Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Weekend

An Introductory Dive into Earthaven

May 23-26, 2024

Earthaven Ecovillage
Near Asheville, NC

Experience Weekend immerses you in the life of Earthaven Ecovillage. Earthaven is like a 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. You’ll connect with the people, businesses, and farms of Earthaven and our valley for a hands-on, skill-building, life-changing experience.

The Experience Weekend curriculum encourages participants to examine sustainability through social, ecological, economic, and eco-spiritual lenses. Through tours, large-group discussions, classes with community members, shared meals, and time to explore the land on your own, this learning journey gives you an intimate experience of the ecovillage.

Program participants form a community within the village by sharing meals, social activities, their experiences, and hearth-tending tasks. Many participants come to the program during or while preparing for a life transition — questioning aspects of their current lifestyle and curious about their options and learning what’s possible. Others come to the program for a retreat from their daily life —  a chance to be in a different place around different people while enjoying tasty, wholesome meals prepared by someone else. Whether drawn more to the program content or the program context, most particpants enjoy spending the weekend with a group of people with shared interests in our beautiful southern Appalachian forest.

This year’s instructors include communities expert Diana Leafe Christian, off-grid designer Chris Farmer, trauma-informed herbalist Rachel Fee, and Earthaven treasurer and bookkeeper, Carmen Lescher. For all program staff, see Instructors.

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Weekend group

This was one of those experiences that flowed and built moment by moment into a final crescendo — so full and rich that it’s easy to think that it just happened naturally, effortlessly. But that grace and power to connect and transform people actually only happens because of years of experience, knowledge, wisdom and yes, hard work. I appreciate who you are, and the way you all generously gave of yourselves to all of us who come to visit your home. 

Amy Elliott

Lyndon Felps explaining how to pot a bareroot shrub
Mushroom foraging workshop at Earthaven Ecovillage
Bowls of foraged salad at Earthaven Ecovillage
Storytelling around the fire 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)

  • 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)

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

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 Empowerment

  • Connection to yourself, others, and the natural world
  • Designing an authentic, meaningful, and responsible life in the modern world

In addition to classes, discussions, and activities, you’ll enjoy meals with community members as well as authentic community experience within your SOIL participant cohort.

Permaculture designer Zev Friedman explaining contours to permaculture design class

Program

This long weekend program consists of expert lectures, fireside storytelling, community conversations, land-walks, and tours to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

Thursday
1:00–2:30pm Arrival, Check-in, and Camp Setup
2:30-3:30pm Welcome and Orientation
3:30-6:00pm Tour of Earthaven
6:30–7:30pm Dinner
7:30–9:30pm Opening Circle

Friday and Saturday
8:00-9:00am Breakfast
9:00am–12:00pm Morning Session
12:00–2:00pm Lunch and Independent Time
2:00–5:00pm Afternoon Session
5:00–6:30pm Independent Time
6:30–7:30pm Dinner
7:30–9:30pm Fireside Conversations with Community Members

Sunday
8:00-9:00am Breakfast
9:00am–12:00pm Final Session and Closing Circle
12:30–1:30pm Lunch and Departure*
2:00-6:30pm Earthaven Council Meeting (optional)

 

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.

Singing before a shared meal at Earthaven Ecovillage

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

Tuition and meals
Tuition sliding scale: $450 – $550
Young adults (ages 18-25): $350
Teens (attending with an adult): $200
Children (ages 4-12): $125
Young kids: free

What’s Included

Tuition includes meals, instruction, and all materials. Accommodations and transportation are available for an additional cost.

Scholarships
We offer partial scholarships (50% of the middle 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.

Earthaven Experience Weekend Group

Being at Earthaven was wonderful. There is so much to learn! It embodies so much of the kind of life I’d like to have — a life in the country with open-minded people who practice non-discrimination. A life with less waste and less reliance on computers and phones. When in conversation there I felt deeply listened to and I was inclined to deeply listen as well. It reinforced that another way is possible — and that way can be joyful and fulfilling, as well as healing for the planet.

I was sad to leave. But then upon arriving home I began to appreciate more deeply the tendrils of loving intention within the urban metropolis — potted basil plants hanging outside the restaurant, the garbage man happy to receive and return a smile and kind hello, and the edible plants pushing their way through the cracked concrete and in the vacant lots. I felt the urge to reconnect with like-minded groups and people in the city. And try again, keep trying, at building more peace, health, and beauty. Visiting Earthaven renewed my energy to be a better human, and restored my hope that we can reconnect deeply with each other, earth, and universe.

Liz Lazdins

Logistics

Lodging

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

Camping
Cost per person: 3 nights $65

Campground Cabin Shared Lodging
Cost per person: 3 nights $85

Shared Indoor Lodging
Cost per person: 3 nights $125

Private Indoor Lodging
Cost for 1 person: 3 nights $190
Cost for 2 people (shared bed): 3 nights $285

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

Sleeping bags and pads are available for rental for $15/set for adults and children. Cleaning supplies to clean mats are available before and/or after use. SOIL launders the sleeping bags once a year. FYI: There are a couple of loaner tents that live in the campground, no guarantee on condition. First come, first served on tents.

Read More About Accommodations

Food

Examples of food served at School of Integrated Living programs

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 cannot accommodate all diets.

*** Although we would like to know if you have any allergies, we cannot provide an anaphylactic safe meal. There is always the chance of cross contamination.

Program Specific Info

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included, Thursday dinner through Sunday 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 [email protected] 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.

Rachel Fee

Rachel Fee

Experience Programs Faculty

Rachel is a trauma-informed herbalist whose professional interests include infectious disease and bioregional herbal practices. She came to Earthaven in 2017 with her four children. She has a family farm with an egg CSA, goats, and pigs. She participates in community governance as a Council facilitator and an officer. She is passionate about very local and wild foods. For SOIL programs, she leads plant walks and work parties with the Veggie Ladies. She also cooks some of our delicious meals.

NikiAnne Feinberg

NikiAnne Feinberg

In-person Programs Director, 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.

Becky Boisvert

Becky Boisvert

Program Coordinator

An inveterate adventurer, Becky (she/her) has grown to see life itself as the adventure. That life is made richer in community at Earthaven where Becky, her daughter Willow, and her co-parent Sanne moved in 2018. She loves bringing lofty, creative visions to life. In her first career as an educator, she taught at an arts-integrated charter school, mentored gap-year students in India and Guatemala, and created a holistic middle school. Since then, she has produced two documentary films, coached individuals and couples toward greater wholeness, and begun holding mediations.

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.

Registration

Complete the registration form once per participant. It takes 5-10 minutes, and you will complete your enrollment with a credit card authorization.

After your enrollment is processed, you will receive several confirmations…

  1. An automatic confirmation of receiving your registration form
  2. A payment confirmation from our card processor
  3. Confirmation that your registration has been processed
Participant Info - Step 1 of 3

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Weekend

May 23-26, 2024
Given what's alive for you in life right now and where you want to go in your life, how would participating be most valuable to you?