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A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

What Is Earthaven?

“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 and Diane Gilman
Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities, 1991

Founded in 1994, Earthaven is located on 329 acres in culturally rich, biologically diverse western North Carolina, about 45 minutes southeast of Asheville. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.

Earthaven Ecovillage is located on unceded lands of the Catawba and Tsalagi (Cherokee) people. One of Earthaven’s goals is working “towards partnership culture, towards racial and gender equity, and against oppression in all its forms.” In support of this goal, individuals and groups are working on projects with local Catawba and Tsalagi people.

Varying between 2000 and 2600 feet in elevation, our forested mountain land consists of three converging valleys with abundant streams and springs, flood plains, bottom land, and steeper ridge slopes.

In recent years, our community has consisted of about 75 adult residents and 25 children. We intend to become a village of at least 150 people on 56 homesites. As the village grows, we would like it to become more racially and culturally diverse. More Information.

Our permaculture site plan includes residential neighborhoods and compact business sites, as well as areas suitable for farms, 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, farms and gardens, our Council Hall, a kitchen-dining room, many small dwellings, and a growing number of free-standing and commonwall homes.

We govern ourselves with a consensus decision-making process and a Council and committee structure, with a Homeowners Association board. The HOA owns title to our common land, which we financed with private loans from members.

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.

Our small ecologically sound businesses include a permaculture plant nursery; carpentry and home construction; tool rental; solar system installation; plumbing and electrical installation; and consultants and courses in permaculture design, natural building, creating new ecovillages, herbal medicine, and women’s health. See Making a Living.

Earthaven is a living seed in which we store the best of our cultural heritage, and an incubator in which we will embrace our responsibility as humans during the impending chaos.

We will pass our mythology, technology, and community skills on to our extraordinary descendants, who will plant a polyculture of survival strategies and help cultivate a sustainable renaissance.

Through cultural exchange between tribes, they will create a world more abundant, beautiful, and peaceful than ours.

The success of our efforts today shall be measured in these terms.

—An inspirational statement written by a small group of members during our 2008 strategic planning process