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Through an Intimacy with All of Life

What to Expect

Here are some common and hopefully helpful tidbits to help contextualize the possibility of being a resident at Earthaven Ecovillage. Reading this will help you integrate some important content.

Expectations & Challenges Disclosure:

Please be sure to read this list carefully. This is crafted over time out of direct experience. You will likely encounter one or more of these challenges. You may encounter all of them. Full disclosure of the challenges is an important part of the integrity on my end. YOU READING THEM IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE INTEGRITY ON YOUR END!

  • We aren’t living a “simple-life.” While we are close to nature we are also very very busy with all the stuff of normal life, plus the chop wood, carry water of an off grid life. THERE WILL BE PHYSICAL WORK and lots of DIY components to your life. If this is not your cup of tea, this Ecovillage is not for you.
  • The weather in the WNC mountains is unpredictable and sometimes harsh or severe. That’s doubly true in a rural environment with lots of wildness. This is likely part of the reason you’re drawn to Earthaven. It’s also a source of challenges. Rain/flooding, high winds, forest fires, and the like are a common part of life. If this is unpredictable or threatening, this may not be the place for you.
  • While there are some vegetarians in the community, many of us are also meat eaters. Most are omnivores. You may share a kitchen with meat eaters. If this concerns you, it’s likely not a great fit.
  • Earthaven is also home to a diverse mix of flora and fauna; there are many poisonous plants and snakes and we ask that you respect our biodiversity. If you are extremely allergic to poison ivy, bee stings, or snakes, we ask that you come prepared. 
  • There are wild animals including coyotes and feral cats and domestic bulls on farms. There are local and migrating bats in our area (hence the next town named Bat Cave.) There is potential danger inherent in all these creatures. For example, at some times during the year, the bats shelter in the eaves of the deck and poop on the deck.  PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS. If this scares you (because of fear of bats or fear of poop or fear of germs, or fear of whatever), consider either working with that fear or finding a more urban ecovillage.
  • Earthaven has a strict pet policy and there are no dogs allowed by short term residents. Indoor cats are ok (ONCE APPROVED) under the strict agreement that they do not go outside.
  • Earthaven can be a socially delightful place for some. For others it’s a lonely place. It depends on the approach. YOU WILL NOT FIND INSTANT FAMILY. That’s a guarantee. It takes investment and showing up and social engagement. Many of the full time Earthaven residents and members are already very full. It sometimes takes a long time to break into all the various social circles in community.
  • Social Capital is a real phenomenon. The more investment you make in the community, the more you will start to see the payoffs. At first people are cautious to get to know new folks. When they see how that person fits in and especially how they contribute, there is often more traction.
  • Cell signal is not reliable at Earthaven, no matter what provider you use. Some people love that about Earthaven – the fact that we are further from cell towers. Other people find it challenging. Many use wifi calling for all their phone and texting needs. While you will have access to internet/wifi in my apartments. THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT YOU WILL HAVE WORKING CELL SIGNAL AT EARTHAVEN.
  • The physical environment is different than what you’re used to. There is no button to push to turn on the heat easily, there are no snow plows that plow the roads, there are no municipal systems to take care of some basic needs that you might be used to, there is no janitor on staff to solve all the problems you may encounter. YOU WILL NEED DIY skills. You will need to fix a sink or repair things now and again. THIS IS IMPERATIVE.
  • We drink well water and sometimes spring water (depending on the neighborhood). These are tested semi-regularly and sometimes contain coliform bacteria due to the nature of nature. Many people love this wild water and others are bothered by it. Usually the flora of the body adjusts but sometimes it does not. Take whatever precautions to filter your water if you are concerned. THERE ARE NO SAFETY GUARANTEES AROUND THIS.

