In the context of widening political divides, growing economic inequalities, and a disrupted climate system, we join many to call on every nature-based business owner or trade crafter, organization with a mission focus to support local development for agricultural sectors, and landowners to imagine ways in which we can generatively live and work together.
The place that we share is the Blue Ridge Region of North Carolina. High mountain peaks envelop one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Land and business owners embrace an independent ingenuity that supports a people deeply connected to nature. Music, art and family units all express ties to the land and people. We share a cultural experience, nurtured in this place.
In an industrialized society, the value of land has only been seen through an extractive lens. People from outside our region contemplate what they can get from the land, from the people. But, we have always shared a deep commitment to work, a commitment to our community, an appreciation of and need for nature.
We find ourselves today in a transitional time where industrial, mechanical systems are exhausting all people as systems are failing and the work to prop them up is overwhelming. Most people continue to work to solve problems. As this occurs, we only become better at identifying what problems look like, but we are no closer to real solutions for them. The future looks dim through this lens.
Whole-systems, regenerative process offers real change with new potentials. As the words imply, regenerative process is explicitly geared to add new energy to a system and new life to communities and businesses. The work offers real hope in addressing climate systems disruption. It offers methodologies to work the way Appalachian people have always wanted to – in connection with nature. It holds the promise of healthier forests and healthier bonding between people. Please take this opportunity to learn more.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE, PLEASE CONTACT CHRIS McCURRY: [email protected]
Bark House aims to share the lessons we have learned working with a regeneratively aimed process – with everyone in our supply chain and with other nature-based businesses who also aim to work regeneratively. This is a multi-level initiative that engages landowners, loggers, nature-based businesses and organizations who share a goal in improving the health of our forests and the prosperity of the people working and living within them to create A Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge. Landowners benefit as their forests are improved through management practices. Loggers benefit as they are supported in eco-logging. Nature-based businesses benefit as they develop a regenerative supply chain. Organizations benefit as the region’s prosperity increases. Appalachian people are naturally developed (in and by this place) for this living-systems engagement. Working together collectively will yield greater benefits as the region develops regeneratively.
A Regenerative Business System functions from its unique essence and shifts the purpose of business to the creation of shared prosperity within a socio-ecological context. It supports cross-pollination and generates multi-focal development. It evolves the essential capacity of each individual and each socio-ecological system it touches – its internal processes, the ones it is embedded in, and the larger systems that are aspects of the industry or collective. It is the work of each business to define its boundaries and develop its work-plan. Proven and effective methods that are inspired by natural-systems processes are available with coaching through regenerative practitioners. The work sees each business supporting the creative intelligence of its supply chain, taking responsibility for employee and community development and enabling strategic participation in the whole-process.
Too often, too lofty ideals are presented in a utopian-version of what might be possible one day. This proposal is grounded with examples of work done by Bark House that has been audited and third party certified. Successfully operating in the Blue Ridge Mountains for 30-years, Bark House has the unique perspective of having created a new type of business inspired by nature in the mountains of rural North Carolina. Clients include well known tech, hospitality and fashion industries. Bark House sees a unique opportunity to share a regenerative process, inspired of this place – with others.
The co-founders of Bark House have participated in whole-living-systems work for over thirty years. Marty designed and created bark wall coverings – products that honor the strategy of trees. Chris started her career as a registered nurse, practicing whole-health-community-care. She created a manufacturing business model that honors the strategy of a factory like a forest. Their products and processes earned the top level in rigorous certification strategies such as Cradle to Cradle and B Corp and has been awarded as a Regenerative Business and Buckminster Fuller Catalyst Company.
In regenerative systems work, you look for what is known as nodal participants. These participants engage at key levels of the work based on a deep understanding of the dynamics of those levels. Bark House is a nodal participant in this process, connecting landowners, loggers, businesses, clients and organizations together in a scope of work that is unique and regenerative for our place. Chris is a graduate of Phase I of The Regenerative Practitioner Series through Regenesis. Her work with regenerative process has not been limited to this company. The Spruce Pine Central Park was built and improvements to the Main Street Organization occurred under her leadership. Already experienced in generatively working with the sectors noted, and practicing whole-living-systems-process-development, Bark House is uniquely positioned to integrate all levels of this work-collective.
