Responsibility

Green Canopy featured in Synergos' Business as Bridging Leaders Guide

Green Canopy is humbled to be featured in a newly published Partnership Guide developed by SynergosSynergos is a global organization helping to solve complex issues around the world by advancing partnerships between government, business, and local communities. The Businesses as Bridging Leaders guide features case studies from companies including Green Canopy, Unilever, Danone USA, Cargill, Kering and JP Morgan Chase, on how to effectively collaborate with cross-sector partners for positive social impact.

We are thankful for our partnership with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) as it has allowed us to bring 17% of our homes to market at more affordable and accessible prices compared to standard market rate homes.

By working in collaboration with our many stakeholders and partners we can continue to bring sustainable and healthy homes to market, and at the same time work towards greater market transformation. Our success depends on the commitment and mobilization of many, but especially our impact investors, our real estate agents, our building subcontractors, and our home buyers. Thank you!

We hope this guide serves as a tool for corporations to build stronger partnerships in order to meet the UN's Sustainable Development goals and raise the bar for cultivating trusted relationships.

Creating a Mission Statement That Matters

Creating a Mission Statement That Matters

Green Canopy builds homes, relationships, and businesses that help regenerate communities and environments.


GREEN CANOPY IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE A NEW MISSION STATEMENT THAT HAS DEVELOPED FROM MUCH THOUGHT AND COLLABORATION.

“Mission statement” is one of the first terms inside startup guides, marketing courses and business plans. It can feel like fluff on an entrepreneur’s checklist of a million-and-one things to manage — a checklist that also includes terms like revenue and retention rate.

And a mission can become fluff that has little real impact internally or externally. Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy says, “Where intention and attention go, energy flows.” A mission statement helps set intention and attention, ensures stakeholder alignment, guides strategy, and helps differentiate — creating a sustained competitive advantage and supporting the long-term success of an organization. This has been Green Canopy’s process:

Green Canopy's Theory of Change

Green Canopy's Theory of Change

By Susan Fairchild | Director of Investor Relations & Impact | Green Canopy

Those who visit the Green Canopy Headquarters will find, in our entryway, a reminder handed down by our CEO’s father. It’s a framed quote by the baseball legend Yogi Berra, reading— “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it.”

From a Friend of Racial Hate Crime Victim, DaShawn

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by Dyesha Belhumeur | Green Canopy Finance Administrative Assistant

“Attacked for being a black man who slept with a white woman” sounds like a headline out of a 1954 newspaper. But it’s 2018, and this is now part of the story for a friend of mine, DaShawn Horne.
 
On the morning of January 20, 2018 DaShawn was attacked with a metal baseball bat, by an 18-year old who found out that his sister spent the night with DaShawn. Just over a week later on January 30, Seattle Time’s Sara Jean Green reached out to the family to document the details, leading to an outpouring of nationwide support on GoFundMe, news publications and blogs.
 
What the articles are missing, though, is DaShawn. I had the pleasure of attending High School with DaShawn and becoming close friends with his sister, allowing me better insight into the type of character he’s embodied over the years I’ve known him. He is a family man who puts his family above all else. And he is a loyal and dedicated friend who treats his friends like family. He is a new father who spends every moment he can making sure his 16-month-old son, Deion, knows his father will always be there. He is a brother who regularly checks in on his siblings, and a son whose mother has displayed an immense amount of strength at a time that would have broken most. He is one of the goofiest people I know, making faces and jokes with a laugh that creates more laughter.
 
One of his uncles sums it up best, “Shawn is a dynamic individual. There are very few people out there who can have people from all different walks of life, backgrounds, races, socioeconomic statuses, and education levels gathered in one room to support him.”
 
When you look at DaShawn, you would not know that he graduated from high school as a honor roll student, that he studied Criminal Justice at Eastern Washington University, or that he worked with the non-profit, AVID, whose mission is “to close the achievement gap” by mentoring underserved kids. Anybody who’s had the pleasure of interacting with DaShawn, would agree that to say, “he didn’t deserve to be blindsided in an act of hatred,” is an understatement. People often try to justify racial attacks by claiming the attacked looked like a “criminal” or a “thug”, but no matter someone’s outward appearance, nobody deserves what DaShawn is going through.
 
