View as Web Page Subscribe Unsubscribe
Earthaven Ecovillage
Spring Equinox 2017
Winter Weather… or not!
above: This year’s first snow, about 8” in January, was poetically beautiful and rather quickly gone.
Monday it gets warm, up into the 70s, and by Wednesday it freezes after midnight. Again. Cold wind slices through the sun’s bright warmth and we lean out of its way; next, it’s gone and we’re pulling off sweatshirts. If snow doesn’t come again, which it might, we’ll be wading in the creeks by the end of the month!
This exquisite weather is nonetheless worrisome because of how the disrupted patterns may cause even more disruption—and also because the huge climate mutations going on all around us ask us to direct our attention to what we can do to support ourselves and others in environmentally and socially useful ways. So far, our lifestyle choices strongly support renewables and movements that resist the continuation and expansion of fossil fuel extraction.
left: Quince bloomed early at the Earthaven neighborhood called Dancing Shiva.*
We wish all our readers a healthy and encouraging Spring. We hope many of you will come visit, take a tour, enroll in a workshop, get your Permaculture Design Certificate and definitely drop us a line to share news from your neighborhood.

Here at Earthaven, residential neighborhoods are reinventing themselves as “pods,” slightly more independent units of interwoven legal entities that have most of the same ecological and unitary guidelines as before, but are taking more individual responsibility for designing their purposes as embracers of the Earthaven vision.
Amidst so many changes within and beyond the community, we continue to treasure our opportunity to learn and practice conscious connection to life, land and each other!
 *Dancing Shiva is dedicated to teaching Tantra—an inclusive spiritual practice—to all folks and, in particular, the queer community, through workshops and individual retreats in the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica, and through satsangs and written material. For more information, email                
Beloved Member, Friend, Community Leader
Kimchi Rylander passes away at 56
by Sarah Anne Amazon

Kimchi Rylander came into my life 10 years ago at the Southeastern Permaculture gathering in Celo, NC. In the last year of her life, we were on "The Divine Feminine" committee for the gathering and when we met she would share her perspective, saying, "This is not ‘my cancer,’ this is ‘our cancer’ and what is playing out in my body is what is being done to our momma Earth!"
When she received the terminal diagnosis, she said, “I'm dying and the cancer has spread throughout my body. So I want to work on dying well and supporting a positive death-ing culture." I still remember feeling such awe and inspiration, mixed with sadness and curiosity.
A few other examples of how Kimchi held up the light of her wildly creative heart in the face of death and said, "I'm going out with style!":

– She decided to have a "give-away" because it was so important to her to share the stories of each precious object that might live beyond her.
– She created a "Guess which day Kimchi will croak?!" raffle, the proceeds going towards positive education about death.
I was blessed to be a part of a loving transition team as a death doula during her final weeks at Earthaven. As the cancer took over her body, she spoke much less, and when she did speak it was softer and slower. During one visit with friends she said, "It's all about love; really, it's all about love." She was visited by a river of loved ones who were eager to share their gratitude and love with her.
Kimchi found comfort in being able to walk on her own until the day before her transition. She also wanted to send out a community voicemail I wrote down for her: "It's time for me to go, and I've had a wonderful time in this play box of life. I was happy to do things together, but I have new projects awaiting me…."
left: Kimchi's funeral procession.
Kimchi passed surrounded by loving witnesses, holding her sister Bridget's hand. Her body was planted back into the Earth she loved so much on the exact day of her 56th birthday. In her honor, a song group continues to gather to send support during the 9-month Gestation Period some believe it takes to die and travel to the Land of the Ancestors. 

May we long remember the ways Kimchi challenged and inspired us, feel more alive as we remember the unique expression of her life, and sing gratefully and often in her memory.

above: At Kimchi's orchard gravesite.
Earthaven neighbor Sarah Anne Amazon is a dedicated meditator who loves to attend extended retreats, including with prisoners, and to support the little people for a better world. She also loves Nature, cooking, dancing, singing and NVC.
New Micro-hydro Plant Amps Up
Adds Power for Two Neighborhoods
above: Spillway at the new micro-hydro installation.
At long last, the second micro-hydro station at Earthaven is up and running, serving the delighted residents of Medicine Wheel and Bellavia Gardens neighborhoods.
Through an ingenious design by neighbor Leon Birstein, each neighborhood is served differently so that their residents’ not-quite-adequate solar arrays are boosted and bolstered by the steady flow of creek water through the landscape.
Suiting the different ways our neighborhoods are set up—one with a large common house and the other with several separate homes—Medicine Wheel’s micro-hydropower is constant, while neighbors' batteries at Bellavia Gardens are boosted at intervals during the day and night with modest but adequate backup charges.

