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Through an Intimacy with All of Life

When You Arrive

Orientation to Your New Home at VT & EH

Earthaven Related:

  • Contact Directory:
  • Accounting & Fees:
    • Short Term New Roots Fees Form here. Please fill this out and submit as soon as you arrive.
    • Leap Sheet 
    • Both of the above can be found in the mail trailer near the Council Hall.
    • Earthaven Community Associate Spreadsheet for tracking dues and leap payments. (you may not yet be on here, but will be soon. You can use this to check and see where you are with Leaps and Fees.)
    • Any fees and leaps that you don’t pay will fall on Lee to pay. Please be timely and responsible. If you default then future tenants will need to pay fee and leap deposits.
  • New Roots Information:
    • Link to the NR Handbook (please review this and bring any questions to the NR Orientation)
    • Contact Sam when you arrive at Earthaven for an in person and one on one orientation. Sam is at:
    • Plan on attending all New Roots Check-ins in the first six months of your life at Earthaven. They happen regularly (ideally monthly but sometimes less often). Stay tuned by email for schedule.
    • The Journey of the New Root can be found here and is an important part of orientation. Please familiarize yourself with this map.
  • Calendar:
    • Link to the EH Calendar (This info can also be found in hanging in physical from in the CH on the white boards)
  • Listserve:
    • You will be added to the Earthaven Social Listserve when Lee emails Martha and requests you to be added.
    • Go to and look for an email. This is the address:
    • Since you are new to the group, your first post must be an introduction of yourself, including name, email address, relationship to the community, and anything else you want to share about yourself.

VT Related:

  • Address:
    • 19 Benchmark Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711
    • VT1 except for Corinna’s units is all 19 Benchmark Road. Pokeberry is 21 Benchmark Road.
    • Mail arrives at the locked mailbox by the trash bins. Someone from VT grabs it and distributes it to VT.
    • Packages through the USPS can come directly to 19 Benchmark. They will either leave a key in the mailbox that goes to the larger package area or they will leave in the purple box.
    • The code for the Purple Package Box is 2242.
    • Packages from Fed Ex or Amazon or UPS will need to have the following:
      • Either specific instructions to leave it at the purple box (written right into the address) or…
      • Have it sent to:
        • Your Name
        • Purple Package Box
        • 28 Another Way
        • Black Mountain, NC 28711
  •  Workdays:
    • Please put the first Monday of each month in your calendar for the VT workday from 9am to noon.
    • If you are unable to attend, please hire someone in your place or ask for an assignment to make up the work another time in that month.
    • Make sure you record your hours on the chart that Debbie will show you.
    • If you have missed a workday for a month, please submit $45 extra in your next rent check.
    • Please don’t make me chase you for this. Be responsible. It takes everyone to upkeep the village.
  • Internet Passwords:
    • VT 1 DSL, Password: southeastwisewomen
    • VT Guest DSL, Password: not4kids
    • At a Distance Skyrunner: 7672104jse
  • Email Addresses of Individual Members:
  • Listserve for VT:
  • VT Rules & References. This is probably for later on when you might be more interested in the inner workings of the neighborhood.
    • Complete VT Rules & Guidelines here.
    • Complete VT References here

Utility Related:


  • Jonathan hosts and manages the Skyrunner high speed satellite internet at VT.
  • It has a maximum limit usage. Please limit streaming or download activity. Save that for when you are in Asheville or someplace else with unlimited bandwidth. Please check with Jonathan regarding the monthly limits.
  • If there are three tenants in Lee’s apartments, please pay Jonathan $25 per person per month for the internet. You can PayPal him at 


