The Essentials of Homesteading and Permaculture
We are living at a critical time in history. This is a time on our planet where we must learn how to live sustainably, and gain the self sufficiency to unplug, at least in part from the grid. Permaculture design is the missing element, one that we all must learn and observe. But there is another side to this story, and that is that learning to live in tune with the land is a wonderful, joyful experience. When you take the step to improve your life this way, the process itself is inherently rewarding. Your health, your confidence, and your place in the world all improve as you build your skills and grow your roots.
If you truly want to dive in and learn about how to live off the grid, to build a self-sufficient homestead, as well as earn your permaculture design certificate, the Essentials of Homesteading and Permaculture course is an opportunity like no other. Instead of a week or two crash course, we gather roughly a weekend a month over the course of nine months. Renown teachers join us, bringing the wisdom of their ancestors and their own lifetime of dedicated work.
Seeing the seasonal evolution of the homestead operation gives you more than a glimpse, it takes you through the procession of the season and gives you the space between sessions to practice your new skills. Learn to grow, harvest, and preserve organic foods. Build a tiny house, tour the natural building methods of the region, execute the permaculture design process, meet and grow with wonderful people along the way.
The Teachers and the Crafts
We begin our journey with primitive skills. In the first session you are presented with your knife, and shortly you will be sewing a sheath with Mira Brown, daughter of, local hero, carpenter/welder/jack of all trades, and gifted teacher of all of these trades including the Women’s carpentry course later in the year. Shortly we move on to friction fire with Tyler Lavenburg, keeper of ancient knowledge in materials and ecology.
Soon we’ll be cultivating Shitake mushrooms with Cailin Campbell, you will even get to take your own mushroom log home to harvest from for many years to come. Again, this time between sessions is important. Practice sets this knowledge into place and ensures you will retain it and put it to use. Cailin will also be teaching animal husbandry, some really fun stuff like the proper use of a chainsaw in forest maintenance.
Doug Elliot is a well known herbalist, naturalist, and storyteller. He joins us for the wild foods hike and always brings a vast knowledge of the local ecology and a unique sense of humor, along with a deep connection to the plant and animal life here in the Appalachian mountains.
The bulk of permaculture and permaculture design topics will be taught by our very own Natalie Bogwalker, founder, director, and revered queen bee of Wild Abundance, and Laura Ruby, owner of Yummy Yards and Curriculum Connector of the Roots Foundation. Together, they bring an incredible mix of pedagogical knowledge and on the ground experience in the Appalachian and Southeastern region.
The Self-Sufficient Homesteader
Stewarding a self-sufficient homestead means maintaining a year round supply of food, and this means being knowledgeable about growing organic food, organic food preservation, canning foods, fermented foods, how to make cheese, how to make bone broth, how to use every resource available to you in the cultivation and harvesting of livestock and gardens, up to and including tanning hides. In our outdoor kitchen, we will be covering many organic food and food preservation related topics throughout the year.
But we don’t stop there! Foraging is an important part of living off the land, and outdoor survival as well. Sustainable living means making use of resources when and where they are abundant, which is everywhere if you know where to look. Included in this essentials course is the Wild Edibles Adventure, backpacking through the mountains near Asheville, NC for three days learning of ethical, safe foraging and plant identification.
In July we attend the Firefly Gathering, the largest primitive skills gathering in the U.S. An incredible experience on its own, Firefly is an unforgettable weekend of expert teachers and hands-on courses that will undoubtedly open your mind and your circles with new skills and incredible people.
In August during the tiny house and natural building workshop, we drop in on three days of design and construction of sustainable, accessible structures, as well as a tour of Asheville and Barnardsville’s best examples of these. You will meet the people who create them, build them, own them and occupy them. You may even want to join the rest of the workshop as we build a home from the ground up.
Finally, this group will go through the full permaculture design process of of an actual homestead and receive their design certificate. If you are preparing for your own local set-up, you may even be able to enlist the group to design your land as the group project.
But whether you design your land or someone else’s, the experience and knowledge that you will use will change your life. It will empower you to know that you are capable of true self-sufficiency. You can take your life into your hands and live in harmony with your ideals and with the earth itself. We encourage you to consider your own human needs and where you can use more education and competency. If any of this sounds like it fits, then by all means come explore further with us. We would love for you to join us on this journey.