Earthaven Ecovillage Newsletter
July 2010

News Notes
by Debbie Lienhart, Earthaven Member and newsletter producer
 
Greetings from Earthaven Ecovillage! We're enjoying the hot, hot days of summer, with tomatoes and basil from our gardens and swimming in the creek!
 
Now you can read about Earthaven daily life in the Earthaven blog, featuring anecdotes and photos from Earthaven residents. Recent articles report on the Salvation Alley cleanup, garlic harvesting, and preventing birds from striking windows.
 
Tanya being lifted
Tanya being lifted to the song: "Tanya, you are beautiful. Tanya, you are strong. So wonderful to be with, we'll help you carry on. Tanya, hear our loving song."
Tanyn Carwyn became a full member on June 13. Since our Spring newsletter, Kaitlin Hetzner, Jonathan Swiftcreek, eli Swiftcreek, and Karen Taylor have all become Provisional Members. You can read the second installment of Jonathan's journal about being incoming member in this newsletter.
 
In construction news: The Council Hall addition, featuring a small kitchen, bathroom, and hookup of the Taylor water stove is complete! Many thanks and kudos to Todd, Darren, Brian, Greg, Paul, Geoff, and all the folks who carried it through! Rudy Ballentine and friends started building his home in the Loving Acres neighborhood and the Natural Building School apprentices have started the rubble foundation for the circular starwell in the new Village Arts Building
 
Kimchi explaining the potlatch
Kimchi explaining how the potlatch works.
Kimchi Rylander and Suchi Lathrop have been participating in Transition Asheville - a group co-creating a sustainable Asheville beyond Peak Oil. 
 
Kimchi organized a Potluck Potlatch about sharing resources on July 7. A potlatch is a way for people to pass on things they no longer need, similar to a white elephant exchange except the gifts are intended to be useful rather than humorous. The Potluck Potlatch was also attended by Earthaven members Suchi, Debbie Lienhart, Goodheart Brown, and Chiwa.
 
 
Culture's Edge and Earthaven Ecovillage are hosting a gathering on August 14 & 15 for people who are eager to use their heads, hearts, and hands to build community resiliency. See the articles about the Transition Town movement and about the gathering in this newsletter.
 
In Earthaven business news: The Southeast Wise Women are preparing for the sixth Southeast Women's Herbal Conference at Lake Eden October 1-3, Steve Torma renamed his teaching and consulting business The REAL Center, and Mihaly Bartalos and crew completed an extensive Appalachian-style railing project with mountain laurel.
 
The Earthaven office is seeking the donation of a used laptop that will be our new "networking computer hub" and offer villagers a place to surf the Internet. If you know of anyone who might like to support a growing ecovillage with an extra laptop, please ask them to consider donating it to Earthaven Ecovillage!
 
Criteria:
  • Video card: with integrated graphics
  • RAM: 2-4 GB
  • Hard drive: 160 GB or larger
  • Processor: Will consider Celerons and single-core Pentium CPUs, but prefer Core i3 processors
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows VISTA
  • Other software would be great but not necessary: Adobe Writer, Microsoft Office
  • Ports: 2 USB, Ethernet, FireWire, Memory card slots
Contact Kimchi in the Earthaven office if you have any leads!
 
Debbie LienhartDebbie Lienhart is a member of Earthaven Ecovillage living in the Village Terraces neighborhood. She is co-owner of Useful Plants Nursery, Culture's Edge secretary, and a partner in the Forest Garden Learning Center.


Thank You, Transition Towns!
By Diana Leafe Christian, Earthaven Airspinner
Ashland, OR Transition Town group
Some of my friends in Ashland, Oregon celebrating their town's Transition Initiative with a parade and floats!
 
The way I see it, Transition Towns (now called Transition Initiatives) are doing exactly what ecovillage activists always wanted folks to do.
 
Ecovillagers worldwide support local economies and/or create our own economies (sometimes using alternative currencies). We support local farmers and/or grow our own organic food. We generate our own electric power if we can. Similarly, Transition Towns (or islands, peninsulas, counties, or city neighborhoods) create their own local economies (often with alternative currencies), grow their own local food, and generate their own local power. The Transition Movement got started by applying Permaculture principles to social design. Likewise, most ecovillages, Earthaven included, are designed according to Permaculture principles.
Chuck Marsh consulting with ecovillagers in Jamaica
Ecovillages and the Transition Movement are both involved with Permaculture. Here members of Source Farm Ecovillage in Jamaica are determining their site design, lead by Earthaven member and permaculture designer Chuck Marsh (right).
 
Ecovillagers have been motivated over the last 20 years or so by hoping to make the world a better place. Similar to “putting your money where your mouth is,” we attempt to put our lifestyle where our values are. But our motivation has not been to prepare for Peak Oil and climate change, which most of us didn’t know about until a few years ago. We live this way because it seemed like the right thing to do.
 
