A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Living Fences & Intergenerational Pruning at Earthaven Ecovillage

Transcript from video:

Courtney: What are y’all doing?

Zev: Stone’s giving me a sawdust snack. Pruning.

Courtney: What kind of tree is that?

Stone: Ash. Ah it doesn’t taste like ash though.

Courtney: Ash.

Zev: And we’ve been pruning black locusts and mulberries and this is part of the living fence around this field with the living trees acting as fence posts.

Courtney: What’s a living fence?

Zev: It’s when you use live plants for a fence instead of wooden or metal posts that will rot or rust and then the live trees become stronger over time and make all kinds of other yields like mulberry fruit and foliage for feeding to animals.

Courtney: Hello!

Zev: And we’re doing a special type of pruning called pollarding to keep the trees compact. Oakley and Stone have just been learning how to do the pruning today.

Courtney: Is this the first time you’ve ever pollarad at a tree, Stone?

Stone:  Yes.

Courtney: All right!

Zev: Yeah! And Oakley’s first time too.

Courtney: Intergenerational pruning.

Zev: So next year I’m planning to just be sitting in a hammock in March and they’re gonna be doing all the pruning. Isn’t that right stone?

Stone: What share of the fruit do we get?

Courtney Whoa negotiating. “What share of the fruit do they get?” You can have all the ash fruit you want.

Zev: Did you undercut that one?

Stone: Yeah.

Courtney This is the fence… this is the fence that the living fence and the living fence post that have already been pruned. You can see that’s already been pollarded and there’s um let’s see what is the living fence made from there’s mulberries, ash, black locust, and alder and then we’ve got hazelnut and muscadines and rosa rigosa, air potatoes.

Zev: All right

Stone: I don’t think we’re done yet.

Black Locust, Living Fence, Mulberry, Pruning, zev


Courtney Brooke

Courtney Brooke (she/her) is a Social Ecologist, Regenerative Designer, and educator whose work aims to reconnect people with a sense of belonging to place. Her work in the world aims to address the root cause of today’s overwhelming ecological challenges – that humans are starved of a sense of belonging to the places they live. Courtney Brooke was raised on a small farm in North Georgia, and has been guided by a lifetime of living close to the land. Her greatest teachers have been the Appalachian Mountains, the land of Aotearoa, and Selu, the Corn Mother. She holds a degree in Ecology from the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, and has 10 years of experience facilitating earth-based education, ecological landscape design, women’s rites of passage, and cultural healing. Courtney Brooke has taught and facilitated environmental education curriculum, Deep Ecology, Permaculture Design Courses, hands-on craft and farming workshops, and Holistic Management to a wide range of audiences in nine countries from toddlers to adults and everyone in between. Deeply committed to spreading the healing that comes from belonging to the places we live, Courtney Brooke is passionate about designing learning opportunities that celebrate life. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where she tends the land, raises food, participates in communal ritual agriculture, swims in wild water, enjoys the mysterious blessing of being alive, and tends her own wild Hearth. She loves cooking home-grown and wild foraged foods, playing her flute to the sunrise, running on mountain trails, making compost piles, crafting from natural materials, and bringing people together to create beauty that feeds the holy.

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