Northern California SPIRE members gathered on Wednesday, October 5th in San Francisco for an evening with James Ehrlich (Stanford University Entrepreneur in Residence) of RegenVillages. ReGenVillages is a spin-off company of Stanford, which is currently working on a pilot development of 25 homes in Almere, Netherlands. The goal of the community is to integrate local energy production (using biogas, solar, geothermal, and other modalities), intensive food production methods (vertical farming, aquaponics and aeroponics, permaculture, and others) and 'closed-loop' waste-to-resource systems, along with intelligent water and energy management systems to create a neighborhood that powers and feeds itself. Members had the opportunity to learn about their designs and plans and the specifics behind this unique community.
The challenge this concept addresses is the coming population boom, with an estimated 10 billion people who will have to likely live on limited resources by 2050, which is expected to put unprecedented demands on our clean water supplies, food systems, and energy systems. RegenVillages solution is to design for resiliency and rather than focusing on attempts to retro-fit a sustainability solution into existing residential developments), the project aims to instead use a ground-up approach.