The unfortunate and sad reality is that for many black families, this is an all-too-frequent occurrence and everyday fear. As another one of DaShawn’s uncles puts it, “it’s just our turn to go through it,” and the question is simply, “whose family will be next?”.
 
We get tired of attending funerals, visiting hospitals, and posting #RIP hashtags. Every day, black men and women are targeted because of the color of their skin; surveilled, attacked, and killed. Images and stories of black bodies being hurt and destroyed seem to fill our social media and news feeds so much that society has grown numb to these images and their stories. It’s just another article, just another story. African American families should not have to coach our children on how to interact with police to ensure that they return home at the end of each night. “Always make sure your hands are visible; ask before you make any movements; never — for absolutely any reason — run; always make sure you have your ID,” and the list goes on.
 
Racism is systemic and a very-present reality today. It is deeply embedded in every social institution, interaction, and structure within the American society from the micro-aggressions in our day-to-day relations, to a housing-and-zoning system set up to disenfranchise blacks, to a justice system which is rooted in a racist foundation and reliant on black and brown bodies. It is the codependence of policies, practices, and ideas that have established a social construct in which it is not explicitly said, but understood, that the resources, rights, and powers available in this country are to be withheld from black-and-brown people.
 
White America has historically benefited from nearly four hundred years of racist beliefs and structures and largely become blind to its oppressive strength against minority groups. It is our life experiences and influences that shape us as people, our views of the world, and our beliefs, and to shake the weight of these historical constructs takes hard, introspective work. We cannot tackle systemic issues without first identifying our internal biases that shape our actions. We cannot change what happened to DaShawn, but we can take steps to eradicate the systems that perpetuate racism and these acts of hatred.
 
To start this work, support DaShawn’s family as they care for him and his baby, watch the eye-opening documentary 13th on mass incarceration as the current extension of slavery and read the University of Washington's article on how Seattle’s zoning laws stem from segregation and racism.

DaShawn Horne 2010, with son Deion in April of 2017, Deion after a new haircut in January 2018

DaShawn Horne 2010, with son Deion in April of 2017, Deion after a new haircut in January 2018

Patience and Urgency Combined | SOCAP17 and the BCorp Champions Retreat

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The last two weeks has been a whirlwind of intentional conversations with like-minded, social purpose organizations. The B-Corps Champions Retreat and the following week of SOCAP17 were both intense conferences of shared themes and desired outcomes. A couple things linger in my mind from these social impact conferences:


  • The short distance the social impact investment community has traveled to date and where it is on the arc of its lifecycle trajectory.

  • The emphasis on personal improvement.


So how far have we come? My first year at SOCAP was 2009. That was the same year when I first learned about B-Corps companies at the Sustainable Industries Journal forum from Stephanie Ryan of B-Lab. It was directly after SOCAP09, in November of 2009, that Green Canopy bought its first project and our work to build the company began full-tilt and relentless. The first years of Green Canopy were about survival and getting the organization right. Today we have the capacity to expand the scope of our community beyond the Pacific Northwest region. In 2013, we certified as a B-Corps, but my first B-Corps retreat was two weeks ago. This was followed up by SOCAP17, my first year back since 2009. In the eight-year span between first learning about B-Corps companies and SOCAP, and today, this community has grown significantly and become a legitimate investing force and philosophical approach.
 
When looking at the lifespan of contemporary impact investing in the SOCAP17 booklet, the movement is younger than many of us, just turning 40 years old. If we are investing for this generation but also for generations to come, then we are in the infancy of a multigenerational movement determined to continue to grow, learn and transform global society and economy. We are on the early side of the impact investment lifespan for sure. We have a long way to go and the urgency of the issues we are addressing with our labor and capital create impatience on behalf of just about everyone in this community. Throughout both conferences it felt like most people were understandably feeling the impatience of our youthful movement. Like we just want to be older and more mature than our short 40-years will allow.
 