  • Please reach out to Bob for a Utility Orientation within a few days of your arrival.
  • Earthaven and VT are off-grid, which means we are running all of our electricity through solar panels or micro-hydro.
  • NEVER leave lights or fans or other electric items running when you leave your apartment.
  • Please be mindful of conservation. You may be asked to conserve, especially in times of lower power. Spring and Fall are usually times of more abundant power. Summer (due to the load of freezers and fridges and the regular cloudy days and rain) and Winter (due to less sunlight on the solar panels) are when conservation is needed.
  • Please begin to think like a person who lives off grid, which means a change in mindset.
  • We have limited capacity for electric appliances and we share electricity with many other people. Please be mindful of what you’re bringing to live with you.
  • Do not bring the following appliances to VT or EH:
    • Electric Car
    • Dryer
    • Dish Washer
    • Blow dryer
    • Toaster of any kind
    • Salt Lamps
    • High energy light bulbs (halogen or incandescent). Bring LED only.
    • Air conditioner
    • Heater of any kind
    • Refrigerator or Freezer
    • Microwave
    • Slow Cooker or any kind of electric cooker
    • Air Filters
    • Desktop Computers
    • Large Monitor
  • The following appliances are ok to bring:
    • Laptop
    • Fan
    • Cell Phone Charger
    • Lamps (with LED or Compact Florescent bulbs which are low wattage).


  • Water itself is a fairly abundant resource in the temperate rainforests of WNC.
  • Hot water however isn’t as abundant, especially when living with 20+ other people.
  • Showers are a more efficient use of hot water than baths. Bathtubs are inherently inefficient.  Filling a bathtub uses more than half of the 120 gallons of hot water available to the residents of VT1 at any given point in time, leaving insufficient hot water for the other residents. 
  • Given that baths are an inequitable luxury, a suggestion that we’re considering is to recommend no more than 1 bath per week. Stay tuned to see how efficient our boiler is as we assess this.


You will be required to participate in the heating rotation for the neighborhood. All of Lee’s apartments generally share a day per week in the winter for operating the heating system. Hummingbird is twice the size of either Goddess or Dragon so on a monthly basis Hummingbird would take two days a month to 1 day a month each by Dragon and Goddess. If there are no tenants in certain units, the other unit holders would cover those days.

Common Space Related:

  • If there is one mind meld I could give all new people coming to community it would be the TRACK YOUR STUFF program. 
  • Common spaces need the care of every single person engaging with them or they can deteriorate into chaos, mess, and unkemptness. 
  • You are responsible for your own and your children’s’ impact on the common spaces.
  • It’s very important to me that my tenants contribute to the respect, order, wellbeing, and cleanliness of the common spaces. Specifically I am asking you to be impeccable around your impact on the common spaces. 
  • That translates to tracking all of your own personal items at all times and make sure nothing of yours is left behind in common spaces.
  • If there is invitation for personal items in common space such as a towel hook or shelf for bathroom or food items, please make sure things are clearly labeled and contained.
  • A great rule of thumb is to clean one thing in addition to your own because there may be times where you forget to wash something and someone else does your share. Taking care of one extra thing equates to caring for the collective.
  • Regarding the SHOP and any collective tools:
    • If you are absent minded or unable to track – please do not use the shop or common tools.
    • ALWAYS put tools back where you found them immediately after use.
    • NEVER leave tools lying around.
  • This is our long term home. Anything you can to do to minimize negative impact and maximize or enhance positive impact is encouraged.
  • Regarding Pets. 
    • Earthaven’s Covenants provide this about pets: “Domestic animals, including pets, on the Property must be confined or under control by humans at all times.” (`The Property’ includes all land within the borders, whether within a neighborhood or part of Earthaven commons.)  More details here.
    • Also, this decision was passed by our Council process on 8/14/22. It is the new official policy. “Only Provisional Members, Full Members, and HOA full members are welcome to apply to have a pet dog at EH. This excludes visitors, STNRs, and LTNRs from having a pet dog.”

Working with Nature:

Passive Solar

  • All of our buildings face South and our roof lines and windows are designed to let in maximum sun in the winter and minimum sun in the summer, thereby taking advantage of the natural flow of heat and light when needed.
  • As such, please open curtains during the day in the winter to maximize the heat and light from the sun. And close curtains at night to keep in the warmth.
  • As such, please close curtains during the day in the summer to maximize the coolness and open windows during the night in the summer to bring in the cool air.


