At the One Nature plant nursery, they can trace the genetic lineage of their native and edible plant species down to the watershed, allowing them to protect and promote hyper-local varieties of plants while preserving biodiversity. All the plants are grown at Windfall Farms, using beyond-organic practices—no herbicides or pesticides here.
|Bryan Quinn, photo courtesy of One Nature.|
One Nature is a vertically integrated business that focuses on regenerating ecological function. Founder Bryan Quinn elucidates, “Vertically integrated means we build it, we grow it, we design it, we do every level of the process.” Aside from their plant nursery, One Nature offers regenerative land design and installation, scientific consulting, and landscape construction services. Their clients vary widely from municipalities and governments, to nonprofits and private entities, to other specialists in the ecological field. They are for profit, but B-Corp certified, which means they’ve undergone a rigorous application and rating process to verify their triple-bottom-line practices.
As a college student, Bryan finished the courses for his philosophy major in just two years and found himself struggling with the applicability of his chosen area of study. “It was a lot of dead German people,” he says with a chuckle. So he got into land ethics and ecology, studying at field stations all over North America and hoping to find a more action-oriented path. The Peace Corps was an obvious choice for doing-centered work, so off he went to Malawi for two years to work with smallholder farmers on co-managed farmland and forests.
Upon his return to the US, Bryan earned a Masters in Landscape Design from RISD, going on to work for New York City as a park designer and planner and later for an international ecological consultancy. “I was wearing a suit every day and getting too far away from design and ecology. So I put the brakes on.”
“I was searching for my dream job and really trying to have the type of impact I wanted to have. And some place where I could have more artistry.” Bryan has built up a true blue (true green?) regenerative ecology business that creates more than pretty landscapes. “I try to vet out any [clients] but environmentalists. Leading, cutting edge environmentalists at heart…I don’t want to spend my time disagreeing with a client over something that is critical to the company mission.”
One Nature was behind the Main Street Pop Up Park in Beacon. This thriving little park/community garden was converted from an empty corner lot on Main Street, with the help of young Green Team volunteers, using municipal compost and woodchips, and maintained using no pesticides or herbicides. One Nature is also doing restorative work in Newburgh on the Urban Green park with Safe Harbors of the Hudson as well. Steph Woman, One Nature Studio Manager, summarizes their work, “We convert underutilized or depleted pieces of land to vibrant, environmentally and socially positive places.”
This environmental and social positivism permeates all aspects of One Nature. They strive to use a bioregional palette of materials for construction—plants, pavement, wood that you would find here in a healthy local bioregion. Bryan says, “On the labor side, we pay a living wage to everyone that works for the company. I generally try to keep a very flexible schedule for employees with sick time or vacation time and try to make a happy place to work…And the vision is to, over time, take a step back and transition to an employee-owned company.”