Earthaven Internship Program

A Six-Week Immersion in Ecovillage Living

September 21 – November 2, 2024

Earthaven Ecovillage
Near Asheville, NC

Have a sense that the track you’re on doesn’t quite fit? Longing for meaningful and purposeful work and wondering how to be of service to the healing of this world we are in? Maybe there’s a life you are longing for that you don’t have words for yet?

We don’t have all the answers, those are yours to find, but we do have mentorship, experience, and inspiration to offer.

Welcome to the Earthaven Internship Program! This program will immerse you in the radical social and ecological experiment that is Earthaven Ecovillage life, while being a part of an intimate cohort of interns for six weeks, gaining practical land-based skills while connecting with the people and projects of our off-grid, permaculture-based intentional community.

Whether you are taking a break from school, considering your options for stepping away from mainstream culture, or beginning the journey of creating the life you long for, this experiential service-learning program is designed to be an opportunity for meaningful contribution and relevant skill-building while experiencing what it takes to live in connection to the land in an rural community.

Farmer showing field to participants

This experience has made me realize that although I have reduced my worldview to accommodate what I thought were the limits it had to offer, magic is real and it is cultivated by a community of people and the land who value gratitude and the expression of that gratitude.

Anonymous, SOIL participant

a man with a Jersey milk cow

Explore a Passion-Driven Life of Meaning, Purpose, and Connection in a Community Setting

At Earthaven, we envision a world where self-reliant, yet interdependent and ecologically aware people engage consciously in their local and global communities. We believe that these committed folks will make informed and responsible choices for their basic needs (food, shelter, water, medicines), understand their impact on the world, and their sacred place of belonging within it. Together, they will forge real connection with themselves and others, experience the richness of interdependence, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world for all.

We haven’t actualized all of these goals just yet, but here at Earthaven we strive for that vision in all aspects of our lives.

By living, working, and playing alongside us for six weeks, you will see us as we really are; in our striving, our successes, and our shortcomings. You will see where we are in the ever unfolding process of culture change, how this vision and reality are aligned with your values and lifestyle preferences, and what you want for your life.

Most importantly, we are inviting your collaboration. This project we call Earthaven Ecovillage requires deep dedication in the form of physical and energetic energy investment. We need your help in carrying this big dream into the future. Fresh eyes, new ideas and inspiration are valued alongside physical contribution.

Are you one that we have been waiting for?

You may not feel ready for this season of your life. Worry not. This season of your life is ready for you. Know this, dear soul. A place has been prepared for you in the season now upon you. You are the honored guest. Even if you don’t realize it, you have been prepared for this time and circumstance. If you were not prepared, the season would not have arrived. Soul seasons do not follow your calendar. They follow your soul. Where you are tender, pour some Love on it and proceed. Your season is here and it wants you. Want it back. That’s the signal that brings forth its fruit…

Jaiya John

Explore Homestead and Off-Grid Living

Most of the week you will work directly with villagers on a variety of their projects, including animal, vegetable, or orchard agriculture, natural building, and village infrastructure. Heart, mind, and body working together in such a way that you can rest with a deep sense of satisfaction and aliveness when the day is done.

You will also learn about the DIY infrastructure that supports our village, neighborhoods, and homes, including off-grid power, water, and waste systems, and roads and trails. Earthaven provides a rare opportunity to experience a wide variety of these systems – from hut scale to village scale, from no tech to high tech, and from decades old to brand new. If you’re interested in off-grid systems, learning about our systems could save you a lot of time and money from learning things the hard way.

Come be in your body and experiment with rural life!

Moving a goat trailer

My SOIL experience provided me with a new way to look at energy, food production, and the cycle of life including the consumption patterns of these basic building blocks of life.

Mary R., SOIL participant

Get a Feel for Community Life

Be part of the Earthaven community by attending village and neighborhood potlucks, coffee and trade, and seasonal celebrations. During the weekends, you can just be a villager and enjoy living here or pick up some side work if you need a few bucks. We have internet available when you need it, but we don’t have cell service. Life at Earthaven is an opportunity to reclaim being in the now, and the depth of experience and connection of being attuned to the living world.

Participants will share a common hearth in a neighborhood, forming their own nested community life by sharing meals, social activities, hearth-tending tasks, and your experiences. 