Bark House will benefit as a collective of businesses and organizations working together will lighten the load of single responsibility for such an enormous system that BH is already engaged in. Area guild participants will provide meaningful verification strategies that one-size, distant certifications could not. We will be able to meet our mission goal to fully honor the eco-system of our place. We will be able to respond to the question of our formation: how can cutting a tree save the planet and heal the people; and how can this process be carried out honorably.
To create prosperity in a given place, we must be diligent to understand its ecological and social systems – its geography, its history, its culture. We must seek the essence of that place and support it to unfold in its beauty and uniqueness. Larger groups from outside this area aiming to work here have viewed small land ownership and a people deeply connected to their land as an obstacle to be overcome or changed. History points to extractive practices from outside forces that a people who are less connected to each other and the land would have been utterly crushed by.
Dr. Ronald D Eller’s book, Uneven Ground provides invaluable insight into the history of financial investment and extractive practices that Appalachian people have suffered from. It demonstrates how millions of dollars poured into the region, and how gateway cities such as Asheville and Morganton benefited as they “got in line” but the more mountainous areas were harmed when they did not. Investment not only cast a shadow on the capacity of people in this region to live their lives connected to nature and community, enrichened by music and art – but it also sent teachers and leaders in trusted positions into the heart of these communities and told the people they were wrong and needed to change. Opportunities that encouraged self-discovery and development were often traded for expectations of total cultural eradication. Dr Eller shares large-scale methods that were employed against mass populations as well as personal assaults that he experienced as a child, exposed to these initiatives.
The history of extraction in this area begins with settlers pushing out native peoples, sees an Industrial Revolution, the formation of National Parks and the adjunct of television branding the inhabitants of a gentle land as incapable and backward. It is time that businesses understand and work with the intrinsic beauty of this place and celebrate its invaluable spirit – one that can benefit the world.
Products Like Trees – Factory Like A Forest
If you look at Bark House products, you don’t have to guess about their connection to trees and forests. We are the first company to manufacture bark wall coverings. We chose this work, but the more time we spend doing it, we realize that it chose us too. It has been a principle of our being, that in our taking, we must give more.
The trees have talked to Marty and Chris McCurry their whole lives. Both have intimate stories of childhood relationships developed in and with nature. It is no wonder that these two individuals would join in a complete partnership to share their love informed by nature.
Marty and Chris enliven the strategy of trees and forests to a whole new level. Colleagues remark (and not always so kindly) that their devotion to nature is akin to a religious practice. The pair will confess that it is within nature that this world makes sense and the purpose for living is revealed.
From this place, both have sought to understand and fully honor the collaborative, connected, healing power of the forest. Integrating methods and frameworks inspired by nature into their business practices, they accomplish regenerative benefits for the forests and the people working and living within them. Engaging with world-wide clients, they share the benefits of this work-in-nature infused into products for the built environment. This work is graciously supported and made possible by their clients.
Life is not simple. It is a complex, ever-changing, multi-level system of engagement. To fully embrace it, we must move from the linear frameworks of mechanical, time-based thinking through an increased commitment to understand and work with place-based natural systems. Regenerative process makes this accessible, efficient and effective. It strengthens the capacity of businesses as they understand their place and their role in this engagement. It enlivens the function of trees and the forest in regenerative business practice. It does this through collaborative relationships but also through honoring the physical function of trees to improve the air, water and soil.
Bark House is working to strengthen the Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge to honor and support the essence of the Appalachian forests and the people working and living within them.
The material supply-chain of Bark House begins with Appalachian landowners. Land here is owned, beloved, and passed through generations. The southern Appalachian Mountains are one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world. Our strategy aims to respect living forests and the people working in them. Small acre harvests engaging small logging crews create fewer disturbances to the eco-system and soil which promotes quicker restoration. We participate in land-management-planning and advocate that all land-owners do so as well.
Bark House aims to do more. As a business in this community that already engages with landowners, we want to engage with agencies whose vision is to ensure that all landowners in the Appalachians have land-management plans to improve the health of local forests, the income strategies of land-owners and the prosperity of the region. We support the identification of indicators of healthy forests specific to the Southern Appalachians and the verification of management and logging impacts.
