Green Bridge Farm: zero energy i-House, communal organic garden, endless blueberries

Back in 2008, I wrote a column about Green Bridge Farm, a small sustainable development in Effingham County about a 30-minute drive from downtown Savannah.

Michael Maddox’s family has owned the property since the 18th century, and he’s now crafting the acreage into a small sustainable community with a shared organic garden, plus covenants protecting trees and encouraging other sustainable practices. From my 2008 column:

“Sustainability” may be the buzzword of the moment, but it’s certainly no passing fad for Maddox, who has been planning this communal “homestead” since first reading the books of Ken Kern more than 20 years ago.

“This may not be the wave of the future, but a wave of the future,” said Maddox, whom many of you may know as an organic gardener, musician or landscape supervisor for the city of Savannah.

Maddox envisions “more and more little developments that are more and more self-sufficient.” It’s a simple idea to “bring people to the food rather than food to the people.”

I was already friendly with Maddox when I did that piece, but have become better friends with him in the time since. I was among those invited for a celebration of the recent harvest of corn — and I got to Green Bridge Farm to find that it was also time for the blueberry harvest.

I was especially anxious to get out to the property off Zittrouer Road to see the new i-House, a zero-energy structure from Clayton Homes. It uses geothermal, solar panels, and a wind turbine to put power back onto the grid as often as it pulls power from it. There’s an open house coming up in August that I’ll be sure to attend — I can’t wait to see the interior and get a closer look at the various systems.

As I suggested back in 2008, while the housing market hardly needs new lots or new construction, there is a clear demand for alternatives to the prevailing housing model of high-maintenance suburban homes.

Enjoy a few pics:

One of the large organic beds

The zero-energy i-House

Grapevines and large blueberry bushes in the foreground

Django (silent D) on the porch of Maddox's existing home

The new road between homesites

Part of the silver queen harvest

Sylvie has a pretty good life

For more information, check out the Green Bridge Farm website.

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