[The following is a guest blog post by Greg Lotakis, Project Manager at the Grow Community construction site. Construction prowess aside, Greg has been an important proponent of implementing the One Planet Communities development framework at the site, and has carefully thought about how to take One Planet Principles and turn them into a reality in Grow Community’s built environment.]
I went running a few days ago on one of Bainbridge’s waterfront trails. Between taking in the scenery on a beautiful afternoon and watching my feet so as not to fall on my face, some little details jumped out at me and I began to think about local food and agriculture on the island. A bright red summer strawberry caught my attention, and blackberry bushes lined the trail. I stopped mid run, reached down, and plucked a ripe strawberry. I did a quick dust off and bit into it as I continued my run.
At Grow Community we recognize the agricultural significance of Bainbridge Island and the farming lineage that has remained remarkably unbroken for such a long time and we want to make it easy for residents to continue that tradition by making community gardens and pea-patches an integral part of the community. Grow Community, just a short jog away from hidden droves of strawberries, was once a farm itself and is named for those settlers who made the acreage their home. The Grow Family, like many other early homesteaders on the island, utilized their lands for farming from the late 1800’s into the turn of the 20th century.
One of the ten principles that we at Asani and PHC Construction pursue for the Grow Community development within the One Planet Living framework, is Local and Sustainable Food. Goals have been set for the amount of edible plants and urban farm space available at the community so that all residents can participate and get their hands dirty. Even more so, making a connection to the food that comes from the island—and the people that harvest it— is just as important a goal for us.
Fortunately, the PHC team made a wonderful connection with the Friends of the Farm non-profit on Bainbridge Island through the efforts of one of our Project Managers, Craden Henderson. Craden organized a team of volunteer workers and contractors to renovate the Morales Farmhouse with healthy, sustainable building materials and super efficient insulation and mechanical systems. What was built, beyond a fresh place to live for farm hands, was a relationship that would provide us a means to make a deeper connection to the farms on the island. We met Carol Rolph.
On a beautiful Friday in July we invited Carol Rolph (of Paulson Farms) to give our contractors at Grow Community a much needed treat—a lunch made with organic ingredients from Bainbridge Island. If you have a second to click on a link or two, check out the following farms that provided our workers meals:
Check out some photos from our lunch:
You’ll come to realize that Bainbridge Island’s rich farming history is still very much alive—even a short jog from the Grow Community. My hope is that in the not too distant future someone will be running past the Grow Community and see a ripe strawberry and will stop, pluck, and enjoy.