Bark House sources only RAW™ (Reclaimed Appalachian Wood Waste) from small logging crews of one to three people exclusively in the Appalachian range. In 1998, we met our Mission Goal to expand a positive economic impact to other independent business owners in our community – by training loggers in the proper procurement and handling of poplar bark for shingles. A logger can receive three times the pay of a log for a previous waste-bark product. Loggers provide materials from forty-five counties across five Appalachian states.
Bark House aims to do more. We believe that small loggers have been overlooked and neglected by regional economic growth and support services. As such, this is a disparaged population. We continue to engage with organizations and institutions whose missions are regional economic development to educate about methods to successfully support broader and better fitting opportunities for this sector. Our aim is that loggers become forest ecologists or eco-loggers, because they have the capacity to do so and such actions would improve the health of our forests and the proper appreciation of loggers. Because we have established relationships with loggers, Bark House is in a position to influence and support these initiatives.
A Circular-Manufacturing-Economy that benefits people and nature has been proven possible by Bark House, and verified by third party certifications.
Bark House serves as a model, proving that circular-manufacturing is possible, and that manufacturing can improve the environment as well as the community. Environmental inputs were third-party verified, earning the world’s first Cradle to Cradle Platinum product certification. Bark House products hold more carbon in them than all our manufacturing produces, accounting for all carbon production back to tier-one vendors. We use no water in direct manufacturing, but moreover our stream-bank restoration and clean-up initiatives improve water quality. Lighter crews in the forests disturb the soil less. Plus, Bark House products biodegrade at end of life to build clean soil. Social inputs were verified earning B Corp Best for the World Awards.
Because we aimed to honor the strategy of trees through our products and processes, we did not stop with the verification of inputs. We wanted to evaluate out outcomes in the benefits they create to our community. Sourcing is exclusive to the Appalachian Region so that we can directly observe and be held accountable for our impacts. Sixty-percent of our income is invested directly back into the local economy. We understand the history of this region and the culture that has developed in this unique place. We see the impacts of investment that stopped at gateway cities and were ill-fitted to the imperatives of how this place seeks to become. We understand the push-backs, the needs and the opportunities in light of climate-systems change. Bark House views the strength of the Appalachian region as having protected the promise of Regenerative Process in its capacity to create a Regenerative Source of natural materials and lives intimately connected with nature, reclaiming the prosperity at the heart of this region. To deepen in relationship with nature is how the region seeks to develop.
We aim to share what we have learned over a thirty-year timeframe of investment and working with this local population with those who aim to engage with regenerative design in their own manufacturing and service businesses. We aim to be a factory like a forest, not an oak tree in a barren pasture.
Client investment in places we can live together completes the circle to create a legacy with an aim to benefit all life for all time.
World-wide clients take pause when they come in contact with Bark House bark wall coverings that have been enlivened through award-winning designs for well-known tech, fashion and hospitality industries; and in personal residences. The products themselves serve as a connection point and living metaphor when applied in the built environment between the inside world and nature. Luxury clients invest in quality products, and quality isn’t achieved through throw-away products and discount processes. Our clients – leaders and in their perspective fields value and invest in a deeper quality that their clients, the structures they build, and the world benefits from.
We aim to align with projects that are engaging on the regenerative design spectrum to enliven their potential and increase beneficial impacts.
Bark House embraced the certification strategies of Cradle to Cradle and B Corp at the time of their founding. We participated in these strategies for ten-years, earning their highest levels of achievement. Company founders present at local, regional and national conferences, educating and advocating for the development of whole, regenerative practices. We benefit from our engagement and the support of many organizations and institutions. We aim to share lessons learned and advocate for the participation in the Regenerative Practitioner Series to coalesce a group working together to improve the health of Appalachian forests and the prosperity of the people working and living in them.
A Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge is the exact initiative that our state needs to be behind in the face of the dire consequences of climate-systems disruption.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute launches various challenges that encourage creators of whole-systems to succinctly communicate their potential, and I routinely take advantage of these exercises. I was finishing up my response to the most recent challenge when an email stating that government organizations scheduled to hold a listening session in Mitchell County had been diverted to Ocracoke Island in response to the devastation of hurricane Dorian. I highlighted sections that directly speak to the responsibility of manufacturing in light of the climate crisis and shared the information with local and state leaders. We all have the capacity to do something about climate change.
