The seed from which we sprouted…
Ben Polley started Harvest Homes back in 2000 by after having apprenticed in straw bale building techniques with industry pioneers Chris Magwood, Pete Mack and Tina Therrien. From humble beginnings as a straw bale wall system and natural plaster contractor, Ben’s company has grown over the years and become a group of environmentally friendly construction companies collectively known as Evolve Builders Group.
As the businesses grew and developed, Harvest Homes – now a just a division of Evolve Builders Group – has remained a grass-roots straw bale wall system and plaster contractor servicing owner-builders as well as Evolve’s turn-key clients throughout Cottage Country and Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Today one of the seasoned veterans of the Ontario straw bale building industry, Harvest Homes has built or contributed to more than 60 straw bale structures of all shapes and sizes. Along the way we have gathered one of the most gifted and experienced alternative building crews in Canada.
Our core team includes:
Ben Polley: Award winning business manager and founder of Harvest Homes. With over 16 years of estimating experience – including 12 in alternative construction – Ben is also our cost-benefit guru. He participates in the design and estimating phase of new straw bale projects in order to identify savings opportunities and deliver the best value on every project. More valuable today in the office than in the field, Ben prides himself on having physically performed virtually every task of which the company is capable and still tries to sneak in a trip here and there to keep his skills fresh. A popular speaker at colleges, universities and industry events, and regular feature in green building media, Ben will often be your first point of contact when discussing your future plans.
Dan Indoe: Our lead hand for straw work and plaster prep. With construction experience spanning from the ordinary to exquisite timber frames and having once owned his own design business, Dan Indoe decided later in his career to devote himself to finer things and returned to school. Graduating at the top of his class in Interior Design, Dan now manages the straw bale infill on most Harvest Homes projects. His acquired eye for detail is put to perfect use for artistic flourishes including reliefs, niches, curves and benches, all formed of straw. Dan also oversees bale raisings for home-owner builds, performs site consultations for key straw and plaster preparation details and generally lives and breathes straw.
Trever Miller: Our plaster lead hand. Responsible for ensuring quality plaster finishes over straw, Durisol Block, light-clay straw and many other earth-friendly substrates, Trever came to Harvest Homes via a rambling rout from Calgary, Alberta by way of Buenos Aires, making stops along the way to continue to build his natural construction and plastering repertoire (not to mention his language skills)! A journeyman plasterer with numerous ecological homes under his belt, Trever enjoys applying old world plastering techniques to modern alternative building projects.
Dave Hope can heave and haul bales like nobody’s business. Dave is a graduate of Sir Sanford Fleming College’s intensive Sustainable Design & Construction course and is our other go-to guy for straw infill. With his keen observational and error avoidance skills that are essential to smoothly operating projects, he is in demand for all elements related to the straw itself. With an additional interest in framing, Dave is routinely called upon to prepare the structure for the rest of the straw team by completing curbs, window bucks and top plates in advance of the bales arriving on site. Additionally, Dave is honing his skills as one of the finish trowelers on our tightly integrated plastering team after having apprenticed as the mix specialist in years past.