Twice weekly check-ins offer a supportive environment in which to share experiences and unpack the week, providing a mirror for your life in community.

Start of Founding Day parade

Earthaven is where the human community is bonding with the Earth in a manner capable of healing the devastation of the past and inspiring a new grandeur for the future. At Earthaven, even for a brief while, we experience what it is to return to ourselves.

Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth

Harvesting garlic
Andy and Joe harvesting vegetables
Plastering a natural building
Taking a break while gardening

What to Expect

This program is about learning by working and living within a community.

As an intern, you will be exposed to a diverse range of lifestyles, businesses, and cottage industries pertaining to agriculture and education that range in purpose, size, technique, application, and style.

We’ll get into a rhythm with our weekly schedule.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday  Saturday
AM Independent Time 9–noon
Workshop 1
Independent time
(Community Market & Social)
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Thriving in Community Class
Independent Time

Independent Time

(Bi-weekly Community Council)

Workshop 1
Earthaven Service Project
Workshop 2
Workshop 3
Independent Time Independent Time
EVE 8–9
Independent Time Community Grillout & Potluck 8–9
Independent Time Independent Time Independent Time

This program is primarily designed for adults. However, mature teenagers under 18 years old are also welcome to apply with or without a parent/guardian. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate young children at this time.

Mentorship and Hands-On Workshops

On top of the whole ecovillage being a learning playground, the specific service-learning environments will be in the homes, farms, gardens, and neighborhoods of residents, and working alongside a variety of skilled and creative people as the service-learning leaders for this internship.

Each service-learning leader will lead on the same day of the week for all six weeks for continuity and consistency. The projects and your skills can continue to deepen and build upon the previous week’s understanding and knowledge base.

These projects will be physical and hands-on. Most days will be learning by doing, while you grow an understanding of the why’s and how’s. There will be shovels involved, so come prepared to experience the joy and effort of working with your body!

Friday mornings we’ll take a break from the physical work for some ecovillage education — exploring the history, organization structure, and functions of the multi-entity Earthaven project. As the oldest ecovillage in North America, you can learn through the tales of our successes and failures. Friday afternoons are open for your self-learning or other emergent activities.

The schedule includes plenty of independent time for integration, socializing, and taking care of life.

Mentors and Workshop Leaders

Holistic Pastured Animal Systems with Elizabeth Díaz

This project will provide hands-on experience with aspects of pastured animal agriculture.

  • Working with cattle, pigs, and poultry, including feeding and watering, rotational grazing, and health checks
  • Learning the basics of keeping a family cow
  • Farming grass, including maintaining pastures, rotational grazing, annual and perennial forage tending, and compost building
  • Using agricultural by-products, such as skim milk, manure, spent brewers’ grains, and other organic matter, as agricultural inputs, for example to feed animals, compost piles, and the soil
  • Practical, including permanent, semi-permanent, and tempory electric fencing to support rotational grazing
  • Making and storing butter, bone broth, and other nutrient-dense animal products
  • Optional: Humane harvesting (slaughtering and processing) of broiler chickens (or possibly a large animal, such as a pig or steer)

Elizabeth DíazElizabeth has been getting her hands dirty in Western North Carolina since 2004. After graduating from Warren Wilson College in 2006 with a made-up degree in “Social and Activist Theater,” she began pursuing a life more deeply connected to food and other basic human needs. She began a love affair with cows in 2010 while work-exchanging on a neighborhood farm at Earthaven. Since 2013 she has been running a small subsistence farm operation in the community, where, along with the support of many others, she tends to a variety of animals, along with the plants and land that feed them.

Natural Building with Adam Klaus

This project will cover the process of building a modern integrated natural home for Adam and his family of five.

  • Construction using place-appropriate materials and building techniques
  • Finding the balance between natural materials, re-used materials, and purchased materials
  • Milling trees into lumber for use in the house
  • Applying natural lime plaster for exterior finishes
  • Human-scale design and social implications of architecture

Adam Klaus Adam has decades of experience as a builder, with a focus on natural building. He has designed and built a rustic log cabin, a modern stick-frame home, a traditional timber frame dairy barn, passive greenhouses, and many smaller structures. He enjoys the process of working with the resources of a given site to create buildings that are beautiful through their harmony with the natural local vernacular.