And then when we couple our youthful impatience with the urgency our work demands, impatience compounds. Which, perhaps, is the reason so many conversations at both conferences discussed the importance of personal, emotional, and spiritual growth in the practice of social entrepreneurship and impact investing. If the antidote to anger is patience, then the lack of patience leads to anger. The importance of love in our work requires patience, yet patience decidedly lacks urgency. Perhaps in order to productively hold this dichotomy through the transition to a new paradigm, a focused determination that allows for grace and patience when organizing with a sense of urgency requires each of us to develop increased mindfulness within swirling storms.

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Celebrating our collective “wins” and taking stock of our successes happened throughout both conferences as well, and from my perspective there is a lot to celebrate in the progress we have collectively made in just the last eight years. When I first learned about B-Corps companies in 2009, there were 205 certified B-Corps, in 28 states and in 54 industries. Today there are 2,310 certified B-Corps, in 50 countries and in 130 industries. SOCAP has tripled in size and become an international affair. It is drawing investment firms representing more capital than most people seemed to think possible just a few years ago. Bringing values into our investment analysis continues to seem obvious once seen; like suddenly being able to see a number hidden within the page of little colored dots. The more people’s eyes identify that opportunities to make money work for positive change are hidden in plain sight, the more obvious it becomes that when we direct our resource toward changing the world for better, the world indeed gets incrementally better.

I am entirely grateful to be part of this community and movement, and I look forward to continuing with the dual edge of graceful patience and urgency, toward building and investing in the future we believe in.

"Transparency, accountability are no longer fringe ... We are seeing a surge of leaders who want to have a platform to influence the greater good." -Bart Houlahan, B Corporation | SOCAP17

Built Green Panel: Exclusionary to Inclusionary

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by Aaron Fairchild, CEO

At the September 14 Built Green Conference, I moderated the panel, Exclusionary to Inclusionary: How can we make our region inclusive, resilient, and vibrant, with Seattle mayoral candidates, Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon, as well as City Council candidate Teresa Mosqueda, and Sightline founder Alan Durning. It was an honor to moderate this discussion. It was made even more poignant by the passing of my father the night before after nearly a 10-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. He would have been proud to see me moderating a discussion with such a powerhouse group. I did my best during the discussion to channel the thoughtfulness he demonstrated throughout his life. I would like to thank the panelists for their time and contribution, and for helping to make an otherwise difficult day, one of inspiration! 

Here are a few thoughts I took away from the conversation. 
All the panelists agreed that up-zoning or at least allowing townhomes, duplexes and triplexes, and row-houses onto our exclusively zoned SFR lots within the city is something that should be pursued. I also learned there was broad agreement that the permitting process at the city should be streamlined and explored for greater efficiency in processing permits. The last thing that became quite apparent was that: 


we all agreed that our vibrant city will only remain so if we can maintain income diversity where it currently exists within our neighborhoods and bring it back to our city’s more desirable and “exclusive” neighborhoods. 
— Aaron Fairchild

I don’t typically endorse candidates, however, given the conversation, I would like to humbly offer my thoughts on these candidates and on Alan as a panelist. 


Alan Durning was a Vesuvius of knowledge; bright, red hot and over-flowing with intense clarity and of course, humor. 

Jenny Durkan exudes focused energy aligned with her past and progressive vision of Seattle’s future. Seattle would be well served with her as mayor. 

Teresa Mosqueda was a power provider, articulate, earnest and buoyant. I can whole heartedly endorse her candidacy and sincerely hope that Seattle will benefit from her leadership in the near future. 

Cary Moon is heart and meaning and brings unassuming positivity together with pragmatic approaches for progress. Seattle would be well served with her as mayor. 

