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The ‘Mora Index’ for growing a connected, freedom-loving kid

The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

As a 12-year-old, I remember well the territory I was comfortable exploring on my bike with friends and siblings. We could ride on a dirt path from the residential road through an empty lot to the usually vacant parking lot behind Safeway. The empty lot had little hills that helped us hone our bike handling skills. And the Safeway store offered us refunds for empty bottles and plenty of ways to spend the new cash.

These days, as parents we put a lot of money and time into taking care of our kids. Different families make different choices, but the community we live in makes many choices for us too. During the week we drive our kids from one activity to another, and then on weekends we drive to big box stores to provision ourselves for the coming week. These rituals can be fun… come on, admit it, Costco has us nailed, offering free samples of prepared food sold in volume, cheap pizza or a cone at the checkout. But it is not a kid’s world. We don’t feel safe letting our children run around by themselves as we shop.

Going somewhere and buying something… that is what grown-ups do. So isn’t it the Holy Grail of freedom for a kid to be able to get somewhere by themselves and purchase something of high kid-value?  How many parents with school-aged children in your neighborhood would think it safe to send their kids to the grocery store alone? Architect Ross Chapin is an advocate of small scale communities. In his book “Pocket Neighborhoods”, Chapin describes what he calls the “Popsicle Index” – the percentage of people who think it is safe to let their kid walk to a store and buy a Popsicle without adult supervision.

On Bainbridge Island, we are lucky to have Mora’s Ice Cream, surely a part of many families’ ritual outings long before a kid has much independence. So. If you lived within walking distance from Mora’s in downtown Winslow, would you let your daughter walk there by herself to buy a treat?

To reach that Holy Grail safely, a child needs to start much earlier in life with smaller circles of independence, or safety zones that expand with the age and confidence of the child. A safe base creates independence. The Grow Community is designed so that no one ever crosses a street while inside the community. Courtyards between homes are the protected close-in zones, with opportunity to meet the neighbors as the first integration into the larger community. Living in this community, a child will graduate to playing alone at the community center, with helpful eyes watching out for the unexpected.  It takes a community to keep an independent child safe, to contribute to raising independent children.

When children graduate to the outer circles of the community, there are many options for walking and biking—to get to two nearby elementary schools, Ordway and Odyssey, the two Island middle schools, Sakai and Woodward, and the high schools, Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor. The library and a park is even closer. The Farmer’s Market is practically across the street. Hmmm.  Maybe this smaller world helps us stay out of our cars and gives our kids the autonomy they crave a little earlier!

Check out ‘5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids’ also written by Leslie Schneider

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

It Takes A Village: Cultivating Community Through Collaboration

We’d like you to meet Scott McGowan, One Planet Champion for our 7th One Planet Principle, Local and Sustainable Food.  We asked him why he got involved with Grow and to share his thoughts on the One Planet program.  Here is his response.

I decided to get involved in the Grow project after meeting Jonathan Davis.  He is a long time family friend of my wife, Haripurkh Khalsa , and previous student of her father Guru Singh.  Jonathan explained the One Planet concept and I was thrilled.  The core of The One Planet concept is exactly how I try to live my life, and exactly where we need to be striving towards with all development.   I have an electric truck, electric tools and don’t use any pesticides or harmful chemicals in my work.  I have spent the last 10-15 years planning and working on community gardens and I could not believe that a private development actually could be so focused on growing food as a means to build and create community!

The network of community gardens will create a better place for the residents by (1) reducing the amount of trips they need to take to the grocery store, 2) eating and living healthier lifestyles 3) building strong friendships and community 4) donating fresh foods to local food banks 5) educating residents and the broader Bainbridge community about growing food and building sustainable community through modeling and 6) providing fun community events in the beautiful outdoor garden spaces.

I believe that the network of community Gardens built into the overall design of the Grow Community is the key piece that can make this innovative concept work.  Community gardens/farms take teamwork and community involvement to run.  They will serve to connect neighbors in Grow with each other, and with the surrounding community.

The shared goal for Grow is to provide an important educational opportunity for children and creating future advocates for community gardens.