Best Practices & Attitudes:

  • It’s hard to predict what will and won’t be challenging for you on your journey in community. Therefore the best possible attitude and approach is one of learning. You will be learning at every turn. You will be an apprentice to land-based living, and community engagement, and rural economics and whatever else you’re excited about. Taking on the archetype and attitude of apprenticeship is crucial. Are you interested in that? It’s a great question to ask yourself.
  • Living Laboratory is the mission of Earthaven. We don’t have things figured out. We won’t have things figured out. If you decide you’re stepping into this journey, these are some helpful attitudes that we will discuss upon your arrival at Earthaven.
    • The 400 year cathedral.
    • We’re building the road as we travel.
    • The project is the child, not the parent.
  • Earthaven (and intentional community in general) is the best personal growth process you’ll ever go through. And honestly, compared to the cost of a four year university or a trending online personal growth program, it’s relatively cheap. You will come away from your first six to twelve months at Earthaven (whether you stay on at Earthaven or leave) with a very profound deepening of many awarenesses. That’s worth celebrating.
  • Speaking of celebrating, it’s helpful to focus on the wonderful aspects of life in community. Especially as the challenges are many. Is your sleep better? Your relationships more authentic? Opportunities for connection plentiful? Engagement with nature nourishing? Excellent!

Learning the Ropes

Earthaven Ecovillage has a complex social, economic and political environment. You will receive a comprehensive orientation as well as a New Roots handbook. Please read the New Roots handbook and ask questions in order to get oriented towards the culture here. Expect that deeper understanding will happen over a period of time.

The Adventure Begins

Staying at Earthaven is an adventure!

Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood and Earthaven are at rustic stages. We require that our guests and tenants have a fair amount of self reliance for getting their needs met. We imagine ourselves as homesteaders living in community.

We are experimenting with minimal reliance on petroleum products. This translates to spending time, money and our own life energy to create the things that are otherwise subsidized by a petroleum world. It takes more of everything to live this way.

As a tenant, it’s super helpful for you to come with the attitude of contribution, pitching in, and lending a hand, especially if things go wrong or break down in our infrastructure systems. There may be times you need to help out on a routine or emergency basis with a system or homestead issue.

Further, by being at the ecovillage you are choosing to be a pioneer on the journey with us. Rules may change, fees may change, work requirement may change. Please note that sometimes water freezes and systems break down. What you can rely on is our goodwill, fairness, dedication, and desire to see everyone’s needs met – including yours.

Welcome to the adventure.

Physical Systems

Off Grid Living: Earthaven is off-the-grid and derives its electricity from solar panels and a small hydropower station. Some noticeable differences to prepare for include: minimal outdoor lighting at night, restricted electricity use in general, dense sharing, lower wattage bulbs in living spaces, energy efficient chest fridges, boiler systems instead of on demand heat, and no porcelain toilets. Our drinking water comes from fresh springs or wells on the land and is not treated with chlorine.

Electric Power Systems:

  • General: Our power system supplies the needs for over 20 folks in our neighborhood. Overall, we manage to navigate our power needs really well. Our highest times of extra power are spring and fall. Our lowest times for power are summer (when the system is working hard to keep fridges and freezers functioning) as well as winter (when there is less sun on our solar panels).
  • Conservation: Living off grid means being mindful of the things that take excess power. There will be times when we need to conserve are times when we need to conserve energy which means shutting of high power usage items such as fans. Having access to our laptops is a high priority and the laptops take, in the scheme of things, low amounts of power. There is no guarantee that there will be power all the time and please plan for some low power days. At the same time our neighborhood exists to serve the members and residents and we do everything we can to keep things functioning.
  • Generator: We have an industrial sized generator which we use when the sun has not been shining for a while or the power demand is excessive. I cannot guarantee there won’t be times of power outage but it’s not very common.
  • Power Intensive Appliances: Any kind of gadget that HEATS or COOLS, is the most energy intensive. We prioritize energy efficient fridges and freezers as the highest power draws on our system. Please leave the following things at home when coming to Earthaven: toasters, toaster ovens, hair dryers, electric kettles, waffle irons, electric crock pots or any other electric heating appliance, curling irons, and all other things that heat. There are generally non electric replacements for all of these appliances. Check out Lehmans for alternatives. Feel free to bring your blender or food processor and/or power tools. These things take high power for short bursts and there are not off grid replacements for them.
  • Air Conditioning: We don’t have air conditioning. For most of us this is rarely a problem. In the forested mountains, the temperatures drop significantly in the evening and we use the natural cooling process outside to cool our homes by opening the windows. Closing windows and shades in the morning before the hot part of the day can keep the inside temperature significantly cooler. There are generally only two weeks in the summer that heat gets unbearable, otherwise the climate is temperate.

