Exploring New Project Possibilities through a Beginner’s Mind: Omit the Checklist

By |2022-03-01T15:28:49+00:00February 25th, 2022|Categories: Process, Project, Story, Thinking|

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki Every day, every week, month and year we’re given a clean slate. Every day is a day to start anew. It’s normal to fall into habitual ways of doing things, we all do it. When we catch ourselves defaulting to our old modes of thinking, it provides us with an opportunity to create something new. Of course, some tasks, such as brushing our teeth, require less of us and don’t necessarily need our full attention, while others require us to show up wholeheartedly. But, what if we tried using our other hand to complete this everyday task? How would this change our thinking, our perspective? Now, [...]

RE Farm Café – The Power of Storytelling to Introduce Regenerative Thinking and Design

By |2021-03-02T21:34:23+00:00March 1st, 2021|Categories: Project, Story, Thinking|

7group and the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund have just released Remarkable Reinvention, a 10-minute video that compresses years of regenerative thinking and design effort. Following the journey of owners Duke and Monica Gastiger, we see the initial idea for a green restaurant on a farm evolve to RE Farm Café at Windswept Farm - a café nested in a farm, a farm nested in a community and regional food production and consumption system. And while direct experience certainly offers the strongest learning potential, the role of storytelling to educate and inspire cannot be overlooked. "The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come." – Steve [...]

Regenerating the Essence of Walnut Acres

By |2021-07-02T14:54:39+00:00June 15th, 2020|Categories: Project|

If you are not familiar with the story of Walnut Acres, this farm was one of the original organic farms in Pennsylvania. Founded by Paul and Betty Keene, Walnut Acres was a true pioneer in the organic food movement, and an revelation to thousands of people for over 50 years.  The farm was forced to close about 20 years ago but the original property has been reacquired and is seeking a rebirth into something new which honors the original legacy. You can find out more about the original farm and the new project here. The article below was published in the inaugural newsletter for the Keene Center at Walnut Acres. 7group is honored to play a small part in the regeneration of  Walnut Acres! The [...]

NYSERDA Announces First Contract Awards for $30 Million RetrofitNY Initiative

By |2018-07-24T20:37:36+00:00July 24th, 2018|Categories: Project|

7group has been selected by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to serve as one of three Integrative Design coach/facilitators for NYSERDA’s RetrofitNY program. RetrofitNY is a $30 million program funded over 10 years and made available through the State's Clean Energy Fund. It intends to bring a substantial portion of New York's affordable housing units to or near net-zero energy over the next decade. 7group will be working with two of the six project teams to whom NYSERDA awarded design contracts for this High-Performance Retrofit Solutions pilot program in late June 2018. These contracts are the initial step for RetrofitNY, a first-of-its-kind program in the U.S. launched earlier this year by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The program is intended [...]

Manifesting Your Project

By |2021-07-05T19:57:43+00:00July 2nd, 2018|Categories: Process, Project, Thinking|

Your project is far more than an amalgamation of materials and systems. It is a physical manifestation of your values, of what you really care about. Its design and construction sets the stage for much of what it becomes and serves over its lifetime. Its effects will extend well beyond the people who design, construct and inhabit it. It can contribute to the ecological health of the place it inhabits. It can serve to enrich the community, the watershed and the larger systems that support and enable it to exist. It can be experienced as more than an enclosure for people to be sheltered by focusing on its larger purpose and greatest potential. Just like each one of us, every project should be manifested [...]

Regenerating Place: Whole-Systems Design and Planning

By |2018-04-03T20:08:33+00:00April 2nd, 2018|Categories: Learning, Process, Project|

Spillian Workshop #2: Goal-Setting and Initial Concept 30 April – 02 May 2018 Spillian is a 33 acre historic estate, built by the Fleischmanns Yeast Family in the 1880’s as part of a summer retreat. Crowned by a museum-quality stick style mansion, embraced by the Catskills Forest, it now is the home of a center created to help people imagine past what they think is possible. 7group has been engaging with the place and its current owners to develop a master plan. Join us as we co-create the plan. As Spillian continues their master planning effort aimed at guiding its future evolution, all those interested in learning how to engage regenerative design and development are invited to participate in an extraordinary workshop series that will be [...]

Creating Regenerative Processes

By |2018-03-16T11:08:53+00:00March 13th, 2018|Categories: Process, Project, Story|

This post is an excerpt from the book Regenerative Development and Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability by our friends and colleagues at Regenesis Group. The book presents a coherent process for applying regenerative thinking to any project through a series of principles and premises you can use to evolve your work. It is a wonderful compliment to Carol Sanford's books as it presents some of the same frameworks but applies them more from an ecological rather than a business perspective. The specific examples in the book really ground the work in the realities of development and design projects. One of our projects, Lion's Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant in Vancouver, BC, is featured in this excerpt. Changing outcomes requires a new process; changing the process [...]

Regenerating a Sense of Place

By |2018-03-28T21:15:54+00:00February 22nd, 2018|Categories: Learning, Project|

Every place on Earth is unique. Every cubic meter on Earth shares no more than 30% of the same biology with any other cubic meter on Earth. To most of us, it all looks pretty much the same one to the next. In our rush to get where we are going, we don't take the time to notice the subtle differences. We don't even know the names of most of our fellow beings. The average US teenager can identify hundreds of corporate logos but less than a dozen local tree species. Words in the dictionary reflecting life are being replaced with words reflecting our technologies. Our development, our manner of speech, our buildings, our music, our entertainment, our very culture is subjected to homogenization which washes [...]

Building as a Living Organism

By |2018-10-18T14:13:16+00:00August 21st, 2017|Categories: Project|

Latest Willow School Project Achieves Certified Living Status! “Excellence, Education, Ethics, and Ecology”, is the Willow School’s mantra. A small, independent coeducational day school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, the Willow School is committed to combining academic excellence and the joy of learning with experiencing the wonder of the natural world. Its green campus is nestled on a 34-acre wooded site in rural New Jersey countryside, and the building and its surroundings are an integral feature in the school’s curriculum. Children at the Willow School study the connections between mathematics, literature, history, and the natural world; observing ecosystem patterns and cycles; and sustaining a thriving natural environment. The school’s latest project, the Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center continues to sing its mantra and [...]

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