Small Animal Agriculture with Rachel Fee

This project will provide hands-on experience with aspects of pastured small animal agriculture on a homestead scale.

  • Developing and maintaining habitat for small animal agriculture with the goals of minimizing inputs and building soil fertility
  • Tending an integrated site that includes forage trees, pasture, and annual vegetable production
  • Learning the basics of animal husbandry concerning dairy goats, pigs, rabbits, and poultry
  • Optionally slaughtering and processing small animals and poultry.
  • Philosophically exploring the sacred intersections of farming, animism, ecology, grief, love, and deep belonging to place.

Rachel FeeRachel is a trauma-informed clinical herbalist turned small farmer who has a never ending curiosity around how we can sustain ourselves in concert with nature. She came to Earthaven in 2017 with her four children, now teenagers and young adults, who participate in a family farm with an egg CSA, goats, and pigs. She is driven by her passion for homegrown food and the sacred work of growing and raising it in right relationship with the land, and sharing that joy with others.

Village Infrastructure with Brandon Greenstein & Joe Dofflemyer

This project will tend and improve Earthaven’s off-grid infrastructure systems, including water, waste, power, access, and buildings.

  • Repairing community buildings
  • Tending roads and trails
  • Creating solar access
  • Processing firewood
  • Monitoring and managing water and power systems

SOIL Instructor Brandon GreensteinBrandon works with chainsaws, hand tools, heavy equipment, construction projects, water systems, and most everything having to do with the practicalities of ecological design. He lives at Earthaven in an off-grid duplex, practicing community, partnering, parenting, and philosophizing about existence and how to optimize it. Brandon is the Organic Growers School Consulting Director and Sustainability Coach, providing support services to farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, and those seeking sustainability solutions.

Orchard and Forest Garden Management with Debbie Lienhart & Griffin Abee

This project will improve the maintainability and expand the uses of the campground orchard.

  • Managing the orchard understory, potentially making biochar
  • Planting nut trees and berry bushes
  • Improving orchard hardscape, including paths and potentially campsites
  • Tending the village cemetery with villagers
  • Processing fruits and nuts, and optionally making mead

Headshot photo of community expert Debbie LienhartDebbie comes from a long line of orchardists and plant breeders. She fell in love with forest gardens during her permaculture design certificate program and leaves a trail of fruit trees behind her. She moved to Earthaven Ecovillage in 2007 and has been involved in governance, promotions, and partnership culture, and was a partner in the Useful Plants Nursery for eight years. In 2008, she and another villager started developing the campground orchard. Her current interests include growing fruits and nuts, and stewarding the orchard cemetery. She is drawing on her technical and management background to develop and promote SOIL online learning programs.


Griffin AbeeGriffin moved to the Earthaven area in the fall of 2002. She began learning about permaculture, natural building, living off grid, fermentation and community living. In 2005, she bought an acre of land near Earthaven. Over the years, she planted fruiting and medicinal plants and built a tiny house with the help of dear friends. Being raised by parents who owned a garden center, Griffin grew up with a passion for growing plants. In 2006, she began an edible landscaping business and planted thousands of useful plants around the Carolinas. In 2009, she earned a degree in Sustainable Development and Appropriate Technology at Appalachian State University. Currently, Griffin lives in Earthaven with her family, teaches yoga in the village, and owns a small wine business called Alchemy Herbal Wines.

Annual Vegetable Market Gardening with Leon Birstein
This project will provide hands-on experience in market gardening staple foods in a permaculture context.

  • Creating an inch of topsoil every year through cover crops, mulch, and soil science
  • Cultivating, harvesting, and processing corn into masa, cornmeal, and grits
  • Cultivating mushrooms and harvesting sweet potatoes
  • Growing in hoop houses and the greenhouse
  • Keeping bees
  • Growing turmeric in temperate climates as a cash crop

Leon BirsteinLeon has been farming the hillsides of this mountain valley for nearly 30 years. His main crops are Ohio Blue Clarage dent corn, sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, honey, and his beloved 20 varieties of bamboo, but you can find everything from kale to persimmons and pomegranates on his 10 acres of permaculture performance art. He is a generalist of the highest order, fluidly moving between farming, mechanics, carpentry, forestry, earthworks, electrical, and more. He loves to talk about just about everything, but has a special fondness for the intersection of evolution, history, and geopolitics.