  • Principles:

    • Western North Carolina is a temperate rain forest and stays damp throughout the warm season months. Mold is highly manageable however and nothing to be afraid of. 
    • Mold is a non issue in the winter months both because mold exists in a very specific temperature range that likes NEITHER the freezing temperatures nor the warm/dry heat inside buildings.
    • VT has removed most all of the trees surrounding both buildings. This reduces the moisture content of the buildings significantly and we do not tend to have a problem with mold other than surface manifestations.
    • If there has been a water leak in the roof or in pipes and water has accumulated, these are areas of concern and should be cleaned and dried thoroughly.
    • Our off grid systems prevent us from running air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and ozonators which are all helpful with the eradication of mold. 
    • Mold tends to be the worst in our area is August and September, especially after a rainy summer and before the heat gets turned on in the cooler weather. 
  • Protocols:

    • Surface mold is easy to deal with. Washing with vinegar, detergent, citrisolve or other non toxic agents is usually enough.
    • Fabrics, paper (books), leather, and cloth furniture tend to attract and hold moisture. These are the things that need tending in the hot/wet weather.
    • Sunshine is your friend. One day in the hot sun can do wonders.
    • Getting into the habit of shutting the windows when it’s raining prevents excess moisture from building up in your living space.
    • A complete MOLD PATROL document is available here. 


Collective Care:

You are now a resident of a collective. Your attention and awareness are important aspects of that that you’re requested/required to develop. Please be mindful of the following:

  • Attention Please: Access to all the shared ownership here also implies responsibility. Please be mindful of areas that need to be fixed, concerns about safety hazards like stinging insect nests, tools left outside that might need to be moved, and anything else that could use attention. When in doubt, inform someone.
  • Rural Living: VT and EH are at rustic stages. We require that our Tenants have a fair amount of self-reliance for getting their needs met. Please imagine yourselves as homesteaders living in community. 
  • Off-grid Systems: Sometimes off-grid systems are viable when the town grid goes down. But it’s also true that sometimes water freezes and systems fail. What you can rely on is our goodwill, fairness, dedication, and desire to see everyone’s needs met – including yours. Welcome to the adventure. There may be times you need to help out on a routine or emergency basis with a system or homestead issue. Please cultivate a “pitch-in” attitude.
  • Toilet System: There is no indoor flush toilet available for Tenants. Tenants will use a composting toilet system shared in the common bath or the outhouse. Maintenance of the humanuare bins is a neighborhood activity.
  • Snow: Tenants are responsible, along with other residents of the neighborhood for any snow removal.

Important Info From Your Lease:

  • Decks will remain clean and clear and orderly. No storage of any kind on decks including boxes, furniture, equipment, etc. are allowed up against the house, per our occupancy agreement. Shelving is the only exception and only if the shelves remain orderly and don’t block pathways.
  • Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the house.
  • Candles and incense are not allowed in the house. (We have had many close calls at Earthaven with guests, interns, and visitors nearly burning down buildings.) There are many families dependent on this building as their home. You are responsible for your own heater and keeping flammables away from it. You are provided with a fire extinguisher in your own space and there will be access to one in the common spaces. Please learn how to use it in case of an emergency.
  • The small kitchen in your apartment is designed as a small-use kitchen, often called a “tea” kitchen. It has wood floors, no ventilation, and limited space. Plan on cracking open the door or using the fan while cooking to vent any fumes (many apartments don’t have vents for ranges). Also, plan on preparing large meals, major frying, or other stinky/messy meals downstairs in the common kitchen.
  • Tenants will use biodegradable products including soaps, shampoos, dish detergents, etc. Tenants will be conscious of the toxic nature of any substances used in our house and greywater system. Tenants will be sure to transition to non-toxic substitutes before moving to Earthaven.

