Your environment affects your quality of life, and One Planet Living is all about allowing you to live the highest quality life within the means of the planet.

Building for Generations

The 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


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!

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.

The 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)


Incentives offered to build green, affordable housing – KITSAP BIZ JOURNAL

September 6, 2013 @ 11:11am | Tim Kelly ~ KPBJ Editor

The aim of the Housing Design Demonstration Project on Bainbridge Island was to create incentives for developers to build subdivisions that offer green and/or affordable housing. Four projects taking advantage of incentives such as “bonus density” offered by the ordinance are in different stages of development. Ferncliff Village has completed 24 homes that are now mostly occupied, and the first homeowners are moving into the GROW Community, which will be the largest of the four, as it works toward completion of its first phase.

Ferncliff Village
Meanwhile, the HDDP, which was adopted in 2009, is set to expire at the end of this year, but a committee has been working on revisions that will be presented soon to the City Council, and a reworked ordinance could be extended for a few more years or made permanent.

“The HDDP’s intent is to allow for clustered housing and preserving open spaces,” said Mark Blatter, executive director of the nonprofit Housing Resources Board, which developed Ferncliff Village.

Community land trust
Ferncliff’s first phase showcases that concept, with the two dozen cottage-style houses on small lots, with a community garden and an open grassy area in the center of the development. Besides being shared recreational space for residents, the grassy area also handles stormwater runoff.

The six-acre site – off Ferncliff Avenue half a mile north of Winslow Way – was donated to the Housing Resources Board by former City Council member Lois Curtis. The HRB developed Ferncliff as a community land trust, which means the nonprofit builds and sells the houses but retains ownership of the land, with homeowners paying a low-cost, long-term land lease.

“That’s part of the way we make it work as affordable housing,” Blatter said.

The two – and three-bedroom houses range from 846 to 1,138 square feet, and are priced from $195,000 to $220,000. The Ferncliff Village website says the home prices are more than $50,000 below market value. Blatter said qualified buyers are those with 80 percent to 120 percent of the area median income in King County, and additional subsidies are available for potential Ferncliff homebuyers with incomes below that range.

It’s the only one of the four HDDP developments that meets the affordability goal of the ordinance.

Charlie Wenzlau, a local architect who is Housing Resources Board chairman and also helped develop the HDDP for the city, explained that the ordinance has development standards structured in tiers on either a green building track or an affordability track, though they’re not mutually exclusive. “When you go with the affordability track, the green building requirements are still there but not as onerous,” he said.

So even though Ferncliff put more emphasis on providing affordable homes, Blatter said the houses also include various energy-efficiency elements such as ductless heat pumps, Energy Star appliances and triple-glazed windows.

“We think these houses are going to live comfortably and large, even though they are fairly compact,” Blatter said.

Architect Jonathan Davis designed the first phase of GROW Community and is buying a house there. Although Davis is unlikely to need one, some buyers may want to look into fast bridging loans as a way of affording one of the homes.

Changes at GROW
The GROW Community, located at the corner of Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue just a couple blocks from downtown Winslow, is on the green track and has incorporated more extensive sustainability measures, such as rooftop solar panels and a charging station for a shared electric vehicle available for residents to use.

Jonathan Davis, the architect who designed the first phase being built on three acres of the eight-acre GROW site, worked with developer Asani to create a project meeting One Planet Community standards of sustainability. BioRegional, the global sustainability organization that founded the One Planet Living program, announced GROW’s endorsement at last year’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The community has a charging station for an electric vehicle that’s available for residents to use.The community has a charging station for an electric vehicle that’s available for residents to use.”We had the land and knew we had to do something interesting with it,” Asani president Marja Preston said. “We came up with this concept for a One Planet intentional community. The HDDP ordinance the city had fit very well with that.”

The GROW Community’s first phase will have 44 housing units, with 24 free-standing single-family homes or duplexes that are currently under construction, plus two buildings each with 10 apartments to rent. A park/play area space will be at the high side of the site near the Wyatt Avenue corner.

Only three houses had residents in August, but Preston said builder PHC Construction is finishing about three each month, and should have all of them done early next year. She and Davis are both buying houses in Phase I.

“Our intent is to create a tight-knit community,” the British-born Davis said. “We created a place for that to happen. We have the potential for community here.”

As for the HDDP, he said it’s “a brilliant ordinance” and “what it allowed us to do that’s most beneficial, is create fee-simple lots for the homes,” so they could be sold as single-family houses instead of condominiums, for which it’s harder to get construction financing.

“Our density is no higher than what could have been built here” as apartments and condos, Davis noted.

While he’ll soon be living in the community, Davis won’t be as involved as the second phase at GROW starts to take shape next year. Asani decided to rework the types of housing and the site plan for the other five acres, and held a community meeting this summer to explain the changes.

Instead of homes built mostly on small but separate lots, many of the new units will be in rows of townhouses on the sides of a large central plaza where a community center will be built.

Davis isn’t critical of the developer’s changes, although he said “I think Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be two very different communities, with a different feel to them, and I think different population types.”

He also said that “supposedly what they’re proposing will be more profitable.”

Preston said the rowhouse-style arrangement was adopted in Phase 2 “so we could make better use of the space, to have more usable public open space.”

There will also be more garden space, she said, and a wider variety of unit types and sizes, including single-level homes that will meet the needs of people interested in an aging-in-place design.

There will be 87 units in Phase 2, the same as in the original design, and the redesigned project will still meet HDDP criteria.

To draw up the new Phase 2 plan, GROW worked with Jim Cutler, a renowned architect whose office is on Eagle Harbor but whose work for much of his career has been on projects in distant places.

“For a number of years I eschewed doing any work on Bainbridge Island,” Cutler said. “The only thing we’ve done was Grace Church.”