Transition Town activists, on the other hand, are specifically responding to Peak Oil and climate change. Yet . . . their response is totally resonant with the values and lifestyles of ecovillagers. For example, here’s the vision of Transition US: “Every community . . . will have engaged its collective creativity to unleash an extraordinary and historic transition to a future beyond fossil fuels; a future that is more vibrant, abundant and resilient; one that is ultimately preferable to the present.” Well of course. That’s exactly what we want for the world too.
 
Cars running out of gas
The Transition Movement is in response to Peak Oil and climate change.
Transition Towns are seeking to live more sustainably: ecologically, economically, and socially. And ecovillages provide models — little pinpoints of sustainability in the broader mainstream culture — where Transition activists can come and see what living like this actually looks and feels like. In fact, you could say we are trying to inoculate the culture. Jonathan Dawson, past president of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and author of the book Ecovillages, writes, “Ecovillages can be likened to yogurt culture . . . small, dense, and rich concentrations of activity whose main aim is to transform the nature of that which surrounds them.”  
 
Over 100 Transition Initiatives are up and running in the United States, and as of July, 2010, you’ll find 321 Transition Initiataives on six continents — and the movement only started in 2005! Websites on  the Transition Movement exist in Portuguese, Danish, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. Ecovillages also can be found on six continents, from Europe (which has the most number per population), to Latin America (especially Argentina and Brazil), Asia, New Zealand and Australia (which has plenty, mate), and a few in Africa. North America has relatively few ecovillages relative to our population: Earthaven is one of only about six well-developed ecovillages on the whole continent.
 
I’m an ecovillage activist: in my work I advocate ecovillages and present workshops on starting successful new ones. Yet I believe Transition Towns — not ecovillages — are more likely to rapidly spread ecological values and practices worldwide. In fact, the Transition Movement seems to be the fastest-growing social/ecological movement the world has ever seen. I say, “Hallelujah!” As someone who lives off the grid and deals with buckets of compost daily — and wishes everyone everywhere would do the same for the Earth — I certainly hope this is true!
 
Diana Leafe ChristianDiana Leafe Christian  is author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. She teaches workshops on starting new ecovillages, serves as a consultant to existing ecovillages and other kinds of intentional communities, and speaks and conferences internationally. She is publisher of Ecovillages, a free online newsletter about ecovillages worldwide, and her monthly column about ecovillages appears on the homepage of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) website.  Diana lives in Earthaven’s Forest Garden neighborhood.


Building Community Resiliency in the Face of Change
by Debbie Lienhart, Culture's Edge Secretary
 
On August 14-15, Culture's Edge, Earthaven's educational arm, is hosting a weekend dedicated to building community resiliency in the face of change.
 
Engage your head, heart, and hands through Earthaven tours, workshops, demonstrations, conversation, and entertainment, all within the container of Earthaven's natural buildings, forests, and creeks.
 
Saurkraut demoThis weekend should be helpful for people involved in Transition Initiatives, considering starting a Transition Initiative, or working towards resiliency in their own communities and homes.
 
Spend the weekend or come for a day. Camping is available Saturday night, as well as before and after the weekend for extended stays. Fabulous food is available for sale on Saturday and Sunday, and you are welcome to bring your own food.
 
For more information and to register, see the Culture's Edge website.


Journal of an Incoming Member
by Jonathan Swiftcreek, Earthaven provisional member
 
Jonathan and eli Swiftcreek are on a membership track at Earthaven Ecovillage. Their search for community began in 2007 with a shared living situation in Asheville and continues on with their life at Earthaven.
 
After living in the shared house for one year, we decided we were not getting our community needs met, mostly we felt we were not part of a core group.
 
 
In October 2008, eli and I shared the news with our housemates that we would not be buying the house, and not continuing with the community.  We grieved the end of the project, dream and life, but also celebrated the new paths open to us, namely the freedom and limitless possibilities created from closing a door.  Our futures were suddenly more malleable.  With joy and relief we ended our full-time jobs, as we no longer needed to be mortgage worthy.  Our full-time efforts would now go towards finding a new place to live.
 
Our first step in the process of creating our new lives in community was to analyze the Communities Directory for any potential communities that met our criteria (see previous article), especially the ones located in the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic regions.  As we researched communities and talked to people who had lived at or visited the communities, we soon realized our list was getting short.  Part of the shortening of the list had to do with discovering more of our needs, including a community’s position on children.  For example, Twin Oaks community, in Virginia, was very attractive and interesting to us and we planned to visit but discovered their fairly strict policies regarding children.  Deeply dedicated to children and the raising thereof, they don’t take child members lightly. Members must apply for and be approved to have a child; incoming members generally need to live there for a few years and form relationships with community members before bringing children into the mix.  Though likely a conscious and important guideline for Twin Oaks, we needed more space and freedom on this issue than they were able to provide us at this time.
 
Looking back we realize that Earthaven, even though it was the closest community to our Asheville home, hadn’t made it onto our short list of prospective communities.  We hadn’t considered it because we had formed negative impressions based on some input from ex-residents living in Asheville at the time.  When we became conscious of this, we questioned our unfounded dismissal of Earthaven, and decided we had little first hand experience with which to judge it.  We committed to go on a tour and check things out for ourselves.
 
