Earthaven Experience Week
at Earthaven Ecovillage
| near Asheville, North Carolina
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About the Experience
SOIL's Earthaven Experience Week is a residential service-learning program that immerses participants in the life of Earthaven Ecovillage. Students join the 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, neighborhoods, and homesteads in Earthaven Ecovillage and its surrounding community. This ecovillage and farming community provides 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 a personal level.
The Earthaven Experience Week curriculum examines social, ecological, economic, and eco-spiritual sustainability. Through hands-on experience, SOIL instructors build important skills, foster awareness for global issues, empower the self, increase connection, and develop the resources required for daily life.
Resilient Community and Regenerative Culture
- Discuss the three-legged stool of sustainability—the social, environmental, and economic factors necessary for sustainable projects to succeed
- Learn about successful ecovillages and land-based endeavors (both rural and urban)
- Explore your vision in a supportive environment with guidance for your next steps
- Learn how to understand your needs and get them met
- Enjoy community potlucks and dine intimately with community members
- Participate in yoga, meditation, hikes, and Earthaven's summer solstice celebration
Organic Food Production and Natural Buildings
- Tour green homes with innovative 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 the community farmers market
- Eat and cook nourishing, local, sustainably grown, organic food
Renewable Energy and Off-Grid Utilities
- Learn about electricity and a community's electrical needs
- Tour off-grid renewable systems in practice (photovoltaic, micro-hydro, radiant-floor heating, hot water diversions, wood-fired boiler)
- Discuss the issues surrounding both grid-tied and off-grid renewable energy systems
- Make biochar, a charcoal fertilizer with energy-positive production
- Explore the development of energy alternatives to meet 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 the modern world
- Absorb 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
- Practice self-care
- Enjoy hikes, swimming, and nature connection
- Step out of your comfort zone
SOIL views education as primarily a social learning activity. The ideal learning environment includes both formal and informal instruction, work and practice, study and absorption. Through immersion in an active, living culture of sustainability solutions, critical thinking, and systems orientation, students receive an integrated, holistic education.
This week-long educational experience consists of approximately 40 hours of structured learning. SOIL combines experiential and traditional approaches, including 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 camp in the forested Earthaven campground. Most campground sites are designed for two-person tents; some can accommodate larger tents. Several RV spots (no hookups) are also available. The campground offers drinking water, a tarp-covered kitchen with propane burners for cooking and heating water, and an outhouse with a composting toilet and hand wash station. A flush toilet is available in the Council Hall nearby. (Other private or dormitory housing may be available; contact SOIL for further details.)
Earthaven Ecovillage is off-grid and therefore not supplied by public utilities. However, electricity is available from solar panels and two small hydropower stations. There is minimal internet access and no cell phone reception, although landline phones are available for short phone calls or emergencies. Living at Earthaven offers a balance between comfort and adventure.
Meals & Nourishment
Meals 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 result in fabulous meals, create rewarding communal experiences, and empower participants to enhance the art and skill of meal preparation.
As much food as possible is sourced from Earthaven and its surrounding organic farms and gardens, with some ingredients sourced from local grocery stores. We aim for food that is seasonal, local, fresh, wildcrafted, humanely raised, and organic. Grains, beans, and nuts are often pre-soaked; vegetables are served raw, fermented, and cooked; soup stocks are made from the bones of our livestock; fats are high-quality animal fats (butter, lard, and tallow), coconut oil, and olive oil (with no trans fats, synthetic oils, or processed vegetable oils); and sweeteners (raw sugar, molasses, honey, and maple syrup) are used minimally.
The production and preparation of delicious, organic, locally sourced food is a cornerstone of the course. It is not uncommon for 75% of the food at an Experience Week meal to be grown on-site or by Earthaven neighbors.
This program is primarily designed for adults. However, mature young adults under 18 years old are also welcome. Please contact SOIL to discuss the enrollment of passionate individuals under 18. Arrangements are also available for families with young children.
Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Program cost is $725. This cost includes food for the entire program, camping, instruction, and all materials. Indoor lodging is available for an additional cost; please contact us for more information. Transportation is not included.
How to secure your space
Registration for the upcoming Earthaven Experience Week is not yet open. To stay informed about the course, as well as other SOIL offerings, sign up for the SOIL newsletter.
If you cancel, you may transfer your place in the program to someone of your choosing (who will need to register online), or you can donate your place to someone who would not otherwise have been able to participate.
- 100% refund before April 1 (minus nonrefundable $75 admin fee)
- 50% refund before May 1
- No refund on or after May 1
If SOIL cancels this course for any reason, 100% of your tuition will be refunded.
Contact Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org with registration questions.