A few weeks ago Scott engaged local elementary students from Madrona School in the first harvest of our welcome garden. The effort was part of an educational program in local and organic foods. The kids harvested, learnt to cook with some of the vegetables, and provided some to the local food kitchen at Helpline House on Bainbridge.

For more about Scott’s organization Alleycat Acres, click here.

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids

The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

How did you feel about your neighborhood as a kid?

Before I was even 11 years old I could walk on my own to the library, or to a couple of stores in my neighborhood to spend my dimes and quarters. When I visited my grandparents in the summer, my cousins and I would walk to the public swimming pool or a community center for day camp classes. These memories define my childhood because I was not dependent on adults driving me there. My world had a connected set of places that I could “own.”

In the 5-minute lifestyle of the One Planet Grow Community, our homes are walking and biking distance from many family-friendly destinations, and they become such a part of our lives that we don’t even have to plan for them.  The Grow Community on Bainbridge Island offers so many activities that will live in our kids’ memories as part of where we live.

Here are a few favorites that are great for a range of ages:

The Farmers Market in Winslow

For almost half the year, the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Town Square is just a block away. Kids experience the color and bounty of fresh local food, the energy of the music, and even a marketplace where kids are the artisans and vendors.  Keep walking through the market, and just around the performing arts center is the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, with fresh displays as well as the longstanding history exhibits. Come home by way of Winslow with occasional visits to the Curious Child for the latest instructional games and toys, and you’ve got a weekly tradition that will live on for years in your kids’ memories.

On any day, a five minute stroll on friendly sidewalks through Winslow gets you and your kids to the playground behind the Town & Country grocery. From there, another 5 minutes on trails through Waterfront Park opens up to the beach. Low tide under the ferry dock is an unbelievable zoo of anemones, at least seven different species of sea stars, and frequent startling spurts from buried clams. A few times each season there are beach naturalists to help identify your finds. Bring rubber boots or water shoes, and don’t forget to buy the makings for dinner at Town & Country (grocery store) on your way back.

Kayaking on the Sound

For the days when weather discourages extended outdoor time, the Bainbridge library is just a five minute walk up the street, and another five minutes lands you at the Aquatics Center for swim lessons or free play in the lazy river or down the 20′ water slide. Diagonally across High School Road from the library and behind the Commodore Options school is the Bainbridge High School Gymnastics Room that hosts many Parks and Recreation classes, including the urban gymnastics for older kids  called Parkour (it’s much safer than jumping between tall buildings).

Five minutes on bikes (or 10 minutes by foot at an adult pace) and you’ll be at the ferry for an excursion to Seattle (and you can lock the bikes in the protected Bike Barn). Or stay on the island for an adventure at the Kids

Biking around the island

Discovery Museum across the street. “KiDiMu”, as it is mostly called, has built a strong following in its new location in Island Gateway, and soon the Bainbridge Art Museum will be another destination in that same campus. On

that same route, kids probably won’t love their appointment at the Virginia Mason clinic, but stop at Mora’s ice cream on your way back and all will be forgiven. In the car-dependent life, we weigh the benefits of a great destination with the costs of our own energy and time getting kids buckled in, travel and traffic, and finally finding parking in the vicinity of the destination. Then there are the real costs of gas and parking and maintenance, but we don’t usually track these carefully, willing to accept an average monthly budget for such necessities. In a car-free 5-minute lifestyle, instead of a hassle, getting there is half the fun!

If you’d like to learn more about the 5 Minute Lifestyle, check out our blog on Sustainable Transportation

Fun at the KiDiMu

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

Grow Community In The News: EarthTechling

Bainbridge Island’s Net Zero Community Homes Open For Tours

By Susan DeFreitas

Sick of the traffic in Seattle, and dreaming of the low-impact, car-free lifestyle? Serious about growing food, but lacking in large-scale farming ambitions? Consider a tour of one of new model homes that have recently opened their doors in Grow Community, a new net-zero energy development on Bainbridge Island centered around gardening and low-impact modes of transportation.

This collection of new, net-zero energy homes — located just a 35-minute ferry-ride across the Puget Sound from Seattle — was designed by Jonathan Davis of  Davis Studio Architecture + Design and is currently under development. To give prospective residents a glimpse of what life in this eight-acre “pedestrian-oriented, energy-efficient, multigenerational neighborhood” might look like, the community has opened up its first three green prefabricated model homes, which are now open for tours.

