe to “terrestrial” through Apple podcasts, or listen online at here.

Grow Community featured in Dwell

If it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

That’s the conclusion of Dwell magazine, which spent time at Grow Community recently and liked what they saw.
Grow is currently featured at Dwell.com, the online portal that bills itself “At home in the modern world.”

“Who said making a better world would be easy?” the magazine says. “Just ask the cast of characters involved in Grow Community, a development on Washington’s Bainbridge Island that was designed with the ambitious goal of encouraging social interaction while achieving net-zero energy status. Building for the future, they’ve learned, is a constant work in progress.”

Read this great feature online at www.dwell.com.

Built Green gives Grow 5 Stars

Weather-tight outside, snug and warm within. Built Green gives Grow Community phase 2, the Grove, a prestigious 5 Star rating in its new online feature.

Built Green cites Grow homes’ excellent standards for energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and top-quality materials in home that “cultivate a healthy, happy, and sustainable community for all ages.”

Built Green helps homebuyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the Northwest environment. Built Green homes are designed to provide homeowners with comfortable, durable, environmentally friendly homes that are cost-effective to own and operate.

These resource-efficient homes are crafted to exceed building codes and provide homeowners with years of healthy, quality living, while protecting our families and the precious Northwest environment.

Read the Built Green feature on Grow Community here.

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A 5 Minute Lifestyle

Everything your family needs for a healthy, happy lifestyle is within easy distance of Grow Community. Local merchants and grocers, the library, fine cafes and coffee shops, theaters and museums, parks, health clinics and schools … you can reach it all without ever getting behind the wheel.

We call it the “5-minute lifestyle,” and it’s just one of the features that makes Grow such an attractive choice for homebuyers seeking a simpler, more mindful way of living.

You’ll be amazed by all that’s waiting for you, just beyond your doorstep.
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