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whole-life skills for a radically different future


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.

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.

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 Executive Director for the Organic Grower's School.

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.

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.

Carmen Lescher
Earthaven Legal Structure and Governance

Carmen Lescher is a "jill-of-all-trades" who is comfortable on the farm or construction site, around the kitchen, and in the garden or office. She 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. Carmen is currently the Treasurer of Earthaven Ecovillage where she has spent most of the last 10 years as a dedicated and participatory community member. She is happy when she's cooking, solving problems, and practicing nonviolent communication.

Liz Díaz
Homesteading, Farming, Gardening, Livestock, Regenerative Systems

Liz Díaz has been getting her hands dirty in Western North Carolina since 2004.  After graduating from Warren Wilson College in 2006 with a degree in "Social and Activist Theater," she immediately began pursuing a life more deeply connected to food and other basic human needs.  In April 2010, she began a love affair with cows while work exchanging on a farm at Earthaven. She and her farm partner now run a small subsistence farm at Earthaven, where they tend to a variety of animals and plants, including cows, pigs, laying hens, broiler chickens, turkeys, livestock guardian dogs, as well as grasses, cover crops, and silage crops of many varieties. 

Experience a developing ecovillage for yourself!

Most of SOIL’s classes take place at Earthaven Ecovillage, giving participants a hands-on, skill-building immersion within an authentic community-based, village setting. Tours of Earthaven are also available on a monthly basis, a great way to dip your toe into this long-standing, intergenerational social experiment.

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COVID 19 Response: SOIL is publishing resources and deferring all programs to 2021.Read More
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