Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Week

Live, Work, and Learn at Earthaven

July 31 – August 6, 2022

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Week is a residential service-learning program that immerses participants in the life of Earthaven Ecovillage.

Our ecovillage 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. Participants connect with the people, businesses, and farms of the Taylor Creek Watershed community for a hands-on, skill-building, life-changing experience.

The Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Week curriculum encourages participants to examine sustainability through social, ecological, economic, and eco-spiritual lenses. The learning journey weaves large-group discussions and classes together with intimate hands-on experiences in the village and farms alongside community members. SOIL instructors, together with the community at large, support participants to build important skills, foster awareness for global issues, empower the self, increase connection, and develop the resources required for daily life.

Registration opens January 2022

Experiencing day lilies at Earthaven Experience Week
Alternative energy expert Chris Farmer leading a biochar workshop at Earthaven Ecovillage

Curriculum

Classes, discussions and activities will explore the following:

Organic Food Production and Natural Buildings

  • Green homes (tiny houses, stud-frame, cob, straw-bale, earthship)

  • Small-scale farms and home gardens (permaculture gardens, integrated farms, compost)

  • Service-learning projects and farm harvest work parties

  • Nourishing, local, sustainably-grown, organic, and wild food

Renewable Energy and Off-Grid Utilities

  •  Off-grid renewable systems in practice (photovoltaic, micro-hydro, radiant-floor heating, hot water diversions, wood-fired boiler)

  • Biochar, a charcoal fertilizer with energy-positive production

  • Development of energy alternatives to meet the world’s impending energy crisis

Passing a bucket during a group project at Earthaven Experience Week

Resilient Community and Regenerative Culture

  •  Earthaven and other successful ecovillages and land-based endeavors (both rural and urban)

  • The three-legged stool of sustainability—the social, environmental, and economic factors necessary for sustainable projects to succeed

  • Earthaven legal structure and governance 101

Personal Growth and Empowerments

  • Personal goals and resources through Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects

  • Connection to yourself, others, and the natural world

  • Designing an authentic, meaningful, and responsible life in the modern world

  • Earth-based spirituality at the Summer Solstice celebration

In addition to classes, discussions, and activities, you’ll enjoy meals and rituals with community members as well as the option to participate in yoga, meditation, and hiking.

Harvesting garlic at Earthaven Experience Week
Tying bundles of garlic at Earthaven Experience Week
Woman with garlic bundle at Earthaven Experience week
Farmer Joseph carrying bundles of garlic at Earthaven Experience week
Hanging garlic at Earthaven Experience Week

2021 Program (for example)

This week-long program consists of expert lectures, fireside conversations, community celebrations, hands-on projects, journaling, tours, and interactive activities to provide an intimate, well-rounded, and powerful learning experience.

Friday
1:00–3:00 Arrival, Camp Setup
3:00–4:00 Welcome and Orientation
4:00–6:30 Tour of Earthaven
6:30–7:30 Dinner
7:30–9:00 Opening Circle

Saturday through Wednesday
7:30–8:30 Breakfast
9:00–12:30 AM Session
12:30–2:00 Lunch and Independent Time
2:00–5:30 PM Session
5:30–6:30 Independent Time
6:30–7:30 Dinner
7:30–9:30 Evening Activities

Thursday
7:30–8:30 Breakfast
9:00–12:30 Final Session and Closing Circle
12:30–1:00 Lunch and Departure

The Group

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.

We welcome families with children to attend and will do our best to support you and your children, however we are not able to offer childcare. As much of the content involves focused, sit-down presentations, attending with a young child will likely mean being less able to participate fully in the course.

Sliding Scale Tuition

Because some people have more financial means than others, we have created a sliding scale fee system to accommodate a range of economic realities. The high-end of the scale reflects the value we believe the program holds, and the low-end offers a more accessible entry point.

By choosing a higher price point, you are helping make the program more accessible to others for whom the low-end may be cost-prohibitive. Please consider your needs and resources to determine what might be a stretch, but not a strain.

Cost

General
Tuition Sliding Scale: $650-750

What’s Included

Tuition includes 7 nights camping, meals, instruction, and all materials. Shared and private indoor lodging as well as transportation are available for an additional cost.

Scholarships
We offer partial scholarships (50% of the bottom of the sliding scale) to black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) with financial needs who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend. We understand that BIPOC experience more financial and institutional barriers to participation, and this is one way we are able to create more access. If you identify as BIPOC with financial needs and would like to receive a scholarship, please contact us.

Logistics

Lodging

Several accommodation options are available at Earthaven Ecovillage and in the surrounding area.

Camping
Included in tuition

Shared Indoor Lodging
Cost per person: 6 nights $60, 7 nights $70

Private Indoor Lodging
Cost for 1 person: 6 nights $105, 7 nights $115
Cost for 2 people (shared bed): 6 nights $200, 7 nights $215

Off-Site Options
Various options in Bat Cave, Black Mountain, and Asheville.

