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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Instructors

We live it. We do it. We teach it.

 

Diana Leafe Christian
Economics, Community, Governance, Group Dynamics

Diana Leafe Christian is the author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, a book about forming successful communities and ecovillages, and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. Former editor of Communities magazine in the US for 14 years, she now publishes Ecovillages, a free online newsletter. She is an Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) trainer with the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and Gaia Education, and she has contributed chapters to two Gaia Education books: Beyond You and Me: Inspirations and Wisdom for Building Community, and Gaian Economics: Living Well Within Planetary Limits. Diana speaks at conferences, consults, and leads workshops internationally on starting successful new ecovillages, as well as on sociocracy, a self-governance and decision-making method. She lives off-grid at Earthaven Ecovillage. More information is available at her website.


Zev Friedman
Permaculture, Regenerative Systems, Food as Medicine, Water Systems, Food Forestry, Natural Patterns, Earthskills, Plant Uses

Zev Friedman is a leading permaculture designer, researcher, teacher, and writer in Western North Carolina. He grew up in a patch of kudzu in Sylva, NC, and received his B.S. in Human Ecology from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Zev specializes in hands-on, in-depth education in permaculture and earthskills and has been doing residential and community-based professional design and installation throughout Western North Carolina. Almost a decade of study with world-renowned teacher Martin Prechtel helped feed his passion for regrowing our own diverse indigenous lifeways through youth initiation and ritual.


Mollie Curry
Natural Building

Mollie got involved with natural building when she moved to Earthaven Ecovillage in 1996. She has taught natural building workshops, often at Earthaven and in the Western North Carolina area, since 1998. She has taught cob, plastering, straw bale, straw-clay, earthen paint, earthbag, and carpentry skills, as well as permaculture. Cob, plasters, and earthen paints (alis) are her favorite things!

In the early-mid 90s, Mollie worked as a wilderness ranger for the Forest Service doing backpacking and trail maintenance. She has written several articles for various publications (including Permaculture Activist and Communities Magazine) on natural building, permaculture, and other practical, spiritual, and emotional topics, including beauty.

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Chris Farmer
Economics, Community, Renewable Energy, Regenerative Systems

When Chris Farmer was 20 years old, he realized that he had never eaten a single thing that he knew where it came from. At 22, he helped start an organic vegetable farm outside of Olympia, WA. Journeying home to the Carolinas to be closer to family, he moved to Earthaven Ecovillage. Since his arrival to Earthaven in 1997, Chris has cleared his own farm field, designed and built passive solar homes using the wood from trees he has killed (including his own Microhut), held leadership positions, raised turkeys, grown vegetables, co-founded the Forestry Cooperative, designed and installed multiple off-grid energy systems, and a few other things. His newest excitement is dabbling in small-scale biochar production and wood gasification at Gateway Farm. Regardless of how Chris is spending his days, he's often wondering what it's going to take to get us through these upcoming troubled times.


Patricia Allison
Permaculture, Natural Patterns, Earthskills, Plant Uses, Gardening

Patricia Allison, 30-year gardener and 20-year permaculture teacher, has been a member of Earthaven Ecovillage since 1996, when she co-founded the Medicine Wheel Collective neighborhood. After many years of teaching permaculture and consensus decision-making throughout the country, she prefers to stay home and teach from her garden.


Lee Warren
Homesteading, Nourishing Foods, Economics, Community, Regenerative Systems

Lee Warren is a homesteader, herbalist, writer, food activist, and the co-founder of Imani Farm, a pasture-based cooperative farm focused on small-scale organic dairy and egg production. She is also a co-founder of Village Terraces CoHousing Neighborhood, a permaculture neighborhood “pod” within Earthaven Ecovillage. Lee has lived, loved, and worked in cooperatives since 1997 and has facilitated work-trade, internships, and apprentice programs for over ten years. Equally passionate about women’s empowerment, nourishing foods, and self-reliant healthcare, she is the Program Director for the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference. For more information and to see her articles, newsletters, and blogs, visit her website.


Dimitri Magiasis
Permaculture, Nature Awareness, Natural Building, Food Forestry, Earthskills, Plant Uses, Food as Medicine, Village Building, Gardening

Dimitri—naturalist, natural builder, and naturopathic doctor—teaches that wellness comes from cultivating a deep connection to the natural world. His natural path began over 16 years ago, when he followed his passion to devote himself to using the gifts that our Earth provides for food and medicine. In 2007, he graduated from Bastyr University with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Since then, he has realized that having a deep connection to the natural world requires living so that the functions of everyday life are woven intimately into the land. Building with mud evolved out of Dimitri’s love to get his hands in the earth as an apprentice with Betty Seaman and Tautacho Muhuawit at Spirit Pine Sanctuary. He currently teaches and guides for No Taste Like Home, an organization committed to connecting with wild plants and mushrooms as friends that taste good. His other passions are nature awareness, foraging for food and medicine, gardening, and supporting the bonds that engender a tightly knit community.


Courtney Brooke Allen
Permaculture

Courtney Brooke is a coordinator and educator with Earthcare Education Aotearoa in New Zealand, where she co-organizes, coordinates, and tutors for Permaculture Design Courses and other land-based educational endeavors. She holds a B.S. in Ecology and Anthropology of Human Food Systems from the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia

She has studied with teachers and mentors such as David Holmgren, Robina McCurdy, Dan Palmer, Patricia Allison, Zev Friedman, Robin Clayfield, Annaliese Hordern, and Ross Mars. Courtney has been an experiential educator for seven years, teaching dynamic, nature-based curricula to youth of all ages, young adults, and adults. Although she has taught at a range of venues, including nature centers, elementary schools, adventure camps, and right off the land, her current focus in education is Permaculture and Regenerative System Design. At the moment, she is in pursuit of her Professional Diploma in Permaculture Education with Permaculture Institute North America (PINA).