The essence of this idea responds to climate-system-disruption with regenerative manufacturing. It grounds the emerging field of Regenerative Development through the formation of a Regenerative Source Guild. The initiative enacts the power of a regenerative supply-chain with right-fit/right-time benefits to humans + nature.
This initiative is unconventional, creative and credible with third-party verified aspects. Through earning the world’s first and only Cradle to Cradle PLATINUM level certification, Bark House has proven that MANUFACTURING is possible in the circular economy. Because we followed wisdom found in nature, we are demonstrating that manufacturing can approach a regenerative scale. Ours has been an unconventional approach because over the last 30 years we define ROI not by the resources we amass, but in relation to every single organism that we touch – as nature does. A company of our size should not have the resources to accomplish what larger companies have found impossible through conventional methodologies – to create benefits for air, water, soil, and people. We aim to share these methods with other nature-based businesses and grow the benefits and support the reversal of climate change.
We are developing a regenerative supply chain that accounts for stakeholders at every level in the process. This includes families who own small farms and will see their land enhanced through mixed-use timbering and permaculture, 2-3 person eco-logging crews who select-cut micro parcels in a a way that respects living forests, nature-based businesses (service and product makers) who demand and invest in a regenerative supply chain and who enact regenerative manufacturing practices, supportive organizations and institutions, and it includes clients in the emerging field of regenerative development. Bark House is a nodal participant in this process, as we intimately interact with all levels identified. A loss of voice is a critical aspect, evident in every level noted and more poignant because we are in Appalachia where a pervasive (and invasive) set of challenges exists. The sub-set that is most disenfranchised and most vulnerable to the loss of voice is the loggers.
A perversion of human understanding occurred when the dominating force of human over nature became possible during the Industrial Revolution. The power of piece-milled assembly lines housed in looming factories and subsequent financial return seduced the world into a vicious economy of taking and a personalized identity of consumerism. But today, Nature stands defiant in response to perverse methodologies, and her disruptions through climate-system change are increasing. Business was the driving force for a misalignment of human interest. Business can become a force to be regenerative.
If the voice of these loggers spoke truth for all the stakeholders of the guild, we would, at last, hear the wisdom of balance found within human+nature and realize they held most tight to this promise in sacrifice and wait for our humanity to return. They (most evidently) and we also cannot physiologically or spiritually be separated from nature. We cannot harm nature without harm done to ourselves. Logging practices can be ecologically based, the strategy of trees upheld and honored through the manufacturing process and this beauty enlivened through regenerative development. This restores our essence in harmony and creates a circle of connection that our soul longs for. Economic opportunity and manufacturing is the catalyst to regeneration, not a tool of extraction.
There are many risks in a paradigm shift. One is in stakeholders abandoning the framework methodology before the potential is realized. The risk is that stakeholders many become too excited to wait to act at the appropriate time or too tethered to old patterns that they disengage. The safety net in doing this within a group is that the dynamic of group-brain actually lessens the blow as the field for the paradigm shift grows. It is critical that regenerative practitioners understand the risk and the dynamic creating it. To do so, it is helpful to view a model that informs us about this process and can be applied in micro to macro scales. Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s human development positive-disintegration model provides this insight. Dabrowski heralds the integral role of psychological discomfort in human development and theorizes about why some choose to go through it. The trailblazers of change must be equipped to transcend this state in order to realize the potential on the other side of it. Another risk is fear in the face of something so unrecognized or unknown. This is another reason that the process can seem slow to those who are excited to do something. Realizing the potential of living systems does not often occur overnight. But when stakeholders see the magnanimity of demonstrated benefits, they realize the process is worth the investment.