(See Full Article Here)

Construction Update: Trees

The following is a blog post written by Asani President Marja Preston in March 2012 on the subject of trees on the Grow Community construction site. With the second phase of construction beginning, this is again an important subject to explore. Now that construction has begun, we can share more on how we plan on saving and re-using trees on the site.

Protected tree on Grow Community construction site

1. Working with professional arborist Katy Bigelow, we walked through the property to designate significant trees to save and to remove trees that presented a danger to the neighborhood. 

2. Several trees that required removal have been used as stream bank restoration for salmon habitat by the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program.

3. Much of the cleared material will be re-purposed on-site for construction material, playground sites, and erosion control.

4. We will be replanting more trees (~250) than we remove.

Here is the original blog post:

Part of the careful planning we’ve put in place for this project includes everyday environmental choices that incorporate the beauty of our surroundings. This project is in the R-14 zone, which, under the new land use code, does not require retention of existing trees on the site.  The Grow project will meet Built Green 5-Star certification, which requires substantial tree retention.  In addition, we are committed to contributing to the long-term tree canopy goal of 50% coverage in Winslow, as outlined in the Bainbridge Island Urban Forest Management Plan.

Lead Architect Johnathan Davis marking trees to be re-utilized in the Grow Community playground.

In order to meet all these goals, our plan is to retain existing vegetation as much as possible. To accomplish this, we continue to work with a professional arborist, Katy Bigelow, to identify the maximum amount of trees that can reasonably be retained with the urban density that is planned.

We have focused on retaining trees in clusters and larger areas, for instance, at the corner of Grow Avenue and Wyatt Way, to maintain native vegetation areas, preserving habitat and maintaining existing green corridors.  In addition, we are planting more than 250 new trees throughout the site.  The new vegetation will enhance the existing green corridors and contribute to stormwater uptake and carbon sequestration, absorbing more than 900 metric tons of carbon over the next 100 years, almost double what the existing trees would have absorbed over that same time period.

As with all projects designed for urban densities, some trees must be removed, as preserving large trees next to new construction rarely works in the long-term.  For the trees that do need to be removed or relocated we are taking the utmost care.  All trees marked for preservation have been fenced at the dripline and no root systems will be disturbed by heavy equipment.  Several Vine Maples have been saved for reuse in the project, a Dogwood is going home with one of our Contractors, several other plants will be going to a local landscaper, and we are working with the Kitsap Conservation District to salvage evergreens for Salmon Restoration projects.

Grow Community in the News: Mother Nature Network

Grow Community: Evergreen Homes

By Matt Hickman

Thar she grows! The first three model homes at Grow Community, a net-zero energy development centered around gardening and low-impact transportation, are open for tours on Bainbridge Island.

After going on summer hiatus last month, I’m back with a noteworthy edition “Evergreen homes” — a monthly series of posts in which I break out the geographical bias and spotlight green residential building projects from my home state of Washington — that spotlights a sustainable community that’s well, grown, since I last wrote about it.

I first featured Grow Community — an enclave of net-zero energy residences located in Seattle’s bucolic bedroom community of Bainbridge Island — in July of 2011 after touring an unrelated modular show home designed by the project architect, Jonathan Davis of Davis Studio Architecture + Design, creators of pieceHomes, at the Dwell on Design conference in L.A.

At the time, all I had to share about the 8-acre “pedestrian-oriented, energy-efficient, multigenerational neighborhood” were early renderings and a few key highlights (Community composting facilities! P-Patches! Kayak storage! Minimal parking spaces!). Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of Grow — geared to be the largest solar-ready planned community in Washington, by the way — is the fact that it’s the first residential project in the U.S. to be endorsed by One Planet Living‘s Communities program, a rigorous, 10-tier certification program developed by U.K. nonprofit BioRegional Development Group and WWF International that focuses on the greenness of neighborhoods instead of individual homes.

