This section of our blog is devoted to our local economy and locally sourced food. In here you will find information and helpful tips on eating a locally sourced diet and supporting our local economy on Bainbridge Island.

A Bee Brigade is born

78baad8f-7254-45bb-a8bf-5c22ac5bd1a6Bainbridge Island students are learning to “bee positive” on the environment, thanks to the efforts of local educators and volunteers like Carl Lindbloom.

We noted earlier that Grow Community has signed on to the Pollinator Improvement Plan, an island-wide effort to bolster living and foraging space for bees, birds and other pollinators that are the linchpins of a healthy ecosystem.

Our Grow landscaping boasts pollinator-friendly native plants with a sequential bloom season to provide food and habitat all year for pollinators – from hazelnut in late winter/early spring to Oceanspray in late summer.

f5f3c84e-6b70-4bf7-a256-a56158c635e3Now we’ve even diverted some construction waste to help the cause: cedar scraps and plumbing pipe discards, from which Carl and some very clever students have fashioned 160 “Mason Bee House Kits.”

Un-bee-lievable!

Each kit provides new refuge for Mason bees, so named for their skill at making little mud compartments in their nests.

“Since the construction of the houses required hammering, I enlisted the help of the 7-8 graders to assist the 1-6 graders,” Carl says. “That was very fun to watch those interactions. The older kids took their job very seriously and the younger kids loved it.”

The new Mason Bee Houses have now gone home with the kids, along with instructions that give them everything they need to set up the houses and start raising Mason bees in their own yards.

“Because we draw students from all parts of the island, we have now introduced Mason bees to the same,” Carl says.

Way to go, Carl and Bainbridge Island students in the Pollinator Improvement Plan – our community’s own little Bee Brigade.

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One planet, one community, and one goal: a new model for sustainable living.

Grow Community was founded on the principles of One Planet Living, proving that from design and construction to the choices we make as neighbors, we can live within the productive capacity of the earth.

How are we doing? Find out in our “One Planet Annual Verification Report,” now available for download HERE.

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It’s Grow’s report on itself, a self-assessment of our progress toward Health and Happiness, Local Food and Sustainable Water, Culture, and other key indicators of a forward-thinking community.

1planet-reportDid you know:

  • 85 percent of Grow residents say they’re walking more, and 31 percent are biking more, since joining our community
  • More than 65 percent participate in our bountiful shared garden program
  • Every resident in our first neighborhood, the Village, has invested in a home solar system, making Grow the largest planned solar community in Washington State – and still growing as our next two neighborhoods build out!

We’re proud of our success so far, and will strive with our residents to meet the goals of One Planet Living. It’s built into Grow Community by design, and comes with the lifestyle.

Download and read the report HERE, and find out more about what Grow has to offer the earth, and you.

Podcast on pollinators – listen in now!

Not long back we announced Grow Community’s participation in Bainbridge Island’s new Pollinator Improvement Plan.

Landscaping throughout our Grow neighborhoods will be “bee friendly,” with a rich mix of native flowering plants to give our little pollinators plenty of food and habitat.

screen-shot-2015-12-01-at-12-38-16-amNow the PIP is featured in a new podcast on Bainbridge Community Broadcasting. In his program Community Cafe Bainbridge, host Barry Peters interviews two local officials about the island-wide effort to promote a healthy ecosystem by looking out for the bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators so key to our food supply as humans.

Heather Beckmann, Bainbridge Island city planner, and Amber Richards, assistant to the city manager, discuss the goal of linking different green spaces across the island so pollinators can navigate the built environment. Grow Community is glad to take its place on this welcoming corridor.

Heather and Amber of Pollinator ProjectYou can hear the podcast right here. Find out not only how Grow is meeting the challenge to protect our pollinators, but how residents across the island can do their part by planting bee-friendly flower beds and gardens.