One beauty of a living systems model is that as new nutrients or the lack of nutrients occurs – the framework allows shifts in responses to support continued growth. At this time, an implementation strategy is in play and looks like this: Bark House created fertile soil with all stakeholder groups through years of trust-building and creating demonstrated benefits for human+nature. We aim to share these benefits on a larger scale through the formation of a Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge. Various stakeholder groups will meet individually and work together with Regenesis Group to build a supportive field for the RSGBR. Core stakeholders will emerge and continue to actively participate in the guild. Stakeholder groups include Forestry and Economic Organizations, educational institutions, small logger groups, landowners, nature-based business owners, and clients. Organizations and institutions with the mission to support forest initiatives will receive front-line data as to how to fulfill their missions. Landowners will receive multi-strategy land management plans that include perma-culture, under-canopy crops, bird sanctuaries, and micro-parcel timber plans. Small loggers will receive needed support for their craft and further training in eco-logging practices. Nature-based businesses (service providers and product makers) will commit to supporting a regenerative source and changing manufacturing strategies to themselves participate in this regenerative process. Consumers will be informed along a journey to themselves becoming regenerates. In this strategy, every voice matters.
STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Forestry and Economic Organizations; Educational Institutions
PROJECT PHASE I
Begin The Story of Place with Regenesis Group & Bark House. One in-person kick-off and final event with on-line meetings to gather the history, geography and cultural mapping data of this place. Experience working with regenerative frameworks will be gained. $
New insights and clearer understanding of Appalachia, stakeholder groups and regenerative process. This process will result in invested participants identifying a financial means to support the logger and small business phase I projects.
STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Landowners
PROJECT PHASE I
At this point, landowners and Bark House will work with the local ForestHer and SFI initiative to learn about forest management strategies and opportunities. In-kind contribution.
A database of landowners who are interested in land management strategies will be enhanced.
STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Small Logger Groups
PROJECT PHASE I
Will meet in small in-person groups with Regenesis & Bark House to identify the strengths and constraints of logging in the Blue Ridge. The Story of Place will be appreciated and enhanced with their perspectives. A regenerative framework will be introduced. $$
The feedback from this group will result in a POWER Grant request to support the identified needs of this group to grow in their capacity as eco-loggers.
STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Nature-Based Business Owners
PROJECT PHASE I
Will complete the Regenerative Practitioner Series with Regenesis Group & Bark House. One in-person kick-off and final event with on-line meetings will be enhanced with the prior work on The Story of Place. The project will evolve the potential for the Regenerative Source Guild.
Stakeholder groups will be clarified, businesses will grasp the benefits of a regenerative supply chain and manufacturing practices. $
See Project Phase II
STAKEHOLDER GROUP: Clients
PROJECT PHASE I
At this point, Bark House clients will continue to be educated about the benefits and potential of regenerative manufacturing. In-kind contribution.
Consumers will begin to redefine their investment in terms of capacity to be regenerative versus extractive. Bark House clients include Google, Nike, Louboutin – other recognized brands and company owners.
PROJECT PHASE II
Invested stakeholders from each group will continue to participate in the core operation of the Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge.
This diverse stakeholder group will work collaboratively toward the creation of new potential for this region.
Organizations and Institutions will receive clear goals in regenerative development from the stakeholder group. Landowners will receive land-management plans to supply materials. Small logging crews will grow in their capacity as eco-loggers and receive embrace in their community. Nature-based businesses will support and benefit from a regenerative supply chain and embrace regenerative manufacturing practices. Clients will have a viable and verified option in support of regenerative benefits for planet and people.
At scale, this group will benefit the local people and a global community as well as the local environment and the planet in the following ways. Materials and products will sequester and hold carbon to improve the air. Water quality will be monitored at the watershed level and see continued improvements. The soil will be enriched and natural products will become a future nutrient stream versus a source of contamination. This work will stand as a demonstration model for other systems such as education, healthcare, and government to integrate a whole, living-system process for the benefit of all life. No longer identifying themselves as consumers, individuals can embrace their generative-role in union with human+nature. Benefits will continue to grow exponentially.
To develop current and new nature-based businesses that flourish as they benefit farms, forests, and families within the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina.
Successfully operating in the Blue Ridge Mountains for 30-years, Bark House has the unique perspective of having created an entirely new type of business inspired by nature in the mountains of rural North Carolina. The work we do connects Regenerative Development to Regenerative Source. A nature-based business guild will be enhanced to respond to this question: what work honors this ecosystem (place and people in it) and how do we enact, support and grow a generative workforce around nature-based businesses? In the context of widening political divides, growing economic inequalities, and a disrupted climate system, we join many to call on every Business, Designer, Individual, and Organization to imagine places in which we can generously live together. One of these places is the Blue Ridge Region of North Carolina.