(See Full Article Here)

Grow Community in the News: SMB Nation

Window into the New: Innovative Design Using Technology Shapes Grow Community on Bainbridge Island For Ultra-Cool Sustainable Living

By Tracy Anna Bader

Sustainability is a concept sprouting up everywhere, defining much of what is associated with today’s cutting edge culture. Shedding a stereotype of an idealistic grass-roots environmental movement, today the concept of sustainability is ultra-cool, hip and hot across age and gender groups, a driving force in sales and marketing, taking the lead in shaping modern design and influencing business—using state-of-the-art technology as a foremost ally.

Leading the way in the concept of attractive, affordable, practical solutions for sustainable living in the United States is the new Grow Community on Bainbridge Island, Washington taking root near the heart of the Island’s commercial center in Winslow located only 35 minutes by ferry, directly west across from Seattle in Puget Sound.

As a designer, and University of California Davis Design Department alumni, I am always on the lookout for new trends—especially in environmental design. So, when I stumbled upon Grow Community being built this summer during my initial visit to the Island, I must say, it was love at first sight!  Warm colors and an array of interesting visuals drew my friend and me inside. Other passerby’s stopped in awe, generating a steady stream of pedestrian traffic with a positive vibe of satisfied intrigue…a collective sigh of relief was felt in the air of content excitement to see dreams and concepts actually being turned into a reality we could experience firsthand, and even purchase.

Read article here.

Grow Community on Real Estate Radio Northwest

Grow team members Joie and Greg were interviewed by Nick Neal and Carolyn Frame on Real Estate Radio Northwest, a weekly show dedicated to “providing a forum for consumers to learn the truth of their financial life, which is mostly centered around their biggest investment, the home they live in.” Be sure to listen to the show segments by clicking the links below (give them a few seconds to load) as Greg and Joie talk about Grow Community and the family values, energy consciousness, and community living which the project is centered upon.

Segment 1 First Segment, Grow Community is a new development on Bainbridge Island focusing on building a neighborhood based on good old fashioned family values with energy efficiency and earth conscious living built in. They are accomplishing all of this with beautiful architecture and style. Greg Lotakis on the Project Management Team and Joie Olsen Director of Sales and Leasing joined us to talk about the project. In the first segment we get to know Greg and Joie and find out about the ideas behind GROW and ONE PLANET. (click here to listen to this segment)

 

Segment 2: In the second segment with Greg and Joie we talk about the philosophy behind the Grow Project and how the people of Bainbridge Island helped share in it’s development. We also find out about One Planet Living and how that is good for our future. (click here to listen to this segment)
Segment 3: In the 3rd segment we talk about the nuts and bolts of the project. What types of homes they are building at Grow Community and the features they will offer. The designs are beautiful to look at and efficient and cost effective to maintain. The idea is a neighborhood community of homes that are affordable to buy and lease as well as affordable to maintain. All of this with a warm neighborhood feeling. (click here to listen to this segment)
Segment 4: In the 4th segment on Grow we talk about the team behind the project and how much fun it will be to live there. It’s close to downtown Winslow and the Seattle Ferry. With a lot of BI within walking distance. Greg and Joie were great and did a wonderful job sharing the project with us. (click here to listen to this segment)

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Local Food Havens Minutes From Grow Community

[The following is the first in our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting rid of your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.]

Eating fresh and local on Bainbridge Island is as simple as stepping out your front door and taking a five minute walk to Downtown Bainbridge. Grow Community is uniquely situated for its future residents to enjoy the bounty of this beautiful islands local farms. We are a quick walk (or bike ride) away from restaurants which feature farm-to-table fare, the local grocery store which has deep ties to local Bainbridge farms and the local farmers market. Whether you’re looking to bring home the fixings for a local food feast, go out on the town or chat with the local farmers, you can be sure that your evenings meal supports the local economy and has made its way to your table from a farm only a few miles away. Read on for our selection of some of our favorite local food havens all within a 5 – 10 minute walk from Grow Community.

[Related: One Planet Principles; Supporting Community With Local Food]

1. Bainbridge Farmers Market.  Bainbridge locals gather at the Farmers Market every Saturday. Open 9 – 1PM, the farmers market is less than a 3rd of a mile from Grow Community. You will find here every local food need that your evening salad calls for and meet the local farmers that make it possible to eat healthy and local on Bainbridge Island. Location: Town Square at City Hall Park.

Read more