Regenerative Business Practices at Lillie House

“Earth Repair:” that’s our principle goal at Lillie House.

It’s not just what we do, but the way we do it that really makes the difference.

Most people agree that our food system, our housing and our landscaping are three of the most destructive human activities. But it’s the very way we do business that enables our worst, most destructive tendencies.

So we’ve positioned Lillie House to completely re-create all of these broken systems and transform the way we do business.

We’re not a “sustainable business,” whatever that means. We’re not just trying to “become more sustainable.” It’s not enough to “slow down” climate change, soil loss and mass extictions. We don’t want to simply “reduce” the harm our business does to people, or congratuate ourselves for being “neutral.”  We’re working for a whole new paradigm: Right Livelihood that actively heals our human and natural communities. Work that makes us, our customers and our ecosystems healthier, wealthier and wiser each day. And it’s something we put a lot of time and thought into.

That’s the philosophy behind the Community Supported Permaculture programs. We don’t just want to sell products – even good ones. We want to create opportunities for our customers to invest meaningfully in themselves, their futures, their health and the health of their own communities and ecologies. Meanwhile, they’re investing in the work we do.

That work starts with 3 ethics:

Care for the earth

Care for people

Fair Share: Set limits and redistribute the surplus. 

But we go beyond ethics and feel-good langauge to enact tangible regenerative business practices:

1. Limit paid work hours to 32 hrs/week, then invest at least 7 hours a week in community, volunteerism and pro-bono work, understanding that we profit by investing in a better community for us to live in. We’ve contributed our surplus time and expertise to a variety of causes, including pro-bono design and project consultation services, community gardens and food forests, organizing workshops, films, discussion groups and events, supporting domestic violence work, environmental advocacy, public radio, fair food, Transition and Permaculture organizations.

2. Re-invest at least 10% profits in assets that are durable, and regenerative – assets that benefit the ecosystem and community. This includes trees and productive systems, regenerative housing and other regenerative businesses. As we grow, we pledge to be transparent abou tour business, “set limits” to our income and reinvest our surplus in such regeneartive assets.

3. Our business needs to be regenerative NOW, instead of working towards becoming sustainable in the future. We only offer products and services with a net positive impact.

4. We’re adopting a realistic plan and timeline for a net-positive impact on energy, soil and water, too. We publish about our process and goals on the Lillie House blog.

5. We pledge to accept a reasonable portion of in-kind trade, exchange or work as payment for our products and services to promote community resilience through informal economies. We want all our customers to be wealthier and financially healthier for being our customers.

6. Pledge to patronize, support and invest in other businesses that adopt similarly regenerative business practices

If you would like to support our work, check out our services at Lillie House.