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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Earthaven Experience Week

May 22-28, 2017

at Earthaven Ecovillage


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About the Experience

School of Integrated Living's Earthaven Experience Week is a residential service-learning program in which participants are immersed into the village, homes, lives, businesses, and farms of the Taylor Creek Watershed  community for a hands-on, skill-building, life-changing experience.


SOIL's Earthaven Experience Week takes place at the farms, neighborhood, and homesteads within and near Earthaven Ecovillage. This village and farming community is the ideal living laboratory for a whole-life skills curriculum--a place to see regenerative systems in practice, food production in action, and community living on an up-close and personal level.


The Earthaven Experience Week curriculum is based on social, ecological, economic and eco-spiritual sustainability, and approaches these issues through a variety of topics that are aimed at building important skills, fostering awareness for global issues, empowering the self, increasing connection, and providing hands-on experience contributing to the resources required for daily life.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of what you’ll experience and explore in this program:

Resilient Community and Regenerative Culture

  • Discuss the Three-Legged Stool of Sustainability- the social, environmental and economic factors necessary for sustainable and alternative projects to succeed and see their application in a land-based community
  • Learn about  successful ecovillages and land-based endeavors worldwide (including rural and urban)
  • Explore your vision in a supportive environment with guidance on what your next steps are to working towards it
  • Learn how to understand your needs and get them met
  • Enjoy community potlucks & dine intimately with community members
  • Optional participation in yoga, meditation, hikes and community game nights

Organic Food Production and Natural Buildings

  • Tour green homes with state-of-the-art off-grid utilities (Tiny houses, stud-frame, cob, straw-bale, earthship, passive solar)
  • Tour small-scale farms and home gardens (permaculture gardens, integrated farms, compost)
  • Participate in service-learning projects and farm harvest parties
  • Attend Community Farmer’s Market
  • Eat and cook nourishing, local, sustainably grown, organic food

Renewable Energy & Off-Grid Utilities

  • Learn about electricity and how we depend on it
  • Tour off-grid renewable systems in practice. (photovoltaic, micro-hydro, radiant-floor heating, hot water diversions, wood-fired boiler)
  • Learn about issues surrounding both grid-tie and off-grid renewable energy systems
  • Make biochar - use charcoal as fertilizer, which liberates large amounts of energy in production
  • Explore development of energy alternatives to the world’s impending energy crisis

Right-livelihood, Cottage Industries and Honest Economics

  • Learn about cottage industries and right livelihood
  • Discuss how people at Earthaven support themselves
  • Talk about local, small-scale economics in our modern world
  • Hear about the lessons learned from small-business owners and honest economics

Personal Growth and Empowerment

  • Learn how to be more connected to yourself, others, and nature… where you are.
  • Practice self-care
  • Time for hikes, swimming and nature connection
  • Opportunities to step out of your comfort zone

Learning Environment

Medicine Wheel MulchingService-learning programs are increasingly popular and have become a hugely successful complement to traditional academic learning environments. Hands-on learning allows participants to create an authentic connection with their world and embody life lessons more fully while enhancing critical thinking and teamwork skills.

We view education as primarily a social learning activity. The ideal learning environment includes both formal and informal, work and practice, study and absorption. The process of experiencing an active, living culture of sustainability solutions, critical thinking, and  systems orientation makes for not only an integrated, holistic approach to education but a rare opportunity to see experiments in action.

This week-long educational experience consists of approximately 40 hours of structured learning. Our approach is both experiential and traditional, using expert lecturers, fireside conversations, hands-on projects, journaling, independent observation, regenerative systems tours and team building to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

 Accommodations and Amenities 

Participants will be provided a campsite in the lovely and forested Earthaven campground. Most campground sites are designed for 2-person tents, some can accommodate larger tents. There are a few RV spots available as well (no hook ups).  The campground provides clean, certified drinking water, a covered kitchen with propane burners for cooking and heating water, and an outhouse with composting toilet and hand wash station. A flush toilet is available in the Council Hall nearby. (Other private or dormitory housing may be available for SOIL participants. Inquiries welcome.)

Earthaven Ecovillage is off-the-grid, meaning it is not tied into public electricity or water systems but derives its electricity from solar panels and a small hydropower station and water from on-land springs and wells. There is minimal internet access,so please don't anticipate using it much as we only have 1 week together and we want to you drop into the experience as much as possible. There is no cell phone reception within Earthaven, although phone access is available for short or emergency phone calls. All in all, some amenities may feel like a 5 star hotel and some may feel like primitive- depends on you. We aim for a balance between comfort and adventure.

Meals & Nourishment

kitchenMeals for the Earthaven Experience Week will be prepared either on site by participants and staff, catered by a skilled cook, or hosted in the home of a community member. Meal rotation chores, meal preparation support, and classes on nourishing foods all serve the successful creation of fabulous meals, set the stage for connecting communal experiences which are often the highlight of living communally, and best of all empower participants to enhance the art and skill of meal preparation.

Food, as much as possible, is sourced from the our community's farms, gardens, and nearby growers. As not all ingredients are able to be sourced locally, some of the program food will come from local grocery stores. We aim for the highest quality food, which means seasonal, local, fresh, wildcrafted, humanely raised, and organic.

Meal planning is based on an omnivorous diet with the strong guiding principles of simple, unprocessed, home-grown, and nourishing. Grains, beans, and nuts are often soaked, vegetables properly prepared and served raw, fermented, and cooked, soup stocks are made from the bones of our livestock, fats are high quality animal fats (butter, lard, tallow), coconut oil and olive oil (no trans fats, synthetic oils, or processed vegetable oils) and sweeteners minimally used and carefully chosen (raw sugar, molasses, honey and maple syrup).

We take haute cuisine to a new level, as food is a cornerstone of the Experience. It is not uncommon for us to sit down to a meal where 75% of the food on our plates is food we have touched personally or our friends have grown. The feeling of wealth and interconnectedness this experience engenders is indescribably satisfying.

The Group

This program is primarily designed for adults, however, we welcome mature young adults under 18 years old as well. Please call our office to discuss enrollment of passionate individuals under 18.  If you would like to come with your family, there are creative ways to make that possible. Please call the SOIL office to discuss further.


There is so much to learn from our dynamic and world-renowned team of instructors.

Core Teaching Team Includes: Diana Leafe Christian, Chris Farmer, Zev Friedman, Lee Walker Warren, and NikiAnne Feinberg.

Click here to learn more about the SOIL staff and instructors.


Participants are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Register by April 1st, 2017 and save $75.

Cost is $725 ($650 until April 1st). It includes three delicious, hearty meals per day, camping, instruction, and all materials. Indoor lodging is available for additional cost, please contact us for more information. Transportation is not included.


How to secure your space:

Fill out registration form:


Make your payment. Methods include:

1. Send check or money order payable to:

School of Integrated Living

11 Full Circle Trail

Black Mountain, NC 28711

2. Click the button below to make your payment with a credit card or PayPal account. (If the button is not working you can send your payment to info@schoolofintegratedliving.org via Paypal.)

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