When doing a quick read on Wikipedia about Bertha Knight Landes (October 19, 1868 – November 29, 1943), I discovered she “was the first female mayor of a major American city, serving as mayor of Seattle, Washington from 1926 to 1928. She is to date Seattle's only female mayor.” 

These three powerful women candidates honor Ms. Landes’ memory and life through their current and future efforts. I am looking forward to seeing the last line in the Wikipedia page updated to read, “She was Seattle’s only female mayor, until 2017.” 

You can watch the condensed footage of the discussion on the Built Green website

Green Canopy relies on Built Green to provide rigorous green building standards. Green Canopy utilizes their standards to certify our homes as Built Green Certified. On an annual basis the Built Green Conference provides builders, developers and real-estate agents cutting-edge information on green building and sustainability. Thank you Master Builders Association and Built Green! 

Photo Credit: Built Green and Alabastro Photography

Architectural Salvage: Then & Now

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When Green Canopy began, our region was in the grips of a housing crisis. Streets were filled with “for sale” signs that wouldn’t budge. It seemed as though everyone wanted to sell before the market dropped further, and that no one really wanted to buy a home. Green Canopy’s solution was to acquire existing homes and deeply remodel them as certified Built Green Remodels for sale. The Company’s mission is, and has been since that time, to inspire resource efficiency in residential markets. Remodeling existing homes using sustainable methods and materials and certifying the home Built Green, was at the time the most viable and sustainable method for accomplishing the mission during the last housing crisis. However, as the market began to shift, Green Canopy began feeling the symptoms of a new emerging market crisis. Today’s housing crisis is a result of a shortage of supply and there are more people looking to buy than there are homes to acquire. The market economics have changed, making it no longer viable to buy homes, remodel them to a rigorous green building standard and remain in business. Rather than bemoan the current market, Green Canopy can now lean into its mission with a greater sense of purpose.

Green Canopy’s homes are nearly three times more energy-efficient than the average Seattle home.
It is difficult to achieve the same efficiency in an older home that you can when building a new home. A Green Canopy home includes energy-saving appliances, optimized heating and cooling systems, and is built with air-sealing, insulation and a design that helps to properly regulate the temperature of the home. Even if an old home is renovated with the same benefits, the efficiency of the remodeled home cannot match the efficient structures of a new Green Canopy home.
 
Building more homes on each lot is more resource efficient and helps to preserve the bioregion around us.
By optimizing each lot in the city, we can slow down the rapid expansion and sprawl that is inevitable as our cities continue to grow in population. By keeping our housing dense within the cities, we can continue to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around us and survive on the resources that it supplies us with. Shy of this, the metropolitan area will more rapidly sprawl and it will be harder to preserve the surrounding natural resources that we rely on. Adding density is simply one of the most resource efficient things Green Canopy can do. 

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Making the most use of each build-able lot helps to offset the negative impacts of gentrification and displacement. In a very short period of time we have become acutely aware that there are not enough housing options to equitably support our population. An emphasis on increased density is intensely important given that demand is forecasted to continue growing relative to supply.  A sustained increase in demand will likely continue to drive prices up, and moderate- and low-income households further out unless we build more housing in all areas of the city. Building more homes on each lot, allows us to offer more resource efficient and well-built homes to a broader variety of occupants.

 
The previous structures that Green Canopy deconstructs, is salvaged and repurposed.
Although the Company no longer exclusively remodels existing homes, most of the existing structures that are deconstructed get to live on in other projects within the community. In 2014, we began a deconstruction company to learn what it takes to manage responsible deconstruction of existing homes. After training the team and taking apart three projects piece-by-piece, the team learned that it was simply not cost effective to continue in that manner. , As a result, the Company worked to build lasting relationships with local organizations to selectively harvest reusable material from existing homes. By adding only one or two more days to the process, the materials include embedded infrastructure like floor and wall-framing members, not just old door nobs, or cabinets. Today, the company works with groups like Ballard Reuse and 118 Design to recycle, reuse and repurpose materials from existing homes.
 