This work and the thinking behind the work cannot be done for us by any central authority. We must all become able to observe carefully and think collectively about the specific living systems in which we live and work. This will require re-patterning much of the thinking and behavior that an external-industrial-society has tried over the years to place upon us. Appalachian people are known to “go against the grain” as we do not work in assembly-line type business structures. We are naturally developed for this living-systems engagement. Rather than take a single idea and scale it, each guild participant will master the art of developing business systems that fit precisely with their contexts—as nature has. To do this requires an evolved concept of ‘value’: rather than measuring success by the level of accumulation of a single resource, we will define our value in relation to each and every living organism that we touch—as (Bark House and) nature does.
Individual voices, small and large businesses, designers from multiple disciplines, organizations, government entities, trees, rocks, rivers, and animals of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Region along with world-class Architects and world-wide students have been considered in or contributed to a peripherally formed Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge. We will explore how Bark House has benefited from this engagement and the extraordinary benefits that this company is creating for entire eco-systems. The elements of growing, sourcing, harvesting, manufacturing, and selling are interwoven into one business system that follows patterns learned in nature and are all generatively aimed. Further, we will explore the purpose and the benefits that an engaged Regenerative Source Guild creates for other businesses and communities. If not already involved, we invite you to participate. If involved, we invite you to deepen the engagement.
Bark House has been working with one of the most disenfranchised populations in the Appalachians. Farming, tourism, other nature-based sectors have gleaned public attention and support. There have been real benefits to these sectors because of that and because they are now working together. But small scale loggers (who supply raw material to Bark House and who are an important contributor to the logging industry) have not had any organizational support – they have not gleaned any benefits from public sentiment either. This group has not gone the way of big logging and they continue to create forest benefits because of this. This group cannot physiologically or spiritually separate from the land, and have been further pushed out of bounds or left behind. Through our work and furthering that work in this Guild, we aim to change that.
Nature-based business owners (such as Bark House) struggle to connect all aspects of a healthy business system in this area. Business resources are limited or ill-fitted to the nature-based-business. Building trust in the region and accessing landowners who desire to cultivate a source of products on their land is currently daunting if not impossible for most. Accessing a trained, cohesive workforce is challenging. Through our work and furthering that work in this Guild, we aim to change that.
Organizations charged with supporting economic prosperity in Appalachia often struggle to understand the culture of the local people, their priorities and methods of working together. Through our work and furthering that work in this Guild, we aim to change that.
Inspired by the patterns and systems in nature and with a desire to create whole, pure products that honor and support the development of the people and land of the Blue Ridge Region and the climate-system; thirty years have passed since the founding of Bark House. Because the founders started out young and naive, self-development was inevitable, but it is also an ongoing commitment. Thus begins their story.
Bark House is working to strengthen the Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge to honor and support the essence of the Appalachian forests and the people working within them.
Bark House supports a forest management strategy that focuses on micro-parcel tree harvests and respects the diversity of living forests. Comprised of approximately 20-acre tracts, the land is owned by individuals who care about it and their community. Nurtured for generations, these stewards want to keep the land healthy and intact for the future. Forest-management plans are implemented that support biodiversity so that select cutting is practiced. Only Bark House trains loggers across five states in the proper procurement of bark from felled trees for use in wall coverings. This strategy is designed to support loggers with deep reverence to nature to stay connected to it in their work. Two to three-person logging crews with lighter equipment are engaged and maintain better soil stabilization. Bark House monitors forest inventory growth-to-removal and watershed reports, verifying sustainability and environmental health in our region. Only Reclaimed Appalachian Wood Waste (RAW™) is purchased at Bark House.
A Circular-Manufacturing-Economy that benefits people and nature has been proven possible by Bark House, and verified by third party certifications.