The extensive 3-hour tour just touched the surface of things and left us wanting to learn even more about the village.  At first look, Earthaven seemed to meet many of our criteria and needs, and we became hungry for more information and experience.  We read as much as we could, and planned to visit again to start meeting people.  Our enthusiasm and eagerness in learning more about life here was naturally slowed because winter was approaching which meant less social opportunities at the community.  During each visit during the winter we gradually met folks.  Our evolving perception of Earthaven became entirely the opposite of a few months before!  I couldn’t stop thinking about it, imagining and projecting a life there. 
 
We decided to give Earthaven a solid commitment of six months of living there, to test it out.  Any other communities we had been interested in, we pushed into the backs of our minds.  We endured the joyfully painful wait for May to come, when our house lease would end, and we could move to Earthaven to begin trying it out.
 
 
To Be Continued…
 
 
Jonathan SwiftcreekJonathan Swiftcreek enjoys exploring Earthaven Ecovillage as a home, and spreading awareness and enthusiasm for ecovillage life.


Village Arts Building Takes Shape and You Can Help Too!
by Arjuna da Silva, Earthaven Founder and natural building enthusiast
 
VAB foundation
Stacking foundation stones for the Village Arts Building.
An exciting development on Another Way this year has been the slow but steady progress on the Village Arts Building (VAB). Located right before the entrance to Useful Plants Nursery and the Third Creek Crossing, the VAB is the brainchild of Earthaven co-founder Paul Caron, known around Asheville as The Furniture Magician. Expanding his fully equipped woodshop to incorporate a working wood-products cooperative and an art and craft studio co-op on his leasehold has been Paul’s dream since before Earthaven was established.
 
NBS Interns and friends
Natural Building School Interns, Paul Caron (right), and friends.
Projects involving natural building become the hub of learning opportunities for amateurs and professionals alike. The Village Arts Building is now providing long-term interns and short-term students with a variety of opportunities to build naturally and take those lessons on with them. This year’s Natural Building School internship program, which includes folks from California, Alabama, New York and jolly old England, has to date included directional tree-felling, round peeled pole timber framing, basic rubble foundation work and dry-stack stone wall building.
 
Next up as the stone wall sets is a Natural Building Camp, a 6-day adventure in building with cob and compressed earth blocks that adds to the progress at the VAB. Combining the pre-made blocks with cob will allow more progress than cob alone, and will give participants an opportunity to seriously consider the pros and cons for privately and professionally building masonry walls.
 
Additional opportunities in natural building this year include workshops in other earth-and-straw wall techniques, cordwood and earthen plasters. Visit www.naturalbuildingschool.com for updated information and registration assistance.
 
The Natural Building Camp begins on Tuesday, August 24th. Registrations are being accepted for the entire 6-day camp and for the weekend only. Cost is $100 per day or $425 for all six. You can also check in with Arjuna by phone for more information at 828 669-0114.
 
Arjuna da SilvaArjuna da Silva is an Earthaven founder, Culture's Edge president, and former Airspinner. She is coordinating the Natural Building School  workshops at Earthaven this summer.


Business profile: Southeast Wise Women
by Lee Warren, Southeast Wise Women
 
SEWWTThe Southeast Wise Women (SEWW), an Earthaven-based business, holds a voice in the Southeast for the Wise Woman Tradition. A sister company to Red Moon Herbs, both companies were founded by Earthaven member Corinna Wood and are based in the Village Terraces neighborhood.
 
The Southeast Wise Women's offerings include the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference and courses by Corinna Wood, along with online forum dedicated to the Wise Women tradition in the Southeastern United States.
 
SEWW offers the 6th Annual Southeast Women's Herbal Conference
August 20th is the pre-registration deadline where the conference registration is discounted to $240 and intensives cost $35. For more information, see the conference website conference website or call 877-SEWOMEN.
Women will gather from across the Southeast at the 6th annual Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference on October 1-3, at Lake Eden in scenic Black Mountain, NC. With over 60 classes by more than 30 teachers, the weekend focuses on herbal education, nourishing foods, wholistic sexuality, and ecology. The conference, which has grown to over 600 participants over the last five years, will host special guest author, and internationally renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.
 
The weekend is designed for women to learn, connect, and deepen into the Wise Woman Tradition, which organizers describe as earth-based healing, local plants, and deep nourishment. Workshops range from beginner to advanced and cover topics such as herb walks, storytelling, classic kitchen remedies, drumming, seasonal living, and self-esteem.
 
SEWHC 2010 Conference Organizers
SEWHC organizers Lee Warren, Corinna Wood, and Ema Carmona.
The three conference organizers have been working together as a team for 5 years now. Corinna Wood and Lee Warren are both Earthaven members living and working in the Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood, and Ema Carmona is living a similar close-to-the-earth life in a neighboring community. “The conference gives us women the opportunity for a part-time living-wage income in a rural area without much opportunity for employment and allows us work that is deeply aligned with our values.”
 
Lee Warren is an Earthaven member, cofounder of the Village Terraces neighborhood at Earthaven, homesteader, and writer.

Earthaven Ecovillage • 7 Consensus Circle • Black Mountain • NC • 28711

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