118 Design is a part of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission; their program works with young men (ages 13 — 26) in the Rainier Valley to decrease gang membership in Seattle.  The young men in the 118 Street Outreach program transform broken and discarded lumber into quality, urban inspired, one-of-a-kind furniture.
 
Their Street Outreach program offers:

  • Internships

  • Technical job skills training

  • Workplace environment education

  • Business and entrepreneurial classes

  • Leadership and role model opportunities

  • Mentors and counseling services

  • Accountability and drug testing

 
Additionally, Green Canopy can occasionally offer the neighbors of an existing home an opportunity to claim items from the home to reuse and repurpose before these other organizations gain access. A few items that neighbors have been excited to reclaim have been: kitchen cabinets, a farm-house sink and vintage light fixtures, etc.

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Where Exactly Do Our Deconstruction Materials Go?
Taken from a sampling of three of our projects, this is where we have donated and diverted waste from the landfills to (see individual waste diversion reports here):

•    Asphalt Shingles: Evergreen Shingle RecyclingCDL
•     Construction Debris: Clean ScapesCDL
•    Crown Molding: Ballard Reuse
•    Washer Dryer: Ballard Reuse
•    Lath: 118 Design
•    Clean Wood: 118 Design
•    Siding: 118 Design
•    GWB: New West GWB, Resource Recovery
•    Metal: Recycling DepotSeattle Iron and Metal, CDL
•    Wood: Ballard ReusePort Townsend Paper
•    Windows: Habitat for Humanity
•    Brick: Dirt Exchange
•    Concrete: Renton Concrete Recyclers
•    Cardboard: CDL
•    Land Clearing: Dirt Exchange
•    Rock and gravel: Dirt Exchange

We continue to inspire resource efficiency by salvaging architecture and have taken the necessary steps to get even better at it. When we started, it looked like remodeling; now it needs to be mindfully crafting more well-built, eco-friendly homes for a vibrant and diverse city. 



Learn more about how to Recycle Construction & Demolition Materials
Summer is just around the corner and that means the building season will soon be in full swing. Do you know how to properly dispose of the waste materials from your projects? Please join us on June 29th to hear from two speakers who will provide strategies to manage construction and demolition materials sustainably and legally. Kinley Deller from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division will talk about existing and forthcoming codes regarding recycling and disposal of these materials, and Justin Hooks, Vice President of Construction Planning at Green Canopy Homes, will offer tips for reaching a 100% recycling rate in your projects. The event is sponsored by the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

When: Thursday, June 29th  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Snoqualmie Falls Room at King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review office, 35030 SE Douglas Street, Suite 210, Snoqualmie. 
Who: This event is open to the public and will be especially helpful to contractors
Cost: Free & lunch is provided

The Dialog of Infill Communities

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Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact Part 2
Written By: Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy

Green Canopy’s neighborhood engagement started with our first home in West Seattle in 2010. We painted the home a shade of green that our neighbors rejected immediately and publicly via social media. We were taken aback. This certainly wasn’t the “impact” that we had hoped for. Our nascent team had just begun working together with a mission to inspire and this quickly became a moment to listen and learn.  We invited all of our neighbors to meet onsite and tour the construction project and vote on the color to repaint the home. This was our first opportunity to talk to the community about our mission, gather feedback and learn more about our neighbors, their values and, of course, a better choice for paint color.

Since that time Green Canopy has increased its commitment to neighborhood engagement in a number of ways. The company has hosted barbecues, sponsored block parties, held educational events on green building, hosted happy hours highlighting local non-profits, and more. The company has also programmatically adopted the Community Color Program to select the color palette that we use to paint every home.  Additionally, in 2012 the company formalized our introduction to the neighborhood with a “Meet the Builder” community meeting. This is neither required by the cities in which we build, nor embraced by the associations to which we belong. The Green Canopy Meet The Builder community meetings represent an early chapter in the story of every project, helping to set the tone once construction begins and ultimately ensuring greater community inclusion and consideration than otherwise.

