Structure of Earthaven
1. Where is Earthaven?
2. What is your land like? How many acres?
3. What is the weather like?
4. How many people?
5. What is your mission and purpose? What are your values?
6. What is an “ecovillage”?
7. Are you an ecovillage yet?
8. Who owns the land?
9. How do you make decisions?
Visiting and Workshops
10. Do you host visitors?
11. Do you have internships or work exchange opportunities?
12. Do you offer workshops in ecovillages?
13. Do you offer workshops in permaculture design?
14. Do you offer workshops in natural building?
15. Do you offer workshops in natural health and healing?
16. Is Earthaven seeking new members?
17. What does it cost to join?
18. How do you determine your Joining Fees and Site Lease Fees?
19. How do people make a living at Earthaven?
20. Are families with children welcome?
21. Are pets welcome?
Beliefs and Culture
22. Does Earthaven have a spiritual practice?
23. Do you share meals as a community?
24. Are you vegetarians?
25. Does Earthaven support cultural transformation around gender roles and feminism?
26. Do homeschooling families at Earthaven do enrichment activities together?
Structure of Earthaven
1. Where is Earthaven? We’re located in the culturally rich, biologically diverse mountains of western North Carolina–part of the Katuah Bioregion–about 40 minutes southeast of Asheville. For further details see Directions.
2. What is your land like? How many acres? Our 329 acres of forested mountain land consists of three converging valleys with abundant streams and springs, flood plains, bottom land, and steeper ridge slopes, lying between 2000 and 2600 feet in elevation. Our site plan includes areas for residential neighborhoods and compact business sites, as well as areas suitable for leased agriculture sites, orchards, market gardens, and wetlands.
Much of Earthaven is still under construction. Physical infrastructure so far includes roads, footpaths, bridges, campgrounds, ponds, constructed wetlands, off-grid power systems, gardens, our Council Hall, a kitchen-dining room, many small dwellings, a few full-sized homes, and three multi-family dwellings.
4. What is the weather like? Please see our weather page for current conditions, forecasts, and historical data.
5. What is your mission and purpose? What are your values? Our mission is to create a village which is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for a sustainable human future. Our vision is: “In the midst of planetary change the Earthaven experiment helps inform and inspire a global flowering of bioregionally appropriate cultures.” We hope to become empowered, responsible, and ecologically literate citizens, modeling bioregionally appropriate culture for our time and place. We value sustainable ecological systems, permaculture design, elegant simplicity, right livelihood, and healthy social relations. We are spiritually diverse. We have both vegetarians and omnivores; some members raise livestock.
6. What is an “ecovillage”? We like Robert and Diane Gilman’s definition: “Ecovillages are human-scale, full-featured settlements in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and which can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.” Robert has more recently stated that the definition should specify that an ecovillage must have multiple centers of initiative.
8. Who owns the land? We all own title to our land together, through a Homeowners Association, financed by private loans from members and friends. We lease our individual homesites from the community through 99-year, renewable, transferable leases. In 2004 we paid off most of our loan.
Visiting and Workshops
10. Do you host visitors? Yes! Please call first to make a reservation (please don’t arrive here without contacting us first)! We offer tours every other Saturday. We do not currently offer overnight accommodations. See Visiting.
11. Do you have internships or work exchange opportunities? Yes! While Earthaven is not offering formal internships at this time, we do have many work exchange and apprenticeship opportunities through our members. See Live & Work.
12. Do you offer workshops in ecovillages? Yes! We offer workshops on how to start a successful ecovillage (by Diana Leafe Christian, former editor of Communities magazine and author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities); ecovillage site planning and building design (with award-winning architect Gregg Ramsey); and consensus facilitation (with experienced consensus trainer Arjuna da Silva). See our Calendar.
13. Do you offer workshops in permaculture design? Yes! We offer workshops on Permaculture Fundamentals with Patricia Allison, Permaculture Instructor and Earthaven resident for over ten years, and Chuck Marsh, 1998 North American Permaculture Teacher of the Year. Graduates of the Fundamentals course can go on to the Permaculture Practicum: Applying Ecological Design week-long program with Patricia Allison. See our
14. Do you offer workshops in natural building? Yes! We offer workshops on homesite site design with permaculture designer Chuck Marsh, 1998 North American Permaculture Teacher of the Year; building design with natural builder Paul Caron; earthen building introduction, building with earth and straw, and earthen paints, with natural builder Mollie Curry; and earthen plaster with Chuck Marsh. See our Calendar.