The dream of a second micro-hydro station has been alive since Earthaven's first micro-hydro was built in the Village Center in ’96. The first station serves the Village Center and Hickory Knob, home of the White Owl, and has been known to offer backup power to several nearby homesites.
right: Travis Robb treads carefully beside the trench that will direct more power into his Bellavia Gardens neighborhood. 
Teens at Earthaven

Soon several young folks at Earthaven will be turning 18, an age we’ve often considered time to wonder about their relationships to formal membership. As we consider the possibilities, it was timely to receive Aidan’s essay (excerpted below).
right: Not long ago, three Earthaven teens—Bailey Baehr (now 15), brother Brandt (now 18) and Dylan McBridewood (17 next month)—still had plenty of time to hang out together at home.
Teen-centered activities at Earthaven can be spare, especially with the call of social groups, academia and creative opportunities in the nearby population centers of Black Mountain and Asheville. Thanks to neighbor Griffin Abee’s leadership, most of the teens participate in her teen yoga classes at the Full Circle zendo next door.

above: Teens at Earthaven now flip their lids for yoga.
A Young Teen’s View of Earthaven
by Aidan O'Hare

Earthaven has 330 acres. About 40 are devoted to farmland, and 50 to neighborhoods and their gardens. So there are more than 200 acres in forest! I like living there because it feels like a world inside of the world. When I was little I thought it was normal to live in the middle of a forest with lots of friendly people. One time I was exploring the woods with my friends and we got lost. Don't worry, we found our way! I think it’s really cool we had the opportunity to get lost, as well as woods to get lost in!

I was homeschooled most of my life. It was really fun. There were barely any rules, and we went on plant walks almost every day. Our lunch was an hour long and, in addition to that, there was an hour-long free time. Some of us were in second grade in reading and fifth grade in math. Or the opposite. We were all different and we learned at our own pace.
right: Aidan’s first year in homeschool.
Our parents taught in turn each day of the week, one subject the whole day. We learned things in fourth grade people learn in high school or college, like anatomy. We were way ahead in some places and way behind in others.

We had chores at the end of the day. Each person had their own job and everyone knew what to do. There were only four of us in our homeschool then, but nowadays, there's 13 toddlers running around!
Sometimes I close my eyes and Earthaven feels like a dream. There are farm animals to hang out with, and berries straight off the bush, but it’s the people that sum it all up! So many people have to be willing to live together in a successful way. Working together to create a community, we’re like cells working to make a body, to make a better world.
Aidan O’Hare, almost 13, is one of several teens to start attending local charter schools this year. Excited to meet more of their peer groups and have access to a wider range of educational possibilities, their reports are upbeat and reassuring. A longer version of Aidan's essay was written for a recent 7th grade assignment.
Want to learn more?
Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living and demonstrating holistic, sustainable culture. Since 1995, we have grown to 55 full and associate members, from twenty-somethings to elders, plus infants, young children and teens. We hope to grow to at least 150 people. We're just 30 miles from Asheville, NC.
Upcoming Events
Featuring a wide variety of workshops from Culture’s Edge plus two extended weekends—the 2nd Bi-Annual Restorative Culture Conference (June 1-5) and Quantum Wisdom: A Council of Conscious Beings, with Whapio (June 30-July 2)…
…and from SOIL (the School of Integrated Living): Permaculture and Ecovillage trainings and experiences and (back by popular demand!) Stitchdown Shoemaking workshop with Michael Ismerio.
More details below.
Culture's Edge welcomes you on
Earth Day – April 22
Seeking Health & Well-Being
in the Wifi Age - 10:30 am
with Mary Anne Tierney, RN, MPH
In the morning, meet public health educator Mary Anne Tierney for an important presentation about the health hazards of wifi technology, especially for school children, along with some potential solutions.
10:30 am in the Council Hall. Donations appreciated.
Mary Anne is the NC Safe Tech 4 Schools Coordinator of the Environmental Health Trust. RSVP by phone (828 669-1965) or by email.
Toward A Perennial Plant Based Agriculture - 2:00 pm
with Bill Whipple
In the afternoon, Professor T. Bud Barkslip (aka Bill Whipple) invites nut and fruit lovers to a cutting edge presentation on transitioning our world back into a perennial plant-based agriculture through simple horticultural skills that work with nature’s intelligence. Program includes: seed and clonal grafting for improved native species genetics (demonstration); transitioning woodlots into highly productive orchards; processing potential of native nuts; implementing a cooperative of nutteries.
Donations go to the Acornucopia Project, a community accessible nut processing facility in Asheville. Please RSVP by phone (828 669-1965) or by email
The School of Integrated Living

