|Changes, Changes, All Ways, Always! |
above: The mural of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, long the entry piece to the Forest Garden, finally came down after falling into disrepair. It had been a group painting inspired and led by early member Ananda Vedanta. below: Avian sentinel near the Village Center fire circle.|
Earthaven’s mission is to be a learning model of what responsible Earth-respectful people can do to shelter species, water, and themselves through the inevitable stresses of major planetary transformation. Alive and becoming more conscious at this pivotal time in our story, we have the opportunity to help evolution along, even when some of the changes are saddening. So we learn to let go of structures (or parts of them), relationships, even lifetimes when we approach our own body’s limits, and come together with as much good-natured, well-intended attitude and commitment as we can assemble.
The big changes we’ve been evolving with lately are neighborhood (or pod) re-organization, folks becoming Full Council Members after years of delay, new folks arriving who are interested in joining, and—perhaps the most transformative of all—several beloved members dying over the last few years. (More about that below.)
We’ve also had some clear seasonal shifts—the blip of a short, beautiful Spring, then Summer in May—85° temps several days in a row, then close to freezing the next night! We’ve had windy weather and, in June, a solid week of heavy rain. But, still, the lilacs bloomed, the irises disrobed, peonies opened with scents to breathe for, and the trees budded out and blossomed with their age-old, optimistic lifeblood flowing in guilds and life communities along soil-enriched, sun-drenched gardens and orchards. We can step outside, at dawn or dusk, in the lightness of the season, to garden, harvest bumper berry crops, visit or just be here! In the full sun of midday we can choose to bake our bones or wade in the creeks, or both, and in the dark of night, under mystical starry skies, we can listen to the symphony of (mostly small, but not all!) critter life.
|Some changes are hard to believe…|
|Hard to believe this is our first newsletter since January, but it’s been busy and intense all around. Yes, another beloved senior member has taken her last journey—Patricia Allison left the planet (as far as we know) on March 19, after a relatively short bout with cancer. What we will do without Patricia is still a doleful question. A beautiful funeral was held in her honor, as well as a memorial party and (true to Patricia’s spirit) a workday at Medicine Wheel, the neighborhood she began developing with her family many years ago. Meanwhile, long-time Medicine Wheel co-leader Lyndon Felps and not-so-newcomer Deborah Clark are at the helm of the Wheel, following the intensive gardening paths Patricia spearheaded and continuing to house, teach and inspire students and work-exchangers throughout the coming years. |
Patricia came to
Earthaven as a budding Permaculture teacher, teaming up with Chuck Marsh, Peter Bane and Goodheart Brown, training Earthaven members as well as quite a few folks from around the country, in the basics of permaculture design and the essentials of its application. A Texan with a passion for simplicity, she loved permaculture and teaching it, and inspired hundreds, probably thousands, of students through classes and PDCs at Earthaven, as well as at several other developing communities and conferences. She was a dedicated consensus practitioner who also taught those principles on the road and at home. above: Patricia (left) and students at Medicine Wheel.
For the sake of joy and teaching, Patricia collected songs. She laughingly referred to her favorites as her “eco-feminist spirituals.” They served as a calling in and meal-blessing when folks would circle up for dinner in the Medicine Wheel kitchen, and often had a place within her classes, and daily life. The recording she made of them in 1996 is available in digital form, for free, and on a CD for the cost of shipping. To obtain a copy, please write email@example.com. Read more about Patricia here.
|The secret life of permaculture at Earthaven|
|Patricia embraced our permaculture vision without reservation, and impressed hundreds of students and work exchangers, as witnessed by the turnout for her funeral. Meanwhile, the underpinnings and impact of those principles on everyone and everything we do at|
Earthaven might easily be taken for granted. As our regenerative culture lifestyle begins to generate distinct patterns of activity and intention, we might overlook them as the very core of who we are becoming.
right: cob bucket relay
Despite the many passions groups of EHers have embraced over the years—natural building, tiny houses; milpa farming; orcharding (a current one is racial equity)—what we all share is respect for and, even when we don’t realize it, the practice of basic permaculture, particularly learning about and protecting our environment, its creatures and each other from toxic materials; using waste products as resources, especially for building and enriching soil in a depleted landscape; and, when moving into other parts of the forest, working with the topography to maximize water, wind and other weather design features for safety, ease and redundancy. below: A group of foragers finding medicinal herbs and (on lucky days) edible mushrooms.
I’ve reported before
that we collectively fill only one jumbo trash can a week per ten or so residents, which means most of us find it acceptable to spend time collecting and sorting disposable paper and carbon-based material, tearing plastic tape off cardboard boxes, dragging the whole collection to various carbon sequestering sites (aka carbon dumps), while hoarding our poop and pee for their valuable fertilizing benefits. Though these practices may resemble the funk-loving behavior of hippie lifestyles led decades ago, they are the very essence of a permaculture lifestyle that can use all the bold and celebratory attention we can give them!