15. Do you offer workshops in natural health and healing? Yes! Among other teachers, Corinna Wood, director of Southeast Wise Women, has been connecting people with the wisdom of the earth, the plants, and their own bodies for 15 years. Other natural health classes that have been offered range from Qigong (Chinese energy cultivation) to Homeopathy, and much more. See our Calendar for classes, including healing herbs and food; fertility and sexuality; and women’s courses in herbal medicine and women’s health.
16. Is Earthaven seeking new members? Yes. We’re seeking hardworking, visionary people of all kinds to join us in creating our ecovillage dream–including (but not limited to) organic growers and raisers of livestock, people with mechanical and engineering skills, healers, artists, and young families with children. See Membership.
17. What does it cost to join? There is a one-time Joining Fee and a one‑time Site Lease fee. The amounts are subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments. See What it Costs. Site lease fees can be paid in a lump sum or in installments. Our annual dues and fees currently range between about $800 and $1,100 a year, depending on the facilities used and whether or not a member has a car on the land. See Membership.
18. How do you determine your Joining Fees and Site Lease Fees? We base these fees on our debt load, our current annual expenses, our ongoing schedule for developing our physical infrastructure, local land values, financing costs, the cost of essential professional services, and the costs of fees, permits, and building materials.
19. How do people make a living at Earthaven? We encourage small, ecologically sound businesses at Earthaven. So far these include a permaculture plant nursery; carpentry and home construction services; tool-rental; solar system installation; plumbing and electrical installation; candle-lanterns and other wooden craft items; and consultants and courses. See Making a Living.
20. Are families with children welcome? Yes! See Families and Children at Earthaven.
21. Are pets welcome? It depends. We have certain restrictions on pets. While Full Members may have dogs or cats on their homesites under certain conditions, a Provisional Member who wants to bring a pet to Earthaven during the Provisional Membership period would have to get special permission first, and such request may or may not be granted. After becoming a Full Member, the person’s pet would be considered for acceptance at Earthaven separately from the person, and the pet’s behaviors and impact on the community would be taken into consideration. If there are no concerns about the pet, there might be a provisional term for the pet as well.
Beliefs and Culture
22. Does Earthaven have a spiritual practice? We don’t have a single, community-wide spiritual practice. Rather, various individuals celebrate Spirit (or don’t) as they wish. What many of us have in common is a reverence for the Earth and our land, and the belief that our land is alive and conscious and it’s our sacred duty to honor and care for it. See Spirit and Culture at Earthaven.
23. Do you share meals as a community? Yes and no. Some residents are members of the Hut Hamlet, Bellavia, or Village Terrace neighborhood kitchens, sharing meals and food expenses with other members of those neighborhood kitchens; some members cook their own meals in their homes. The Medicine Wheel House also serves meals to community members. Once a week (and sometimes more) members gather for potlucks, including a cook-out every Tuesday and Friday. Members hope to construct a community-wide kitchen and dining room building. See Spirit and Culture at Earthaven.
24. Are you vegetarians? We have many diet choices at Earthaven. Some are vegetarians; some have been vegans; most are omnivores. Some members raise livestock. We encourage our members to buy organic, locally grown or raised food. See Spirit and Culture at Earthaven.
25. Does Earthaven support cultural transformation around gender roles and feminism? Yes, Earthaveners generally share values around the independence and autonomy of women (as well as the interdependence of all of us); the appropriateness of deep feeling and flexible emotions in men; and the opportunity for women and men to share natural and cultivated skills and talents in a respectful way that honors each individual’s interests and desires. See Women and Men at Earthaven.
What will you find here at Earthaven? Men and women being typical of men and women everywhere, yet also highly creative and experimental in thought and action. Support exists here for traditional families and non-traditional relationships, and the expectation that the two will exist well side by side. It’s especially when we travel into the mainstream that most of us return with renewed appreciation for how much room to grow and be truly ourselves Earthaven culture allows us!
26. Do homeschooling families at Earthaven do enrichment activities together? Yes! See the Forest Children Collective.
For more in-depth information or technical information, community members offer paid consultations.