The Green Canopy Meet the Builder community meeting is designed to introduce the company and our mission to inspire resource efficiency to the neighborhood; Green Canopy is a very different type of infill homebuilder. We flyer and mail invitations to the community to join us for an evening event that typically takes place in a local community center or library. During this event, the Green Canopy team introduces the company and team members. We put ourselves out there to receive input and feedback and to answer questions about construction, timelines and what to expect. 
 
Over the years we have met with hundreds of neighbors and learned so much about the communities in which we build. We have opened our projects to external influence, and while we can’t always accommodate, we always ask and listen with respect. 

In October of 2014 we layered into the Green Canopy Meet the Builder community meeting, an online neighborhood survey. Since that time, we have held over 20 community meetings and received results from 15 communities with responses from over 100 neighbors in Portland and Seattle. Once the surveys have been completed we process neighbor’s responses and send all responses back to the community members that filled out a survey. The responses are shared anonymously; yet when we review these results we receive highly informative feedback, which we use to learn, adapt and inform the Green Canopy team about the unique story of every community in which we build.  
 
For the first time, we are producing the results of the community surveys from which we have learned so much – they are full of critique, feedback and grace - take a look for yourself and let us know what lessons you learn in the comments below!

Download Green Canopy's Community Survey Responses to learn more about the communities in which we work.

Density Decisions

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Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact Part 1

Written By: Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy

"The current housing crisis can not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our solutions will require a more colorful, creative and collaborative approach." 

Green Canopy is a walkable urban infill developer with a mission to Inspire Resource Efficiency in Residential Markets. Since our company's inception, we believed one solution to our global resource scarcity and climate change issues should be infill homebuilding done differently. So began our journey to create a different kind of homebuilder that is more socially and environmentally aware and responsive. In the weeks ahead Green Canopy will publish a series of blogs and data sets that highlight some of the more curious approaches we incorporate to help create positive social and environmental outcomes.
 
We began Green Canopy as a for-profit, market-based model with the desire to make a difference. The thinking was that if we were successful in making a difference, profits would follow and allow the Company to scale our outcomes and impact.

In 2009 we purchased our first infill lot. Our next 59 homes were deep-green, energy efficient, complete home remodels. With the subsequent changes in the market and City regulations, we pivoted entirely to new construction with an emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainable methods and materials as well as increased density through a fabric of single-family, duplexes, triplexes and rowhouses; a mix of housing that is considerably more resource efficient where urban land is scarce. Rather than remodel one home or replace an old home with one new home, we now replace a single, older home with an average of four new, third-party green built certified homes that are over 300% more resource efficient than what was there before. We will sell roughly 40 third-party certified, deep-green homes in Seattle and Portland this year.

As a mission-focused homebuilder we are often looked at with confusion and curiosity from other homebuilders. Occasionally we are mocked and written off as “do-gooders.” It is often assumed that we really don’t know what we are doing. After all, homebuilding is an old profession, historically operating in a similar manner for generations.
 
Well, the times have changed in just one generation, and many of us have not yet recognized it. In the last 50 years the population has doubled. The consumption of water and food has tripled and the use of fossil fuels has quadrupled. Species are going extinct at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times of the normal background rate of 1 to 5 a year. We currently lose dozens of species a day. Humans have done more irreparable damage to the planet in the last 50 years than all of humanity before. Today, humanity continues to flood our cities in droves. Managing the increased density has triggered a serious societal housing problem that will likely be with us for years to come. 
 
As a result, Green Canopy is increasingly relevant in these turbulent times. However, our business model is not a perfect solution, and no solution is. Our housing crisis will not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our housing issues are full of pigment requiring more colorful, creative and collaborative approaches.  
 
Embedded in this thinking, perhaps a silver pellet is revealed? Green Canopy is not a panacea. We are simple. Green Canopy is not particularly sexy. We are straightforward. Green Canopy is not a silver bullet. We are just one pattern in the colorful quilt of potential solutions needed to increase access, affordability and sustainability in urban housing.
 