It is rare to find a beautiful wall finish that is manufactured in an equally beautiful way, but such is the case with Bark House Wall Coverings. The rough texture invites you to touch the surface, and when you do – you know that you have found something that is pure, something that deserves to be honored. Recipient of the world’s first and only Cradle to Cradle PLATINUM product certification, company co-founders, Marty and Chris McCurry, designed and created products and processes that are recognized worldwide. Their work is aimed to honor the strategy of the bark material itself, every person who touches the products and the land where the material is sourced. Designer and creator of the first manufactured bark wall coverings, Marty specified every detail down to the thickness and length of the material so that the strategy of bark as a protective covering for a tree is fully realized for a building, and quality is assured. Tree growth sequesters carbon, and Bark House designed manufacturing to use less carbon than that which is held. Marty engineered one-of-a-kind kilns to efficiently circulate air-flow through the stacks of material and a moisture content monitoring protocol that assures consistency of the product. Chris added solar power to manufacturing. Both combined ensure that more carbon is held in the product than the sum of all of its manufacturing, all the way back to the first person who touched it. No water is used in direct manufacturing, conserving this most important resource. A chain of custody process verifies the source of the product and that the log has a disposition so that only Reclaimed Appalachian Wood Waste (RAW™) is purchased. This strategy yields loggers two times the pay of a log for reclaimed-waste bark and that sixty percent of Bark House income is invested directly back to the local community.
Client investment in places we can live together completes the circle to create a legacy with benefit to all life for all time.
Architectural Record Product of the Year, B Corp Best For The World Company, Buckminster Fuller Catalyst Company, Regenerative Company, and over 250 important media features- these accolades only begin to reflect the value of the wall covering products and business processes created at Bark House. This company has earned its reputation as the preferred brand for well-known tech, fashion and hospitality industries as well as and discerning homeowners. A living legacy has reached from forests to cities, from homes to commercial spaces as people are reconnecting to pure nature. You are invited to learn more about the distinctive Bark House difference, as you create your Living Legacy project – one with benefit for all life for all time, built-in.
The Regenesis Group is a world leader in providing deeply effective ecological system solutions and illuminating new understanding of how living systems can inform the mission of each client and project: linking Nature, the Community, Governance, Buildings, and Operations as an integral living system.
Regenerative Development begins with the premise that all human activities have the potential to feed new life, health and wealth into the myriad ecological and social systems that they touch. The key to doing so is to understand the unique socio-ecological context that this work aims to impact, rather than applying generic, one-size-fits-all thinking to our work. In this way, regenerative development re-centers a place’s unique ecological identity as the foundational enabler of the health and future prosperity of our human communities (Regenesis Group).
The co-founders of Bark House have participated in whole-living-systems work for over thirty years. Chris started her career as a registered nurse, practicing whole-health-community-care. Marty designed and created pure products and pure manufacturing methods. For many years, both have been tending relationships with the aim of forming a Regenerative Source Guild.
In regenerative systems work, you look for what is known as nodal participants. These participants uniquely engage at key levels, if not all levels of the work. Bark House is a nodal participant in this process, connecting landowners, loggers, businesses and organizations together in a scope of work that is unique and regenerative for our place. Chris is a graduate of Phase I of The Regenerative Practitioner Series through Regenesis. The work of Bark House has not been limited to their company alone. One example of an impossible engagement that was accomplished under her leadership is the building of the Spruce Pine Central Park and the improvements to the Main Street Organization. Already experienced in generatively working with every sector noted, and practicing whole-living-systems-process-development, Bark House is uniquely positioned to integrate all levels of this work-collective.
Bark House will benefit as a collective of businesses and organizations working together will lighten the load of single responsibility for such an enormous system that Bark House is already engaged in. Area guild participants will provide third-party verification strategies that one-size, distant certifications could not. We will be able to meet our mission goal to honor the eco-system of our place. We will be able to respond to the question of our formation: how can cutting a tree save the planet and heal people; and how can this process be carried out honorably.
The purpose of this work is the deepening and expansion of a Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge.
We aim to align three groups of stakeholders around the unique principles, relationships, and strategies capable of transforming the health of this socio-ecological system, in a way that builds community, organizational, and individual capability and inspired commitment, so that Guild Participants and the people of this place will be able to activate a way of living that can become a model throughout the region (and world) for the way humans inhabit and care for the land and each other – and prosper.