“We’re hoping all people would ideally get involved, so the island itself can be a sanctuary for pollinators,” Heather tells the Community Cafe Bainbridge.

Thanks to Barry, Heather and Amber for the great podcast and for giving a shout-out to Grow Community as the Pollinator Improvement Plan moves forward. Bee well!

ULI finds Grow on its roadmap to healthy neighborhoods

The Urban Land Institute has drawn up its roadmap for healthy development, and Grow Community is a prominent waypoint.

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Grow is cited twice in the “Building Health Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment,” an expansive new report on sustainable planning and construction from the ULI. The report looks at developments and communities that have been successful in promoting physical activity, healthy food and clean drinking water, and general social well-being.

Grow’s famous community gardens and “edible landscaping” are cited as a prime amenity in today’s urban and suburban planning.

“Participation in community gardening activities can increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and when community members come together around the growing of food, the interaction promotes social bonds and connections,” the editors write. “Local produce helps reduce pollution associated with shipping food long distances.”

The ULI notes that gardening has enjoyed a growing popularity across the country, a trend that is expected to continue: “Small farms can take the place of golf courses as community centerpieces, can cost less on an upfront and ongoing basis, and can provide community members with fresh, locally grown food.”

Grow is also touted for earning certification under the One Planet Living program, whose ambitious 10-point goals promote reducing humans’ impact on the earth. You can read all about Grow’s impressive One Planet designation elsewhere on our website.

“Reading a report” might not sound like the most scintillating springtime activity, but the ULI’s new “Building Healthy Places Toolkit” will surprise you – we promise. It’s a very colorful read, and highlights the most forward-thinking work being done in planning and construction today.

View the report here (page 48 online & 40 in print) and find out more about the sustainable vision that earned Grow Community recognition among the very best new neighborhoods anywhere.

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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.

 

Grow sets the table for Urban Agriculture

Grow Community is outstanding in its field — more precisely, its planter boxes.

Grow is one of 10 exemplars of the new Urban Agriculture, the Urban Land Institute Magazine says in its current issue. The ULI praises Grow for the rich mix of raised beds and plantings throughout the community grounds, tended by residents and yielding a bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs to be shared by all.

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It’s a sustainable strategy, the magazine writes, narrowing the wasteful distance between farm and table and enhancing food security. It’s an idea that’s catching on — and one that puts Grow Community in the forefront of a national movement.

“The rise of the locavore movement dovetails with an increased awareness of the health benefits of choosing fresh vegetables and fruits over highly processed foods,” ULI writes. “In response, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, developers, and entrepreneurs are bringing agrarian practices into the city, shrinking food deserts, helping educate people about gardening practices, and reconnecting city dwellers to the source of their food.”

Grow Community’s first phase, the Village, includes extensive gardens while the next phase, the Grove, now under construction, will be arranged around an orchard to produce “edible landscaping.”

Other projects feted by the ULI include the Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans, La.; sprawling and productive rooftop gardens on Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center; and other amazing plots and pea-patches that have sprouted up in unlikely urban settings in Toronto, London, Montreal, Los Angeles and other major metropolitan areas. Great company for Grow!

Thanks to the Urban Land Institute for calling attention to Grow Community’s commitment to healthy, sustainable urban agriculture.

Read the whole story here.

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!

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.”

ULI Tour: Cultivating a Sustainable Local Economy

Grow Community held center stage when the Urban Land Institute visited Bainbridge Island yesterday.

ULI members looked at Bainbridge as a prototype for “Cultivating a Sustainable Local Economy” — encouraging responsible growth, resource conservation, diversity and density while retaining the island’s rich cultural heritage.

The program also included stops at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and the Ericksen Cottages development, capped by a visit to Winslow’s Hitchcock restaurant.

The event was organized by ULI’s Thriving Communities Task Force, which studies arts communities, public amenities and leadership in sustainable development.

Thank you to the Urban Land Institute for recognizing Grow Community as a model of urban planning and sustainability!