[Scpg] Natural Building at Emerald Earth 2005 CA

Wesley Roe and Marjorie Lakin Erickson lakinroe at silcom.com
Mon Jan 31 07:24:52 PST 2005

Dear Friends-

2004 was a good year for Emerald Earth, especially in the success of our 
first 8-week natural building training, geared towards people who want to 
be professional natural builders or owner builders. We got excellent 
feedback from our 4 participants (see below) and have decided to run the 
program again, increasing the group size to 6. We have two more hybrid 
cabins under construction (which our workshops this year will focus on) in 
addition to the four we have already completed and our 
greenhouse/bathhouse/sauna complex. We are continuing to refine our unique 
style of building, concentrating on innovative and appropriate use of local 
materials (especially clay, straw and wood) and combining multiple wall 
systems (straw bale, cob, straw-clay, etc.) for increased thermal 
efficiency and design flexibility. Our workshops present natural building 
as a holistic design science and emphasize hands-on learning. One of the 
greatest strengths of our educational program is that it is integrated into 
a thriving intentional community which focuses on sustainability, 
permaculture, organic gardening, home power, supportive childrearing, 
interpersonal skills and personal growth.

Below is a brief description of our 2005 workshops, followed by a fuller 
explanation of the 8-week program called "Natural Building in Community." 
Please help us get the word out to the people who will benefit most from 
these workshops. If you can think of anyone who might be interested (or an 
appropriate email list), please forward this message to them. If you're 
willing to post our flyer in a public location, please let us know and we 
can either mail you a copy or email you a PDF file.

We also have our schedule of free work parties for 2005, which are a great 
way to get to know the community and participate in some hands-on 
activities. The dates are April 16-17, May 28-29, July 9-10, August 27-28, 
and October 15-16.  We are also looking for long-term work exchange folks 
for a minimum of two months any time from April through October. For more 
details on any of the above, check out our web site at 
www.emeraldearth.org. Thank you so much.

peace be with you,
Michael G. Smith

P.S. Please also note our new email (workshops at emeraldearth.org) for 
inquiries about workshops or the community. I am retaining the old lorax 
address as my personal email.


Natural Building in Community
June 6- July 29
Instructors: Michael G. Smith, Darryl Berlin, and guests
Topics:  straw bale; cob; round pole framing; straw light-clay (slipstraw); 
earthen floors; natural plasters and paints; earthbags, rammed tires, 
rubble trenches, and other alternative foundations; sustainable materials 
harvesting; home power generation; passive solar design; structures and 
processes for intentional communities; and lots more about natural 
building, rural homesteading, and living and working in groups. The program 
is geared towards those who want to seriously improve their knowledge, 
skill and comfort with natural building, either to build for themselves or 
to work professionally. It runs approximately 5 days and 40 hours per week, 
including hands-on building, lectures, leadership and communication 
exercises, field trips, and personal projects.
Cost: $2800 includes camping and 3 delicious organic meals per day. Written 
application required. Group size limited to 6, so contact us now.

Natural Building Intensive
September 10-16
Instructors: Michael G. Smith, Darryl Berlin, Sara McCamant
Topics:  straw bale; cob; straw light-clay (slipstraw); wattle-and-daub; 
earthen floors; natural plasters and paints; passive solar design; and 
more. Hands-on practice in at least 8 different building techniques is 
supplemented with lecture and discussion, tours, slide shows and videos.
Cost: $500 includes camping and food. Discounts for early registration and 
for Mendocino County residents. Group size limited, so register early.

For more information or to request an application:
phone 707-895-3302 or email workshops at emeraldearth.org.
To see photos and more about the community, check out our web site: 


Natural Building in Community
June 6- July 29, 2005
instructors: Michael G. Smith, Darryl Berlin, and guests
at Emerald Earth Community in Boonville, Northern California
This is a rare opportunity to develop natural building skills in the 
stimulating environment of a rural intentional community. We take a 
whole-systems approach to ecological building, combining earth, straw, 
wood, sand and stone in various ways to create inexpensive, efficient 
hybrid structures. Each week will include 25-30 hours of supervised 
hands-on building, 2-5 hours of "classroom" time, and an individual 
research project. The group will be very small (maximum 6), allowing lots 
of individual supervision and skill-building. Participants will be 
integrated into the dynamic social context of the community, sharing meals, 
cooking and cleaning tasks, meetings, fun and games with other residents. 
The supportive learning environment will focus on developing skills not 
only in building but also in group living, leadership and communication. 
This program is recommended for people who want to take their education 
further than is possible by attending short workshops or by training in a 
single technique, especially for owner-builders and for those working 
towards a career in natural building. No previous experience is required.

Things you will learn:
o Straw bale
o Cob
o Round pole framing
o Straw light-clay (slipstraw)
o Earthen floors
o Natural plasters and paints
o Earthbags, rammed tires, rubble trenches, and other alternative foundations
o Sustainable materials harvesting
o Home power generation
o Passive solar design
o Structures and processes for Intentional Communities
o and lots more about Natural Building, rural homesteading, and living and 
working in groups

Cost and registration:
The 8-week program costs $2800, including instruction, on-site camping, and 
organic, mostly vegetarian meals. We require a written application, and 
encourage a visit to the community to meet the instructors and other residents.

For more information or to request an application:
phone 707-895-3302; email workshops at emeraldearth.org.
To see photos and more about the community, check out our web site: 

What last year's participants said about the program:

The hands-on aspect of the program was great - sufficient time, and a lot 
of different methods covered. I enjoyed all of the lectures, and I can't 
think of a major topic that I would have wanted to learn about that was not 
covered. The field trips were great. The individual projects were extremely 
useful. I was amazed with how much you managed to cram into eight short 
weeks! -MB

Michael Smith's ability to organize and deliver information is unrivaled, 
while Darryl Berlin's method is founded in his connection to the land. 
These are soulful teachers who walk their talk. Add in conversations with 
the community and you end up learning about everything from wild grasses to 
rocket stoves! A large part of my learning experience came from simply 
living in the Emerald Earth community. Each day I could feel another layer 
of cynicism about the desperate state of politics and the environment slip 
away. This is a profoundly beautiful place. I slept outside under an oak 
tree, the stars, and the moon. I ate the healthiest diet of my life, most 
of it grown by the community. -MM

I really enjoyed the opportunities to work on my leadership skills.  I had 
enough time to see myself change from uncomfortable to confident in the 
role of teacher and leader, which was an empowering process.  I feel I 
walked away from the program a completely new person, rich with newfound 
knowledge, full of excitement and inspiration, with new clarity on my path 
in life. -BD

Since completing the apprenticeship, I've led two natural building 
workshops. Both went really well and I know i wouldn't have been 
comfortable leading them if it hadn't been for this program. I have also 
had paid natural building work as a direct result of contacts I made at 
Emerald Earth. I would do it all over again without hesitation. It was by 
far the best natural building educational experience I've ever had. I also 
started some really nice friendships that I hope will last a long time. -MJ


More information about the Southern-California-Permaculture mailing list