Toilets: One of the most noticeable differences about life at Earthaven is our composting toilets. We believe strongly in returning our fertilizer to the Earth and for this reason, there are a number of outhouses for public use. You are encouraged to pee anywhere outdoors (except near creeks, springs, trails, and paths) and to poop in the toilets. We use our completed composted “humanure” to fertilize our ornamental plants. Please see the humanure handbook online at: Please be sure to watch at least a few of these videos. It’s very important that you’re comfortable with this aspect of our lives.

Common Kitchen and Bath Cleanup Policies: Please be sure to clean up after yourself and your children in the common areas. We invite you to develop skills of tracking your impact, cleaning up after yourself, and doing some daily general cleanup. Deep cleaning is also a requirement of living at VT and sharing common space. We also encourage group cleaning policies, chore charts, mandatory cleaning days or any other creative ways to maintain a clean and orderly group house. 

Noise: We built common walled buildings in our neighborhood intentionally. The reasons include: more affordability, more sharing of common resources, the desire to share space, maintenance, and lives together. We did some major soundproofing measures when we built the VT1 building. The noise travels similarly to an apartment or condo that shares common walls. It’s possible to hear muffled speech and loud noises such as children crying is very audible.

MoldWe live in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in a temperate rainforest. Damp and mold is a part of life here – to some extent. Our home at Village Terraces is significantly less moldy than other homes for several reasons: there are no trees directly around the house, the house gets lots of direct sun, the house breathes really well, and in specific I keep my apartments very clean. I request that tenants keep up a regular schedule of prevention, ventilation, and cleaning as this is crucial to maintaining a mold free environment. I am also very sensitive to mold and with the proper protocols I am able to avoid it. I can share those protocols with you if you decide to move to earthaven.

Internet: The internet in our neighborhood is provided by a line of sight satellite system through Skyrunner. It is, generally, reliable and plentiful. Several folks share one account and don’t tend to run out of bandwidth. Many of us work from home and use skype and zoom meetings. Streaming videos regularly will use up the allotted bandwidth for the account so if that’s your habit, plan to get your own Skyrunner individual account and track your own usage. The system occasionally goes down but it’s relatively rare. Always, there are no guarantees but it’s currently the most reliable it’s ever been and one of the most dependable systems in the valley.

Food: Lots of food is available at Earthaven. Our small farmer’s market happens on Tuesday mornings. At first you will want to stock up from the grocery store and then as you get to know the people, the farms, and the systems, you’ll likely start procuring more and more on the land. Everyone still buys some things from town so you’ll need to find your own personal flow with that process. Most people have an errand day in Asheville approximately once per week.
Heat: Our neighborhood has a state of the art boiler system, radiant floor and radiator heating system and we share the chore of making fires to heat our buildings. All the residential spaces are warm much of the winter. There may be times for one reason or another where heat is out or not warm enough so come prepared for that as well. Most of the apartments have a backup propane system.
Hot Water: We heat our water through our boiler system which means we run fires in the summer to heat the water. In the past we have done three fires a week and the water is hot for some days, warm for other days, and then cool before another fire gets made. There’s always the possibility of heating water on the stove. And always the possibility of bathing in the outdoor shower and/or the creek. If you’re wanting a guarantee of always having hot water, then this isn’t the place for you. We’re homesteading and working with the cycles of nature. We balance comfort and energy use and other things.
Propane: We use propane for our cooking stoves/ovens and as backup heat. This is a nonrenewable resource and we do our best to minimize its use.

The Membership Journey

Please see this graphic for an understanding of what it takes to move to the next step in your process as a potential member of Earthaven.


Apartment For Sale

Hummingbird & Dragon Apartments are for sale as one unit.

Get More Details

Please read all of the below linked pages and fill out the application on the Next Steps page.

All Apartments For Rent….

Dragon Apartment

Studio, 2 room, 3rd floor, $625 plus $85 per adult

Hummingbird Apartment

4 room, 2rd floor, Kitchen, $925 plus $85 per adult

Goddess Apartment

Studio, 2 room, 3rd floor, $625 plus $85 per adult

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