The development of this site began when Karen Nelson purchased the property in 1988. The original inspiration came from the desire to serve the community by creating an urban demonstration site for sustainability. She always had her eye on “taking over the whole neighborhood.” In order to support that dream, Karen and Gail started a green bed and breakfast, Fertile Ground Guesthouse. Consequently, sustainability could then be shared with a larger number of people while supporting the work of the community center, which is now called The Commons @ Fertile Ground.
Chris van Daalen served on the board of FG since its beginning and is also an active member in the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. So when 911 Adams (which is now called the EcoHouse) became available for rent, he took his idea to the leadership of the Guild who agreed to rent it. They were granted a two year lease that allowed enough time to get the house fixed up and ready to utilize. The owner of the property, Mrs. Koch have been very supportive of all the developments and show every interest in seeing this project succeed.
We feel confident pursuing the development of The Commons because it’s something that is already happening. For over ten years, people have used this site to share resources, to learn new skills and make new friends. Future plans include forming a land trust and preserving The Commons for future generations.