All about life at the grow community in Bainbridge Washington and the surrounding community.

BioRegional Launch a Major New Sustainable Consumption and Production Report

BioRegional, creators of the One Planet concept, have recently launched a major report about Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).  The report is a significant NGO contribution to the UN debate on a set of sustainable development goals due to succeed the well-known Millennium Development Goals (to be fulfilled by 2015). BioRegional CEO Sue Riddlestone was recently given the opportunity to present this report to representatives of several dozen governments of countries around the world gathered at the United Nations in New York.

Major new report, authored by BioRegional, on sustainable consumption and production:

  • This published paper makes the case for why sustainable consumption and production (SCP) should be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda, as well as setting out practical proposals for what SCP-related targets might be, divided among the likely themes for post-2015 goals.
  • It is evidence-based, drawing on the latest literature and evidence to explain why achieving sustainable development demands a decisive, global shift to sustainable consumption and production. The paper aims to increase collaboration within civil society and with other actors on this agenda.
  • It calls for nations to adopt 28 different targets related to SCP, organised under five key themes for sustainable development goals and covering the period 2015-2030. One or more indicators is given for each target.
  • The report was produced by BioRegional, as they are the Beyond 2015 focal point on Sustainable Production and Consumption, with input from the following organizations: WWF-UK;Christian Aid; Bond; Save the Children; Progressio; Practical Action; Friends of the Earth; Cafod; Tearfund; Population Institute; One Earth; Tellus Institute; Integrative Strategies Forum; Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.

Click here to read the report here.

What to Expect in the Next Grow Neighborhood?

Grow Community will not be complete until all three neighborhoods are constructed.  While the first neighborhood is finishing up, the Grow Team has been busy redesigning the next two neighborhoods.  These next phases will complete the trail system, add a building for community gathering and even more gardens and open space.  A fun fact: out of the 5 acres that make up the next two neighborhoods, 3 acres will be green space.  More places to run, play, garden and connect!

We anticipate beginning construction on the second neighborhood this next summer.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to participate in the design of open spaces in early 2014.

Click here to read the recent article in the Bainbridge Island Review about this next phase.

Wishing you JOY!

During this season of giving we would like to reach out to everyone that has contributed to the Grow project this year.  This has been a big year for us, bringing the concept to reality.  While it has been a busy year, full of challenges, we are now seeing the rewards for all of the dedication and hard work of our team, our champions, our volunteers and our new residents.   Nothing gives us more joy than to see the smiling faces of happy families moving into their new homes.

We hope that the New Year brings all of you health, happiness and new opportunities to connect with friends and neighbors and loved ones.
From all of us on the Grow Team, Happy Holidays.

Grow Community enters Phase II of design with community center and childcare facility – BI Review

by CECILIA GARZA,  Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
Dec 19, 2013 at 10:00AM updated at 1:42PM

Bainbridge Island’s Design Review Board received a preview into Phase II of Grow Community this month, which will include a community center and potentially an early childcare school.

In a three-hour meeting, Grow Community planners presented additions to the development that span from townhouses to an alder forest to a multi-faceted community center.

“I think it went well,” said Jean Stolzman of Cutler Anderson Architects.

“I think it’s a great Design Review Board, and we’re always welcoming their comments. All in all, it was very helpful,” Stolzman said.

The second phase of design will shift focus to the communal living aspect of the development.

On the outer perimeters, extending from Wyatt Way to Shepard Drive, up to seven multi-family buildings will be constructed to accommodate apartment flats and townhouses.

In the center, connecting the homes, will be two sizable courtyards.

A miniature alder forest will spread throughout the northern quad with several footpaths to give visitors and residents access from their homes to the community center.

“The community center is right at the heart of that community,” Stolzman said. “People can meet there for yoga, meetings, cooking, et cetera. The idea is that everyone is taking a part in this.”

Dividing the northern quad in half will be a footpath that extends from Wyatt Way to the community center.

Those walking on this path will pass through the cluster of alders straight onto the rooftop patio of the center.

The center will be constructed partially inset to the ground, so that the rooftop is level with the northern quad.

On the rooftop terrace, residents and visitors will have access to an outdoor fireplace and picnic area.

A 2,500-square-foot, one-story building, the community center itself will contain a large gathering area with a double-sided fireplace, kitchen area, a meeting room and a communal workshop space.