The builder he worked with a decade ago on the distinctive church with its high walls of windows was Marty Sievertson, president of Asani partner PHC Construction that’s building the homes at GROW. He suggested bringing in Cutler, who taught a University of Oregon 2012 summer program in Portland focused on environmental stewardship through design.

Cutler said the challenge at GROW was “I had to generate a site plan that fulfills all the requirements for family, and for community.”

With a five-acre site to work with, he wondered, “would it be possible to leave three acres open and still fit 87 houses?”

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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.

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

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.

Did 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.

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!


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.

Backers see $60M Grow Community as prototype for going super green

Daily Journal of Commerce
May 20th, 2013

click here to read article

Sustainable Business: Washington state’s largest solar community tests the marketplace

Puget Sound Business Journal
May 10th, 2013

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Living With Less. A Lot Less. – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: March 9, 2013
I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.

I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff – electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.

Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.

We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.

There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.

For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.

It started in 1998 in Seattle, when my partner and I sold our Internet consultancy company, Sitewerks, for more money than I thought I’d earn in a lifetime.

To celebrate, I bought a four-story, 3,600-square-foot, turn-of-the-century house in Seattle’s happening Capitol Hill neighborhood and, in a frenzy of consumption, bought a brand-new sectional couch (my first ever), a pair of $300 sunglasses, a ton of gadgets, like an MobilePlayer (one of the first portable digital music players) and an audiophile-worthy five-disc CD player. I had to have an Internet connection too, definitely, so I think I had even looked for an att internet plan to start off with. And, of course, a black turbocharged Volvo. With a remote starter!

I was working hard for Sitewerks’ new parent company, Bowne, and didn’t have the time to finish getting everything I needed for my house. So I hired a guy named Seven, who said he had been Courtney Love’s assistant, to be my personal shopper. He went to furniture, appliance and electronics stores and took Polaroids of things he thought I might like to fill the house; I’d shuffle through the pictures and proceed on a virtual shopping spree. I also took a look at cheap filing cabinets that I found on the internet as I could really do with furnishing a home office – something that I’ve been planning for simply ages. I’ve been wanting to put in a desk, chair, cabinets, and more into an area of the house that I can dedicate solely to my work.

My success and the things it bought quickly changed from novel to normal. Soon I was numb to it all. The new Nokia phone didn’t excite me or satisfy me. It didn’t take long before I started to wonder why my theoretically upgraded life didn’t feel any better and why I felt more anxious than before.

I was actually speaking to a friend of mine about this the other day. There are no doubts about it, living with anxiety and depression can take a huge toll on your mental health. It is for these reasons that it is so important to take time out of your schedule to practice mindfulness.

In case you were not already aware, mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Moreover, it is no secret that paying more attention to the present moment, both to your own thoughts and feelings and to the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing.

Correspondingly, some people find that as well as practicing mindfulness in everyday life, it can be helpful to set aside time for formal mindfulness practices. I have heard and read that even plant concentrates like cannabis or hash can be used to enhance the mindfulness practice. You can find the details on many a website and blog that provide information about the mindful use of cannabis. Apparently, certain strains can bring about a calmer state of mind by ridding us of the burdens of anxiety and overthinking.

For instance, mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing, or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander. Additionally, yoga and tai-chi can also help with developing awareness of your breathing.

Some women even find that using a yoni egg helps them to reach a state of mindfulness. Furthermore, if you would like to learn more about the potential health-boosting benefits of yoni eggs, you can take a look at this fascinating guide that explains everything from how to make the choice between obsidian and jade and how best to use a yoni egg to encourage mindfulness.

Looking back on my life though, for me, my life used to be so unnecessarily complicated. There were lawns to mow, gutters to clear, floors to vacuum, roommates to manage (it seemed nuts to have such a big, empty house), a car to insure, wash, refuel, repair and register and tech to set up and keep working. To top it all off, I had to keep Seven busy. And really, a personal shopper? Who had I become? My house and my things were my new employers for a job I had never applied for.

It got worse. Soon after we sold our company, I moved east to work in Bowne’s office in New York, where I rented a 1,900-square-foot SoHo loft that befit my station as a tech entrepreneur. The new pad needed furniture, housewares, electronics, etc. – which took more time and energy to manage.

AND because the place was so big, I felt obliged to get roommates – who required more time, more energy, to manage. I still had the Seattle house, so I found myself worrying about two homes. When I decided to stay in New York, it cost a fortune and took months of cross-country trips – and big headaches – to close on the Seattle house and get rid of the all of the things inside.

I’m lucky, obviously; not everyone gets a windfall from a tech start-up sale. But I’m not the only one whose life is cluttered with excess belongings.

In a study published last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Seventy-five percent of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.

Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago.

Apparently our supersize homes don’t provide space enough for all our possessions, as is evidenced by our country’s $22 billion personal storage industry.

What exactly are we storing away in the boxes we cart from place to place? Much of what Americans consume doesn’t even find its way into boxes or storage spaces, but winds up in the garbage.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports, for example, that 40 percent of the food Americans buy finds its way into the trash.

Enormous consumption has global, environmental and social consequences. For at least 335 consecutive months, the average temperature of the globe has exceeded the average for the 20th century. As a recent report for Congress explained, this temperature increase, as well as acidifying oceans, melting glaciers and Arctic Sea ice are “primarily driven by human activity.” Many experts believe consumerism and all that it entails – from the extraction of resources to manufacturing to waste disposal – plays a big part in pushing our planet to the brink. And as we saw with Foxconn and the recent Beijing smog scare, many of the affordable products we buy depend on cheap, often exploitive overseas labor and lax environmental regulations.

Does all this endless consumption result in measurably increased happiness?

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