Read More About Accommodations

COVID Plans

In response to the global COVID pandemic, we’re creatively adapting and continuing to grow our skills together. SOIL’s in-person classes take place safely outdoors, with appropriate shelter in inclement weather. 

Let's stay healthy, and keep learning!

For more information, see our COVID-19 Health and Safety Practices.

Food

Composite image of bowls of pasta, soup and salad

Delicious, omnivorous meals are prepared by talented culinary artists from the Earthaven community. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available. Snacks and beverages (tea, coffee) are provided. Participants are invited to help with meal clean-up. Many hands make light work.

As much food as possible is sourced from Earthaven and its surrounding farms and gardens, with some ingredients sourced from local grocery stores. Our meals are created with seasonal, local, fresh, wildcrafted, humanely-raised, and organic ingredients.

***If you have dietary needs beyond the ones listed here, please be prepared to bring supplemental food to support your nourishment and well-being. Our kitchen simply cannot accommodate all diets.

Program Specific Info

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included, Friday dinner through Thursday lunch.

Cancellation & Refunds

If you cancel your registration, you may:

  • Donate your tuition to support our continued work
  • Request a refund per our policy:
    • 90% refund for cancellations prior to 30 days before the start of the program
    • 50% refund for cancellations prior to 10 days before the start of the program

If SOIL cancels this program for any reason whatsoever, you would receive a 100% refund.

Contact us at info@schoolofintegratedliving.org with registration questions.

Crowdfunding & Fundraising

Check out our Crowdfunding & Fundraising page for creative ways to engage your community and launch a "Community Supported Education" campaign. This approach can help support your investment in yourself, your community, the planet, and future generations.

Location

This program takes place at Earthaven Ecovillage. This permaculture-based community offers a unique living classroom where participants will engage with the natural world, eco-infrastructure, and the intimate experience of rural community living.

What to Expect at Earthaven

Instructors

Photo of intentional communities expert Diana Leafe Christian

Diana Leafe Christian

Earthaven Experience Programs Faculty

Diana is author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, about forming successful communities and ecovillages and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. She speaks at conferences, offers consultations, and leads webinars and workshops internationally on starting successful new intentional communities, how existing communities can resolve conflicts and become more healthy and thriving, and sociocracy, a self-governance and decision-making method she finds especially effective for communities.

Off-grid energy system expert Chris Farmer

Chris Farmer

Earthaven Experience Programs Faculty

Chris has cleared his own farm field, designed and built passive solar homes using the wood from the trees he has killed (including his own Microhut), held leadership positions at Earthaven Ecovillage, raised turkeys, grown vegetables, co-founded the Forestry Cooperative, designed and installed multiple off-grid energy systems, and a few other things.

Lee Warren

Lee Warren

Faculty and SOIL Co-Founder

Lee is a sustainability professional with twenty five years of experience envisioning, designing, and living innovative solutions to organic food systems, intentional community, and sustainability education. She’s been living in rural, land-based community since 1995 and at Earthaven Ecovillage since 2000.

Wild foods expert Dimitri Magiasis

Dimitrios Magiasis

Earthaven Experience Programs Faculty

Dimitri is a naturalist, natural builder, and naturopathic doctor, one who teaches that wellness comes from cultivating a deep connection to the natural world.  His other passions are nature awareness, foraging for food and medicine, gardening, and supporting bonds that engender a tightly-knit community.

SOIL In-Person Programs Director NikiAnne Feinberg

NikiAnne Feinberg

Co-Director, Co-Founder, Faculty

Throughout the last two decades, NikiAnne has been immersed in community and in service to a wide range of educational endeavors focused on nature connection, personal empowerment, and community resilience. No matter what she’s teaching, NikiAnne is always on the same mission: to raise awareness of our whole selves – gifts, passions, blind spots, shadows – and help those whole selves find and fill niches in their communities.

Intentional community governance and financial expert Carmen Lescher

Carmen Lescher

Assistant Director, Bookkeeper, and Faculty

Carmen is dedicated to learning how to be human on this planet at this time. She considers herself a generalist and has owned and operated a pasture-based poultry farm; worked on construction crews building passive solar, off-grid houses; and supported many small businesses with online marketing, administration, and bookkeeping.

Jersey calf at Earthaven Ecovillage

Liz Díaz

Earthaven Experience Programs Faculty, Farmer, Cook

Liz has been getting her hands dirty in Western North Carolina since 2004.   She runs a small subsistence farm at Earthaven, tending to a variety of animals and plants, including milk and beef "cows," pigs, laying hens, broiler chickens, turkeys, livestock guardian dogs, as well as grasses, cover crops, and silage crops of many varieties.