The meeting room, Stolzman explained, can be reserved for pretty much anything, from yoga to group meetings.

Additionally, since most of the residents will not have a private garage, the workshop area will function as a multi-use space for handy work.

As residents exit the building, the center will open up to the southend of the development where on either side of the building will also be a terraced community garden.

“Part of the idea is that you can harvest your vegetables and come down and make your own meal in the kitchen,” Stolzman explained.

The center’s kitchen area, Stolzman added, has been designed with the intention that residents and visitors can cook together, share recipes and eat together in the gathering area.

In addition to the center, at the foot of the south quad will be a bonus building.

“It can either become a residential building or an early childhood center,” said Marja Preston of the Asani Development Team.

“We’ve been thinking about a couple uses that could become an amenity for the residents there.”

An early childhood center would further foster the intergenerational quality of living at Grow Community, Preston said.

Through volunteering, it would also give residents and citizens an opportunity to be involved in the community.

The idea began when the Madrona School was considering moving their program to a downtown area and potentially into the Grow Community building.

Despite the school deciding to stay in its current location, the idea stuck.

“We think it would be a really interesting amenity, because there are so many families moving into the Grow Community,” she said.
Click here to read the article on the Bainbridge Island Review website.

Grow Community October Newsletter

First Neighborhood Sold Out!  Residents Moving In.

Ok, its official.  We are excited to announce the single family homes in the first 3-acre neighborhood at Grow Community are sold out.  Eight families have now moved into their homes and more are soon to come.  By February the neighborhood should be full and construction almost complete.

Rentals Still Available.

We will be starting construction very soon on the Cooper rentals.  While many rentals have already been reserved, some are still available. Click here for more information or contact our sales office if you are interested in renting in our Zero Carbon community.  Click here to download our flier.

What’s Coming Next?

We are finalizing the schematic design for the next two neighborhoods in Grow Community.  This next stage of the project will complete the One Planet project, with a trail system leading directly into town and a beautiful community building for all residents to use.  The redesign has been driven by a focus on intergenerational community and designing for accessibility.  Stay tuned for a release of the design concept next month – we think it’s pretty awesome!

Grow Community homes are 5-Star Built Green!

We are very excited to announce that Grow Community homes have achieved 5-Star Built Green status, the highest rating for Built Green certification. Built Green is designed to help homebuyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the Northwest environment. This is a great step forward in our efforts to create cost-effective, energy efficient One Planet homes on the cutting-edge of today’s sustainable development practices.

Click here to read Built Green’s case study on Grow Community.

NW Green Home Tour

Saturday, April 27th 2013, 11am-5pm
Grow Model Homes  |  428 Grow Avenue NW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Come visit our Built Green 5-Star Homes on April 27th! Grow Community will be one of the stops on the NW Green Home Tour. Co-produced by Northwest Eco Building Guild Seattle Chapter and Built Green this tour is a FREE spring event. This will be the 3rd Annual NW Green Home Tour for Seattle, Bainbridge Island + Eastside.


To learn more about the tour go to the NW Eco Building Guild website.


Grow March Newsletter

Click here to read our March Newsletter

March Newsletter

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?

click here to read the rest of this article

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 (  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

We 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.




GROW – Community Center Design Workshop

This past weekend we held two interactive community workshops for the design and use of our community center space. We want to thank all those folks that took time out of their weekend to join us and lend their enthusiasm and imagination to what could be possible. Here are a few of the ideas thrown around:

  • tool/equipment share
  • flexible creative spaces with movable walls for art projects, meetings, book clubs, yoga, classes to learn a new skill
  • cross country bocce ball course
  • rooftop green house
  • community kitchen
  • outdoor movie screen that doubles as a climbing wall
  • bicycle powered
  • rain harvested kids water/play feature
  • community bulletin board
  • indoor workshop/garage space for bicycle tune-ups etc.

We have continued to share a common hope and dream of an intergenerational community and that was evident through the course of our workshops. Whether it be young families, teens joining us to add their input, empty nesters, and those young at heart, everyone had something wonderful to share.

All this helps us as we start from here and work toward designing this community space.

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

Our next workshop on January 26th will explore intergenerational living options at Grow Community.  Please click here for more details and to RSVP.