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Summer 2011 Newsletter

The Toe Bone & the Tooth

an Interview of Zev Friedman by Lee Walker Warren

On May 7th a very special gathering took place at Earthaven, with members and friends come from near and far. Zev Friedman was one of the main creators. 


Lee: What is the Toe Bone & the Tooth?


Zev: It is an ancient Mayan epic myth as told by Martín Prechtel in a book of the same name (later renamed Stealing Benefacio’s Roses). My studies with him over the last seven years have given me the tools and inspiration to help create this kind of cultural gathering.


Lee: What was the intention of the gathering?


Zev: It was a ritualized story reading which was intended to be the very beginning of a multi-generational accumulation of cultural topsoil.

Participants inoculate hemlock logs with reishi mushroom spore.


We use a combination of our grief, our understanding of the ecological cycles that we live inside of, as well as the different mythologies that we come from to slowly grow a culture that knows how to take care of that which feeds it.






Lee: What did the day consist of?


Zev: First of all it’s been a long process that started months ago. With not only planning but a ‘courting’ process where every guest was visited, given appreciations, and presented with a verbal and written invitation.


The day itself consisted of an introduction, a land-based activity, and a ritualized reading of the story, The Toe Bone and the Tooth, which took about six hours and lasted until 2:30 in the morning.


Lee: What was the land-based activity?


Sacred corn planted in the Horn of Plenty field during the day of ritual and story.

Zev: One group inoculated hemlock logs. The hemlocks are dying from the effects of human activity, and that is cause for much personal and bioregional grief. We inoculated these trees with reishi mushrooms, which will help break them down into topsoil while growing a medicinal mushroom for use by our people.


The other activity was the planting of a special type of ancient corn that I received with the story from Martín. It was planted with crushed charcoal from the fire of every person at the gathering.


The metaphor of compost ran through the weekend. If we can compost the grief of the things that are happening to our people and the planet, this is then the best material for growing the next cycle of life out of.


Lee: What’s next?


Zev: This is just the beginning. There will be a follow-up gathering soon. And we hope this cultural healing will last far beyond us.


Zev Friedman is a wild food vagabond with a B.S. in Human Ecology from UNCA.  He owns Urban Paradise Gardening, a permaculture design and installation business, and co-owns Living Systems Design, along with Chuck Marsh and others. Zev grows, gathers, processes, and cooks much of his own food in tandem with a group of similarly obsessed friends.  He makes shoes, baskets, nets, bags, tools, cook pots, and furniture from wildcrafted and cultivated materials. In his spare time he writes, teaches, plays banjo, and makes up stories.




Lee Walker Warren is a cofounder of the Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood at Earthaven. She is an herbalist, writer, and manager of Imani Farm, a cooperative farm focused on pasture-based systems of animal and crop rotation. She is also Program and Promotions Coordinator for the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference.

Goodbye Will

by Arjuna da Silva


A young man appeared at Earthaven almost two years ago with a kind of golden aura around him. He came with excitement about us and what we’re doing, and with a fair amount of excitement about his own life and experiences. Some of us may have thought he would stay a short while to add to his itinerary of hip experiences, but he surprised those folks not only by staying but by getting deeply into the matrix of our community culture, connecting in his healer-documentarian way with folks all over the land, on any side of an argument, old or young. He flowed into so many corners of the community, and now it’s hard to say goodbye.


Will Rogers is leaving us and we hate to see him go. Of course we wish him the best in life—nourishing relations, eye-opening opportunities, the ability to continue to share his multiple gifts—but you can bet that a lot of us will be hoping those adventures pale in the light of his memory of Earthaven and that in the not-too-distant future he’ll return.


Will got around to helping with so many community and individual projects, learned the permaculture plant business, split cords of wood for his neighbors, recorded memorable events for community archives, wondered along with long-time members about how to solve tough problems…. We love you Will! There will always be a place for you at our table!




Arjuna da Silva helped start Earthaven, and finally lives in her earth-and-straw home. She's currently working on a musical about life in the ecovillage, continuing to develop understanding and hopefully some skill re group process, and looks forward to setting aside all these wonderful things and writing a book about it all.

The Geminis

It’s not all work, work, work at Earthaven, no matter what folks tell you. And I don’t just mean meetings!


Used to be we had Virgo/Libra parties every year thanks to Brandon and Turtle and friends. The highlight of those parties was the sushi. Smack your lips if you remember!


Nowadays there are the Gemini parties on Hut Terrace Road, a Saturday night in May or June when, as the day dims and the night comes on, members dress up in their “Alter Egos” (or, for some, “Halter Egos”), to poke fun at the reputation folks born under this sign have for being a bit, um, bifurcated in the personality zone.


Here are a couple of the best characters for Gemini 2011:




Jack & Splenda, the 'Alter Egos' of two Earthaven members.

LARPING Comes to Life


Larping stands for Live Action Role Play.....



Signs around the village read: "Come Join the battle against the Evil Wizard Delrith! who has been terrorizing Earthaven. We must go on a quest to find the Stone of Azora to stop him."



Tuesday June 14th saw the making of foam swords and weapons at the Council Hall to aid the warriors on their quest.



Evil Wizard Delrith puts up a fight.

Upcoming Events

Support our Mission!


Culture’s Edge’s expanding mission at Earthaven is to support local, affordable education for our bioregion.



June 18 & 19 (this weekend)“Living in Community”

Saturday: tours, “Writing in Community” workshop, Chikomo Marimba band

Sunday: a “generational panel” with members and our kids. Call (828) 669-0114 for details.



July 29-31. “Building Naturally (and with recycled materials!).”

Learn techniques for building your own shed, wall, gate, cob bench, etc., with Mollie Curry and Ash Aymond. Hands-on practice, camping and more. Visit

for more information.


September 17-18. Fourth Annual Harvest Festival.

The Land

Where we Live

We are growing this ecovillage in the glorious Western North Carolina mountains. For those readers who haven't been here, this is a quite accurate peek into our lush, green, summer world.



Hillside above Bellavia Neighborhood.



 Misty morning after 10" of rain.


 Local Mountains.


 Creeks amble through the landscape.


 Punch-hole cloud.


Cold frame in the early-morning light.


Troy Swift, a self-portrait by the photographer.




Earthaven's got a Facebook page.


Stay in touch with us and others interested in Ecovillage Living.


Find us here.

About Us



Lee Walker Warren is the editor of the Earthaven newsletter. She has so far survived thirteen years of community living. She came to Earthaven in 2001.






Arjuna da Silva is the assistant editor of the Earthaven newsletter and a founding member of Earthaven.




Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.


Visit our website.

Earthaven Ecovillage • 5 Consensus Circle • Black Mountain • NC • 28711
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