Empowered Community Living with Becky Boisvert

This Empowered Community Living workshop will run all six weeks of the Internship and cover subject matter ranging from: Community Communication Tools to Shared Decision Making and on to Tending the Collective Nervous System, among others.

Leon Birstein

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.

Becky loves taking lofty creative visions and bringing them to life — whether her own or others’. 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.

Becky is excited to bridge and share the life she is devoted to creating at Earthaven Ecovillage with the greater world.

Every instructor and member showed a great deal of intense passion in their work, inspiring me to know what their life entailed as well as find my own passion.

Jule L, SOIL participant

Service Learning

Service learning combines formal instruction with an active, physical, service component. We promise to minimize the “school” part and keep things practical with engaging and interactive content and an immediate opportunity to apply what you have learned.

Our programs are grounded in real-life opportunities that make learning deep, long lasting, and fun. Learning can take many forms. Whether learning to knit from a classmate, milking a cow, discovering moon-cycle planting, or resolving interpersonal conflict, participants learn in ways that are applicable, embodied, and repeatable. 

Service learning prepares you to use your knowledge for the good of the whole and equips you to address social problems in a group context. In this way, learning becomes a more holistic approach to living, thinking, and being of service.

Bucket brigade

This is an experience of learning that goes far beyond the traditional interpretations I’ve encountered, that understands life as a process of learning, and learning as connection. 

Anonymous, SOIL participant

Your Labor Helps Make This Program Possible

This program is very different from the rest of our programs because it balances getting things done, providing a community experience, and education.

We created this longer internship program so that a small group of participants can really experience reciprocity by living at Earthaven while contributing their energy to support projects in the village.

Some of the work will be sequentially on a project, learning a task or technique and then gaining muscle memory doing it over and over again. Other kinds of work might include the sacred mundane maintenance necessary for the village to run smoothly. The cost of this program reflects this balance of instruction time and work time.

With this model, we’re offering a per-day cost that’s about half that of our other programs. In order for it to work financially, we rely on participants being truly helpful and getting things done.

If you’re looking for a less vigorous ecovillage experience, consider our Experience Week or Experience Weekend.

Moving logs

This experience was highly rewarding through the work we accomplished, the stories we heard, and the interaction with Earthaven community members. 

Katelyn F., SOIL Participant

Please note: this hands-on internship program includes real work

Learning by doing means that your body gets into the work of building, farming, and gardening. You’ll be shoveling, hauling, walking longer distances, bending, stooping, getting dirty, and working in varied weather. We will honor the boundaries of each body’s own physical abilities, but everyone will be expected to work hard. The work will not often be glamorous, but it will be rewarding. We like to laugh and get to know each other, and we also need to make real progress on projects.

If there’s serious inclement weather on the horizon, we may play with the schedule a bit so we are learning indoors during a deluge, and outside again when it passes. However, we will gather and work in gentle rain, wind, and hot sun. Before you apply, be sure that you’re up to the physical and mental challenge of working hard outside for three and a half days each week. If you have physical limitations, please make sure to mention them in the application so that we can discuss whether this program will be a good fit.

Community of Practice Culture

At its heart, this internship is about relationships and being of service to something greater than ourselves. The program is based on a belief that if we take care of the whole, we will be taken care of. Guided by the wisdom of the natural world, we start from where we are, with what we have, with who we are. If this isn’t your personal belief, we invite you to try it on for this program.

Learning takes place in a “Community of Practice,” in which we explore, make mistakes, and grow together through our relationships. This program is designed to encourage and support personal transformation and lifestyle changes through hands-on learning experiences in a community-centered learning environment and culture. Rooted in personal integrity, close community interaction, and regular work at one’s “growing edge,” we welcome mature, fully engaged, critical-thinking participants who are committed to learning, healthy living, participatory decision making, and community building.

To successfully embark on this transformative adventure together, we ask that you carefully review the program details to ensure this is the experience you’re looking for at this time in your life. Please note any questions or concerns to discuss before you register.

Chris Farmer with a group of participants

What an incredible group of people, creating so many interesting and vital projects. It was great to have a chance to participate in the actual work: to learn more deeply about what it means from at least a few different perspectives to live at Earthaven; and to be able to contribute, in a small way, to this inspiring constellation.