In 50-years from now, when we have 14 billion human heart beats on the face of the planet, underwater coast lines, food and water security issues, what will our cities look like: Bastions of hope, or of hopelessness? In 50-years Green Canopy’s homes will still be standing as evidence of the purposeful actions that an earnest group of investors and operators took to help make our cities bastions of hope and opportunity. 


Up next - Part 2: Community Meetings Provide Context
Community meetings are not required for the relatively small-scale development projects undertaken by urban infill homebuilders. However, for the last four years Green Canopy has been conducting community meetings for every project we have undertaken. We will share our rational and the data collected from the surveys we have given to the neighbors in the communities in which we build. 


Additional Reading:
With waves of humanity flooding into our neighborhoods, and no simple or easy solution to address our density issues, take some time to read through these two Sightline research articles. They are informative, well researched and helpful as we consider the choices ahead of us. Both of these articles highlight the need for Green Canopy’s approach to increased density.

POCKETBOOK POWER; IT'S IN OUR HANDS

A Response from Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy, Inc.

For those of us that are deeply concerned with the current Presidential administration, I thought I would offer acknowledgement in solidarity and a potential response to consider throughout each day as you continue protesting in the streets across America.
 
Trump is a self-professed businessman and has proclaimed that he will create perpetual economic growth throughout his Presidency and beyond, even at the expense of equity and the environment. To which we can, and should respond with a resounding, “No!" Natural limits to growth exists as populations grow and resources diminish. Perpetual economic growth at the expense of equity and the environment simply cannot be sustained, nor should the idea be tolerated as acceptable.
 
For years the “buy local” movement has been a compelling response to the perpetual growth model and well articulated in Wendell Berry’s short book of essays, “In the Presence of Fear." Buying local, and all that it entails, helps to strengthen our local communities and economies as we work to address our environmental and social equity issues in a more sustainable and less consumptive manner.
 
Today we find ourselves confronted with a Presidential administration that is happy to operate as a bull in global and national “china-shops,” rolling back environmental regulations not to mention our constitutional liberties. Given this as the backdrop it is more important than ever to perhaps reconsider our consumption behaviors and retrench to our local establishments and communities. The consumer has the loudest voice in our democracy. If consumers change their behavior, companies take notice, and correspondingly so do politicians.
 
To this, I ask you to send a message to this administration along with me and thoughtfully limit your consumption of global brands, and perhaps in general. Will you join me in more deliberately and critically considering the purchases you intend to make? Can you think about holding off, or reflect on not going out to dinner or away for that vacation? Perhaps consider focusing on local purchases, “stay-cations”, dinners at home with family and friends and making your investments locally.
 
But you may say, “Aaron, buying local and limiting our national consumer trends by perhaps even 5% would certainly cause a recession!” Frankly, is there a better way to send a message to a President who has trumpeted his business and economic acumen? Perhaps there is, however corporate sponsors won’t continue clinging if their numbers go down. Protest with your pocketbook and send an economic message to a business baron and let go of fear of a potential self-induced recession
 
Recessions come and go, and if a recession were indeed to arrive as a result of buying local, perhaps it would be more easily corrected than otherwise. More importantly, a recession caused by conscious consumption puts economic control in the right hands; in your hands, the hands of the people and not corporations or politicians. Send a message and buy locally, invest locally, walk to a friend or neighbor’s house for dinner, take transit, and walks in the dark and beautiful woods instead of heading to the movies.
 
If you ever needed an excuse or a little nudge to buy local and perhaps even less, the excuse sits in the White House and the nudge is constantly viewed on your news push-notifications. Take action throughout your every day. Consider more critically and deliberately as you buy products and consume goods. Mindfully, in the moment, think about buying less, buying local, investing local. Let go of fear and embrace the power of your pocketbook to create change. 

Share an easy, yet meaningful idea as a comment below that may be helpful to others as we all align to living and buying more locally.