Courtney Brooke is best known by her passion for dynamic group facilitation and for studying the language of eco-literacy to decipher the dynamic book of natural patterns, which inform system design, development, and maintenance. She currently lives part-time in Takaka, on the top of South Island, New Zealand, and part-time in her home, the Southeastern Appalachian mountains.


Steve Torma
Non-Violent Communication, Evolutionary Psychology, Conflict Resolution, Community

For nearly 30 years, Steve Torma has gently guided our culture toward cooperation and regeneration. He has been President of Earthaven Ecovillage, where he lives his passion for community and sustainability. He is the co-founder of the The Real Center, and part of the core faculty for The Asheville Tantra School. Steve is trained in nonviolent communication, radical honesty, body electric, restorative circles, permaculture, and creation spirituality. Through his compassionate presence and guidance, Steve has helped hundreds to find healing, direction, and meaning in their lives.


NikiAnne Feinberg
Nature Awareness, Leadership, Community, Village Building

NikiAnne Feinberg has over a decade of experience with experiential, nature-based program development in both the nonprofit and academic sectors. She is the co-founder of the School Gardens Program in Santa Barbara, CA, which has been instrumental in implementing food production systems in over 30 public schools, serves on the advisory board of Quail Springs True Nature Society, and holds a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University. Traveling throughout much of Asia, the Americas, and Europe helped ground NikiAnne’s formal education with “real-world” connections and has shaped her cooperative cultural values and commitment to responsible global citizenship. SOIL is the manifestation and culmination of her life experiences in sustainable living, experiential-education leadership, and program management.


Andy Bosley
Food Production, Food Preservation, Water systems, Appropriate Technology, Farming, Homesteading

Andy Bosley wants his work to make a difference in the world. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a BS in Environmental Science in 2001, he worked on a family-owned organic CSA farm in rural Vermont and has been food growing ever since. In 2005, Andy co-founded Yellowroot Farm at Earthaven Ecovillage. Starting with a vegetable CSA on a half acre, Yellowroot has grown to over three acres and now produces pork, poultry, and vegetables for the Earthaven community and beyond. His specific food and farming expertise includes increasing soil fertility using cover crops, rotating animals on pasture, biodynamics, fermentation (intentional or otherwise), smoked and cured meats (mmmm...bacon), and wild mushrooms.


Cortina Jenelle Caldwell
Facilitating for Change, Authentic Leadership, Community, Life Design

Cortina Jenelle Caldwell is a queer two-spirit of Southern, West African, and Iberian descent. Originally born/raised in rural Morganton, NC, she is rooted back in the Appalachians where she calls Earthaven Ecovillage—an intentional community—home. Cortina is an authentic leader, social communication architect, equality peace-builder, and popular facilitator for personal, organizational, and community transformation. Cortina holds a Masters Degree of Arts in Management & Leadership, is a graduate of the Mycelium School Winter Learning Journey, and is a Certified Facilitator through PYE Global. In the recent past, Cortina has been recognized as a WNC Minority Enterprise Development Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year (2012) part of 40 Under Forty: Asheville (2013); and an inductee to Leadership Asheville (2014). Her work in education, hospitality, nonprofit management, community building and engagement, leadership, entrepreneurial development, communications, and branding creates a dynamic container for the cross-pollination of leadership, facilitation, and experiential learning for any client or student.


Chuck Marsh
Edible Landscaping, Plants, Permaculture

Holding a B.S. in Biology, Chuck Marsh is a pioneer in ecological landscape design and founder of Useful Plants Nursery, an edible landscape plant nursery located at Earthaven Ecovillage. Chuck has over 35 years of experience working with the plants, soil, water, and climate of North Carolina to design and install place appropriate, productive, and sustainable home and commercial landscapes. His current focus is on teaching people about edible landscaping, biological economics, and permaculture design, which he does locally, nationally, and internationally. Chuck has taught for the Organic Grower’s School since 1994, served on the board of the NC Natural Products Association since 2009, and was awarded the International Permaculture Community Service Award.


Shawn Swartz
Sustainable Forestry

In 1998, Shawn left a position as a field technician for an ecological restoration firm to join Earthaven Ecovillage, where he helped form a cooperatively owned business that conducted small-scale forestry operations and constructed naturally built homes. In 2007, he became the Forest Manager of Warren Wilson College to share his knowledge of forestry and small-scale forest operations with the students of the Forestry Crew. In addition to supervising the Forestry Crew, Shawn advises the Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and coaches the Warren Wilson Timbersports Team.

Shawn believes that forests are well-cared for when humans feel dependent on them for their well-being. Forests are protected when people understand the ecosystem services, such as clean air and water, that they provide; when they are managed for products such as food, fiber, and medicine; and when they are used for recreation and reflection. For this to occur, the economies of human cultures must be oriented so that people can to derive benefits from properly managing forest lands.

Check out Helpers Mentoring Society

Salvatore Gencarelle, a friend and colleague of SOIL, recently launched an educational organization called Helpers Mentoring Society. His courses focus on cultural ceremony and draw from nearly two decades of immersion in the wisdom of indigenous cultures across the globe.

Learn More