Other Important Info:


  • Learn how to park in between the t-posts at VT in a compact way so that other cars have space. No foul parking please.
  • No more than one vehicle per person in the VT neighborhood.


We have the following expectations around children at VT. 


While we don’t have official quiet hours at VT, we tend to follow land-based routines of sleeping in the night and working in the day. Please be mindful of noise between 10pm and 8am.


Using pee jars in your apartments makes lots of sense for lots of reasons.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Be very mindful of where you place them and DO NOT SPILL THEM EVER! Do whatever you need to do to prevent spillage on wood floors or carpets. 
  • It’s always nice to have a 3 or 5 gallon bucket outside of the third floor rooms for dumping and then you only have to carry that one bucket down maybe once a week.
  • Do not use sawdust to dump pee into. I use this system on occassion for visitors who might otherwise be squeamish. But for daily use this takes up too many resources (time consuming to go get the sawdust) and uses way too much mass in our compost bins.
  • Straight up pee is full of nitrogen and is awesome for our humanure compost bins. Please dump your bucket of pee directly into the compost bin that has a green/go sign on it.
  • Please empty the buckets into the Humanure bins only. Otherwise it will kill the grass because of so much concentrated urine.


You will be assigned space in a chest FRIDGE (we convert chest freezers to fridges) and likely be sharing that with one or  more people. 

Please don’t expect to get freezer space as the freezer is old and won’t be replaced. That being said, ONE THIRD of the freezer by the common kitchen (on the North Deck) is available for use by Lee’s tenants as long as it’s still functioning. Please figure out how you will share this space. More freezer space can be rented from Leon and Geni. Ask around.

Disillusionment is Part of the Process…

Here are some thoughts that might help guide you in your entry:

  • The Journey from  Projection to Intimacy requires the process of Disillusionment.
    1. Hopeful phase: You’re here because you’ve projected onto this project the idea that you’ll have a better life and you’ll meet some significant needs. Projections is what humans do. This is the nature of incarnation. You will likely meet many of those needs you were hoping to meet. And hopefully you will have a honeymoon in the process.

    2. Sobering phase: You will also go through a disillusionment phase where things you were hoping for will not come to fruition. It may be disappointing and painful to realize the some of the things you hoped were true are not.

    3. Intimacy phase: If you end up staying in community and are able to work through  the sobering and disillusionment phase, it will give way to real intimacy. A deeper truth, a deeper understanding, a real sense of connection. With yourself. With this place. With this project. With the people. A sense of realness and depth and dynamism will take emerge. Regardless of whether you stay and make this your home you will have a sense of a more deeply embedded life.

Self Care:

  • Above all else, take care of yourself. Specifically rest and integrate. Make allowance for yourself to adjust. Treat yourself with patience, grace, ease, and generosity as you move into a new world. 
  • Follow your yes and find out what lights you up and excites you about community. Follow the golden thread of your own passions.
  • Even if you leave Earthaven in the short or medium term you will have learned a ton. That’s a huge part of what life is about. Discovering what we don’t want can be as valuable as discovering what we do want. Learning is everything. Your time here will serve you. Enjoy it.

Helpful Attitudes:

Let’s discuss:

  • 400 Year Cathedral
  • The Project is the Child, not the Parent
  • We’re Building the Road as We Travel

Social Navigation Tips:

  • Everything is an experiment. Get creative.
  • Don’t take things personally.
  • Expand your capacity for discomfort.
  • Best approaches for making friends at Earthaven: “How can I contribute?” and “How can I learn?”

Long Term Success at Earthaven

Please see the mission and goals of Earthaven Ecovillage here.

In order to help you understand and integrate the 13 areas of importance at Earthaven Ecovillage, represented by the 13 goals, here are some statements to review. Please frame these in terms of questions to ask yourself. This will help you and others determine how aligned you are with the strategic direction of the community.

As you deepen your relationship to these critical core values of the village, specifically in the context of your areas of strengths and interest, this can be supportive of your Earthaven journey and determination if this Ecovillage is a fit for you. 