SOIL presents:

Internal stitchdown shoes


Shoemaking with
Michael Ismerio

Learn to make Internal Stitchdown Shoes with Vibram Sole from a seasoned professional. Not only will you have the skills to make leather shoes, you will walk away in a pair you made yourself! $350–$425 sliding scale. Register at the SOIL website.
The Roots of Belly Dance
Self-Healing, Divine Connection and
Tribal Dance
with Michelle Dionne
Saturday, May 20, 10 am – 4 pm  
Earthaven Council Hall

Learn and practice movements that activate and circulate your creative life-force energy, providing power for healing and connection with the energy of the Divine.
Early-bird $75; after May 6, $95. Register at:
2nd Bi-Annual Restorative
Culture Conference

at Earthaven Ecovillage

June 2-4

Plus pre- and post-conference intensives June 1st & 5th.
Restorative Circles, Non-Violent Communication and Spiritually based Economics woven into three tracks of mini-workshops and Open Space sessions to discover, network and support each other in creating restorative culture and communities. Learn more at Culture’s Edge.

Old friends and new come together for our second gathering, to share experiences, strategies and skills in communication, justice and economics, as we learn to live in the world as we’d love it to be.
The Conference is an experiment in the process of financial co-responsibility. Learn more at the Culture’s Edge website.
The School of Integrated Living


Permaculture and Ecovillage Immersion
June 10–August 11

Learn how to make informed and responsible choices for your basic needs, forge authentic relationships with yourself, others and Earth, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable and just world.
Early bird rate available until March 31
Register now!
Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) 
June 12-30

Gain experience in systems thinking and practical tools that deepen your leadership and strengthen your ability to address the complex biocultural challenges facing the world.
Early bird rate available until April 14
Register now!
Earthaven Experience Week
June 17-23

Want to feel fully alive and more connected to the world around you? Immerse yourself in an eye-opening and highly supportive learning environment where you can see regenerative systems in practice, permaculture and food production in action, and community living on an up-close and personal level.
Early bird rate available until May 1
Register now!
Quantum Wisdom:
A Council of Conscious Beings
with Whapio

June 30 - July 2
Life transitions and rites of passage are intimately connected to states of consciousness and our potential to evolve. Whapio returns for an entire weekend to take us further into the mysteries and marvels of embodied life on Planet Earth! Theories, practices, scientific data, and more….
$175 earlybird registration by May 19 or $195; Friday evening alone, $25. More information at
Whapio has been an Independent Midwife for over 30 years, attending women and families in birth and educating women in the Arts of Midwifery and Healing. She also teaches Homeopathy and is affiliated with HANA (Hahnemann Academy of North America). Her website is the Matrona.
More One-Day Workshops from Culture’s Edge
Register at:
Saturday, July 22nd
Wild Bark Basketry with Jeff Gottlieb
Join Jeff for afternoon of natural creativity, learning to make useful, beautiful containers from standing trees. 1-5 pm in the Council Hall. Limited to 14 participants. $35
Saturday, August 26
Earth Art with Rhea Ormond
A day of environmental art projects using natural, found and created items to express the mystery and marvel of Nature.*
Saturday, September 2
Shadow Work for Social Activists 
with Giles Carwyn and Bridget Benton* 
Sunday, September 3
Utensil Carving and Knifecraft
with Jeff Gottlieb*
*Details available soon at the Culture’s Edge website.
also from SOIL
Ecological & Natural Building

August 16-20
Learn about characteristics of the most common natural materials and techniques for designing a building that is ecologically sound. Experience natural building techniques, such as cob, earthen plasters and paints, with your own hands.
Early bird rate available until June 1

Mission: To create a village which is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for a sustainable human future.
Visit us online at
This issue of the Earthaven e-newsletter was brought to you by Arjuna da Silva and many neighbors and residents of Earthaven Ecovillage.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: If you are computer savvy and are interested in a chance to live at Earthaven for a year, Culture's Edge may have a spot for you! Call (828 669-1965) or email us.
We look forward to greeting you again with news from the front lines in a couple of months! Please send any comments and ideas for future issues to <>.

Earthaven Ecovillage  |  5 Consensus Circle  |  Black Mountain, NC 28711  |

Subscribe  •  Preferences  •  Send to a Friend  •  Unsubscribe  •  Report Spam
Powered by MyNewsletterBuilder