Two important stakeholder groups include organizations that will both participate in and support this process and small loggers who will both participate in and benefit from it. A third, core group of nature-based business owners will develop their nature-based businesses that flourish and expand generative workforces. All working together will benefit farms, forests, and families developing within the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina.
Blue Ridge loggers, farmers, and families know that their ecosystem is completely unique in its working and in the way it shapes the life of the human community that forms in response to it. The complex interface between these human systems and ecological systems will be accounted for, understood and navigated uniquely in this unique place. This individualizing-value-system is how the people and culture of this area seek to thrive and is the methodology that will be followed.
The benefits are: increased understanding of how rural Appalachia seeks to work – and how that system is productive, increased process and business efficiency, better front-end planning strategies so that long term results are realized and continue to evolve, lower project costs, retention and development of businesses and employees, increasing and enhancing a generative workforce, more positive community relationships, deeply meaningful and developmental organizational design, benefits to the planet with businesses engaged to reverse climate change, and, at the most fundamental level, a healing of the relationship (and interrelationships) between the human systems and the ecological systems of this place.
Bark House products are carbon sinks. Products from other regenerative nature-based businesses will be as well.
Blue Ridge loggers, farmers and families know that their ecosystem is completely unique in its working and in the way it shapes the life of the human community that forms in response to it. The complex interface between these human systems and ecological systems will be accounted for, understood and navigated uniquely in this unique place. This individualizing-value-system is how the people and culture of this area seek to thrive.
The Regenerative Practitioner series introduces the core concepts and frameworks that define the practice of regenerative development, a process and methodology for harmonizing human activities with the continuing evolution of life on our planet, even as we continue to develop our potential as humans. A core of nature-based business leaders will be coached through this series and will encourage follow-on participation, thus growing local practitioners. They will enlist a broad range of different disciplines and community sectors–public and private, nonprofit and for-profit–to come together to engage in deep and sustained co-learning around how to practice the art of regeneration in this place.
The environment will benefit as loggers, farmers and families grow in their capacity as ecologists of their place. Many Bark House products are carbon neutral as we have created a system that accounts for and minimizes all of the carbon produced in our manufacturing, starting with the first person who touches the raw material in the forest. New products developed by guild members will become a sink for embodied carbon as well. Bark House uses zero water in direct manufacturing and we do stream improvements. Guild work will focus further upstream, on area water-sheds. Bark House products biodegrade to build clean soil; and micro-parcel, select cut logging with lighter equipment protects soil so that restoration occurs quicker. Guild work will see soil quality monitored throughout the business-cycle process using an Ecological Balance Sheet.
Business leaders seeking to benefit others, sometimes called benefit corporations will benefit themselves as their work occurs collectively, in alignment to their core values and in a way that is congruous with natural-living-systems process. These practitioners will create a generative source of raw materials and a work-force to serve the growing field of regenerative development.
Colleges and Universities will benefit as programs are expanded to teach students a new set of best-land-management practices and students are engaged in place-based internships.
Just as we can take the approach of developing the health and well-being of our businesses and employees, we also can participate in a developmental relationship with the living systems of our community and its unique environment.
The information that is gleaned from the process will offer all stakeholders invaluable insights into how their community works, how to serve it better and how to position their business within the whole system to create shared mutual benefits.
Organizations with a mission to develop the Blue Ridge Region will be supportive of these activities. Some will choose to participate in the Regenesis process of Story Of Place. Meetings will occur once weekly via on-line meetings with one final project and in-person meeting.
May occur simultaneously or at a later date.
Small 2-3 person loggers, who are uniquely positioned to connect business leaders to land-owners will be supported in developing as forest ecologists, gaining important ecological and business skills, and long-overdue support. Regenesis Group will coach loggers on an independent and collective basis in tandem with Bark House. These meetings will occur in person.
A max of 25 participants is allowed.
With a desire to join the guild, and having at least two years in operation, a core group of nature-based business owners (service providers and product makers) will engage with Regenesis Group on the development of this guild through a Regenerative Practitioner Series. These business leaders will develop all aspects of a supply chain as they work in support of farmers who want to manage their land regeneratively, loggers who want to work generatively in forests, and families who want to develop within this ecosystem.
These activities will culminate in a work-plan and potential grant request.
"Quality is not a goal here… It’s a way of life."