Goal 1: To catalyze local and global change through learning, teaching, and networking

  • I support educational programming to have transformative impact 
  • I support the creation of facilities to support our educational efforts
  • I support the utilization of our alternative lifestyles as educational opportunities
  • I support reaching out to and bringing in the public
  • I support our members in teaching their knowledge and skills
  • I support timely, high quality and affordable membership education in areas determined by community agreement
  • I support demonstrating the integration of life skills, sustainability, and education as an example for others
  • I am dedicated to being a life-long learner, learning from my mistakes, and seeking guidance from those who have traveled this path
  • I support growing mutually supportive relationships with historically marginalized communities, including the appropriate offering of our resources and experiences in support of the efforts of these communities
  • What are the areas within this goal that you are most active in, if any?

Goal 2: To shift from wasteful to regenerative use of resources

  • I understand how to live well with off-grid electricity and water
  • I consider the impact and lifecycle of the materials I use and waste I create
  • I use and am a part of developing ecologically sound technologies for water, waste, energy, construction, and other essential systems
  • I support the building of common infrastructure that is multifunctional when possible to meet diverse needs

Goal 3: To develop and support a thriving local economy

  • I participate in the exchange of local goods and services
  • I spend resources as locally as possible
  • I value and support alternatives to US dollar exchange
  • I support the entrepreneurial efforts of our community members
  • I create living-wage employment opportunities on the land for residents
  • I support promoting Earthaven as a model of sustainability
  • I support investing in common infrastructure (physical, social, and organizational) that meets our collective needs
  • I support enacting strategies to acquire capital for the community infrastructure we choose

Goal 4: To grow, raise, trade and use our own food, fiber, medicines and forestry products in an ecologically regenerative, bioregional culture and network

  • I am developing a realistic understanding of the sustenance needs and regenerative production potentials of our valley over time
  • I attempt to meet my sustenance needs in a way that accounts for relational, ecological, social, cultural, economic, and equity considerations
  • I recognize the inherent economic bias against small farmers in the context of the global food economy
  • I support adopting support structures to enable long-term success for farmers and land stewards in our valley, and in our bioregional network (i.e. cost expectations, incentives, policies, cultural norms, and personal support)
  • I support matching production strategies with land characteristics and support villagers in producing food in appropriate ways, scales, and places
  • I support and honor villagers who are dedicated to a life-way of “feeding” our village through food, medicine, forestry products, and fiber
  • I honor the reciprocal life and death cycle and commit to feeding that which feeds us

Goal 5: To tend the land in a way that optimized for diverse ecosystem health, food and resource production, and soil and water quality

  • I support considering succession, permaculture principles, climate resilience, and forest health in our land use planning
  • I educate myself about best practices for tending the land in a regenerative way

Goal 6: To practice fair, participatory and effective self-governance

  • I support the creation of structures for institutional memory
  • I support the creation of user friendly organizational systems
  • I trust guilds, committees and individuals to make decisions with the good of the community, our vision, and our mission in mind
  • I honor and abide by our agreements
  • I acknowledge that decision making power is earned by active participation in the shared life of the community
  • I work with others to build support for the changes we want to see in the community
  • I value intuition and non-rational processes as a part of decision making
  • I support rhythmic evaluation practices that help us determine how effective our strategies are, and that are used future decision-making
  • I understand the role of guilds and committees in community decision making

Goal 7: To encourage diverse spiritual practice and awareness of our interconnection with all beings

  • I honor the intrinsic value of all life and dignity and worth of all living beings
  • I support a spiritual polyculture

Goal 8: To work towards partnership culture, towards racial and gender equity and against oppression in all its forms