We are also blessed with both shared and secret sacred spaces, those serene or dazzling features of the landscape we pass through, or by, every day. Some, where we worship and celebrate together, are out in the open, and some are only known to a few, but all are proof of the mystery and magic we’re dedicated to preserving. Find out about becoming a Supporting Member and get our monthly calendar for notices of upcoming celebrations.
above: grape vine peace sculpture in the Forest Garden by Donna Ireland.
Coming Soon to a screening near you! GROW FOOD!
The movie about how people are saving their communities, local zone by local zone.
|Earthaven Tiny Housing Boom|
|Simultaneously this year, three new members in three different neighborhoods are working on setting up their own unique versions of the tiny house. Near the front of the property, in the Forest Garden neighborhood, Liz Diaz and Joseph Rasband have just moved into |
their creation. Joseph built the house on the trailer bed liberated when a tree fell on their trailer in 2016. In addition to a separate utility shed for their solar components and other equipment, a detachable mud room has been joined to the front door. Both Joseph and Liz are dedicated farmers, whose cows, chicken co-op and other gifts to the community continue to thrive while the construction project heads towards completion.
Donna Ireland recently relocated the magical little house to the Bellavia Gardens neighborhood that her son, Richard, built her for the purpose of living at Earthaven. An unstoppable gardener, her neighbors can look forward to her myriad contributions to the beauty, nutrition and all-over fertility of the Bellavia experience. Donna is a professional bodyworker and health educator whose Beneficial Way program will be presented at Earthaven in the near future. above: Donna and Richard stop a moment for a snapshot during his recent visit.
Also, up at Hawk Holler, Sam Del Vecchio is fulfilling his long held dreams about living lightly on the land. His tiny house project has various Earthaven experts chipping in their experience and expertise for this slightly less than tiny moveable living space.
The approximately 32'x10' (interior) space will be built with natural, non-toxic Thermacork walls that are 100% cork and completely breathable. Sam and his family (wife, Julia, and young ones Luca and Meira) came to Earthaven several years ago, finally winding up in our Eastern-most neighborhood, where Julia plans to build her little house on the very next site. An acupuncturist, Sam has several other healing modalities under his belt, but is devoting most of his time these days to his new home. above: Sam and the Thermacork.
|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.||
Held June 29-July 3, Compassion Camp was an immersive exploration of nonviolent communication (NVC), designed to foster community among a growing number in Western North Carolina who are passionate about compassionate consciousness. The Camp is a program of 10,000 Love Letters, and was
co-hosted by SOIL and Culture's Edge. Here are some shared moments:
Upcoming this year
Southeastern Permaculture Gathering
Arthur Morgan School, in beautiful Celo, NC
Every year, Gathering co-organizer Rhea Ormond, a Burnsville, NC painter and muralist, designs tee shirts for the gathering with brilliant, hand-decorated images of the year’s theme. Rhea always says it's the last year, but we keep getting lucky!
above: Shirts of many years decorate the Gathering.
This year's theme is Seeds of Our Ancestors. Chuck Marsh and Patricia Allison were major players in the Gathering, Chuck having been one of its originators along with Tony Kleese, another new “ancestor” who succumbed to cancer earlier this year. The gathering began the year before Earthaven was founded, was held here twice at the turn of the century. Many of us were delighted to go back to
AMS, though, where we can simply chip in with everyone and feel like guests too!
The Gathering is a bio-regional opportunity for social, spiritual and practical topics to help refresh and restore the practice and spirit of permaculture. It's also a wonderful vacation in a gorgeous setting!
above: This year’s design, with Chuck, Tony and Patricia.
Wild Vine Coil Basketry
with Jeff Gottlieb
A Decision-Making Framework
Saturday, September 2 • 1:30 - 5:30 pm
with Courtney Brooke
Holistic Management is for anyone who has a project that needs management and decision making. You don't have to have a 'problem' to start using this framework to get your project closer to where you want it to be. Check it out!
also with Jeff Gottlieb…
Deer Ears & Owl Eyes
…for kids of all ages!
The Magical Power of Ceremony
Sunday, Oct. 7th, 10 am - 4 pm
Be empowered in your own magic! Honor and embrace the mysterious powers of Nature and Being in a safe and natural setting. We'll be dedicating intentions, actions and creations to the highest good, while sharing ceremonial activities to highlight the spirit of magic.
DESiGN YOuR OWN NaTURaL HOUSE
with Mollie Curry & Steve Kemble
Saturday and maybe Sunday
December 1 & 2
And one last picture: River Otter tells Celtic stories at the Lammas Celebration, July 29th.
Our Mission: To create a village which is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for a sustainable human future.
This issue of the Earthaven e-newsletter
was put together by Arjuna da Silva
with help from Debbie Lienhart.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.