Rebecca, SOIL participant

Woman skipping in a field
Zev playing flute
Man jumping
Three women on park swing

The Group and Application Process

We will be welcoming up to fourteen participants into this program.

This program is designed for adults of all ages and stages who …

  • Want to generate knowledge through firsthand, direct experiences
  • Are exploring options for their next life phase
  • Question mainstream culture and are looking for alternatives
  • Wonder if they would be happier living in a community setting

If you are interested, please fill out an application. (There’s no cost to apply.) We’ll schedule a short interview so we can answer your questions and confirm that the program is a good fit. If it seems like a good match, you’ll receive a letter of invitation and be able to proceed with enrolling in the program.

Note: We are not currently accepting applications for this program.

Group working in the hamlet field

Nothing in advanced-level education has prepared you for this experience! Get ready to leave what you know and step into a firestorm of techno-, anthro-, bio-, socio-, politico-consciousness.

Robert J., SOIL participant


Young adults (18 – 25): $1,950 – $3,400
Regular pricing: $2,600 – $3,400
BIPOC: $1,700 – $3,400

What’s Included

Tuition includes three meals/day, snacks on work days, camping (tent or van), instruction, materials, and Earthaven fees.

Indoor accommodations, arrival and departure transportation, and participation in The Re-membering Retreat are available for an additional cost. The Re-membering Retreat takes place September 26-29. Participants may join the retreat for a reduced cost. Separate registration required.

Personal expenses, such as laundry, medical expenses, personal entertainment, health & travel insurance, supplemental food, and any other personal items, are not available through the program.



Sliding scale

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.

Pricing levels

Young adults: $1,950 – $3,400 tuition
We offer a discounted low-end option for people 25 years and younger with financial needs who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend.

Regular pricing: $2,600 – $3,400 tuition

BIPOC: $1,700 – $3,400 tuition
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, let the program coordinator know during your interview.

Tuition includes food, camping, instruction, and all materials.

Indoor accommodations and transportation are available for an additional cost.

Payment plans

To make this program more accessible, we offer custom payment plans. This is a way to break up the cost of registration. All fees must be paid before the start of the program.

Cancellation and Refunds If you cancel your enrollment, you may:

  • Donate your tuition to support our continued work
  • Request a refund per our policy:
    • $250 non-refundable administrative fee
    • 90% refund of what you have paid for cancellations prior to 30 days before the start of the program
    • 50% refund of what you have paid 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 of what you have paid.

Contact us at [email protected] with registration questions.

Crowdsource & 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.

Application Process
Note: We are not currently accepting applications for this program.

If you are interested, please fill out an application. (There’s no cost to apply.)

We’ll schedule a short interview with the program coordinator to answer your questions and confirm that the program is a good fit.

If it seems like a good match, you’ll receive a letter of invitation and can proceed with enrolling in the program.

Take the first step:
Click to apply.

Food & Cooking Details

Examples of food served at School of Integrated Living programs

Food is included in the tuition. The meal plan provides three ample and nutritious meals each day as well as snacks. The meals will be prepared by the intern cohort themselves on a rotational basis, with support from residents. We can accommodate most common dietary choices/restrictions, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy free.  

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 a very specific diet, need extra snacks or special comfort foods, please prepare to bring or purchase these supplemental foods for yourself. On personal days, you will have ample time to take a trip into town for groceries. You’ll have an opportunity to share about your dietary needs in the application and interview process.

*** 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.


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


The Wheelhouse CampgroundCamping is included with the program. The campground includes space for tents, hammocks, vans, and small RVs. There is cold running spring water. No electricity or internet is available in the campground, but is available nearby.

Sleeping bags and pads are available for rental for $45/set for the program. Cleaning supplies to clean mats are available before and/or after use. SOIL launders the sleeping bags once a year.

Indoor Lodging

Shared and private indoor lodging is available. Space is limited and available on a first-come-first-saved basis.

Shared Indoor Lodging
Cost per person: 42 nights $160

Private Indoor Lodging
Cost for 1 person: 42 nights $360
Cost for 2 people (shared bed): 42 nights $680


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

Have questions? Check out the FAQ.