  • I support centering marginalized voices, knowing that they enrich the health of our community
  • I am aware that I don’t know what I don’t know, and I seek to illuminate my blindspots
  • I commit to continued growth and learning on my individual journey with anti-oppression work, and practice compassion and accountability for myself and others in that process
  • I support creating educational strategies to support individuals in the different stages of anti-oppression work
  • I examine my various types of privilege, power, and resources
  • I use my privilege, power, and resources to create access and equity
  • I acknowledge the long history of oppression via economic domination of resources
  • I support developing cooperative economic strategies to support equitable access to resources
  • I am becoming aware of how the traits of dominator culture, including patriarchy and white supremacy culture show up in myself, my interactions, and my culture
  • I am working to dismantle dominator culture
  • I commit to living in accordance with liberation culture
  • I remember that no one is free until everyone is free

Goal 9: To nurture personal growth, interpersonal understanding, and mutual trust, as the foundation for a deeply connected human community

  • I learn, develop, and speak a common language that promotes empathy, self-awareness, and respect
  • I hold myself and others accountable
  • I consciously build my capacity to collaborate with others
  • I seek to recognize and acknowledge the gifts of each individual
  • I remain attentive and open to feedback and use it as an opportunity for growth
  • I strive to deliver feedback in a respectful manner
  • I address conflict in a timely manner and ask for help when I need it
  • I respond promptly to situations of unsafe interpersonal dynamics
  • I take everyone’s personal well-being seriously
  • I strive to transcend mere compromise and to reach for truly transformative solutions
  • I strive to cultivate inner peace, compassionate communication, and healing
  • I acknowledge the context of a pathological culture in which we are steeped and which has likely resulted in deep wounding to all of us
  • I consciously make and keep my agreements with others, negotiating changes as needed
  • I learn and practice healthy grieving
  • I understand that living in community is socially intense
  • I am aware that my behaviors impact others
  • I practice curiosity about what my impact on others may be and desire to expand my awareness of those impacts to develop a shared reality

Goal 10: To practice healthy, holistic lifestyles that balance self-care with care for others

  • I create and maintain healthy personal boundaries
  • I respect the boundaries of others
  • I actively tend to my physical, emotional, and mental health
  • I support creating systems to tend the physical, emotional, and mental health of everyone in the community
  • I support myself and others through birth, life, aging, dying, and after death care
  • I support myself and others in times of crisis
  • I understand that my needs must be balanced with the needs of others in the community
  • I skillfully manage my responsibilities and time

Goal 11: To create a culture of celebration, beauty and pleasure

  • I welcome beauty making and beauty makers
  • I make time for connection with others
  • I enjoy the land
  • I have fun! I value having fun for fun’s sake
  • I value and encourage myself and others to prioritize pleasure, relaxation, and play
  • I express my gratitude regularly for the many ways my needs are being met
  • I celebrate our successes, accept our failures, and embrace gradual progress

Goal 12: To attract, cultivate and inspire residents and members whose presence contributes to vitality and functionality in our community

  • I support informative promotional and outreach strategies that are honest about the realities of life and membership at Earthaven
  • I support a membership pathway with clear stages that fosters healthy integration and relationship building within the village
  • I understand that members will take into account the capacity and needs of the village when considering individuals for membership
  • I support my own and other’s fulfillment and observance of these goals
  • I contribute my ideas, talents, and energies to the community in the spirit of active commitment and participation
  • I understand that the Earthaven experiment is an on-going process and therefore includes imperfection
  • I practice patience with the ongoing development of the community

Goal 13: We recognize elders as the trunk and children as the fruit of our village tree, and collectively prioritize what all the parts of our “tree” need to thrive

  • I support multi-generational interdependence
  • I support the creation of social and infrastructural strategies to meet the needs of members at different stages of life
  • I support spiritual and ritual activities which support transitional stages of our human life cycles
  • I support the creation of well-developed educational opportunities to engage our children

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, $475 plus $75 per adult

Hummingbird Apartment

4 room, 2rd floor, Kitchen, $775 plus $75 per adult

Goddess Apartment

Studio, 2 room, 3rd floor, $475 plus $75 per adult

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