Learn about building an Earth ship and help with everyday life in Vermont, USA



 Min stay requested: No minimum



  • Description


    We are an active couple who live in a beautiful area in southern Vermont on 12 acres overlooking the mountains. Our current project is building an off the grid, sustainable home called an Earthship ( feel free to google and read more about them!) An Earthship uses no fossil fuels for heating or cooling, sequesters its own water, uses a gray water system to nourish a large plant cell, salvages materials from the waste stream in its construction ( tires, cans, and bottles) and grows it's own food in an attached greenhouse!! Both John-David and I (Lisa )had been active in the climate movement for many years, even going to Al Gore's Climate Reality training program for our honeymoon a few years ago. Building our own self sustaining home, living off grid, and growing much of our food in our 5000 sf. garden is our own form of activism now. We love sharing our knowledge and have hosted talks at schools, presentations for the community, and tours here at the property. If you have an interest in off the grid living, sustainable building, or farm to table food growing and cooking.....you would love your stay here!

    John-David spends most of his time building the Earthship and maintaining the large barn he previously built ( which has living quarters where we live). The property has a few outbuildings, a 5000 sf. garden, chicken coop, and campers that all need to be tended to throughout the season. We live off grid but do have good WIFI and cell service.
    Lisa tends to the animals- we have 3 cats/1 dog, /9 chickens and manages the large garden. The food we eat is grown here or from local farms. We also run an artisan ice cream store, so food and cooking is a big part of our life. if you are interested in cooking lessons or learning about entrepreneurial food business....Lisa is the one to talk to!

    Our property is a few miles from town - where there is a great food co-op, a performing arts center, general store, and cool thrift shop. The property is serene and quiet with gorgeous sunsets. We tend to work hard and head to bed early after a nice meal and maybe a swim in a local swimming hole in the afternoon. There are hiking trails nearby and some great local cheese and dairy farms within walking distance selling amazing products. Brattleboro is a funky little city to explore on your time off and it's only 15 miles away. The farmers market there is a must visit on Saturdays.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    General Maintenance
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Before embarking on buying our property and building our home and gardens...John-David was a master arborist and Lisa was a social worker turned entrepreneur. We were both heavily involved in the climate movement, teaching communities about global warming and mitigation techniques.
    Now that we are settled on our property, we are able to put all those learnings into action. So if you are someone who has thought about off grid living, environmental studies, homesteading, or starting your own food business- both John-david and Lisa have a lot of information to share while enjoying the beauty of Vermont.
    The area we live in southern Vermont is known for it's beauty and agricultural community. Many small scale farmers work here and produce high quality food products: meats, cheese, berries, orchard crops. Being able to explore this community and what it has to offer is a real treat for the eyes and soul. There are hiking trails all around us and vistas looking out over the mountains, with clean streams and rivers to swim in. The small city of Brattleboro is a welcoming place with museums, galleries, and art shops to explore.
    While we work together each day, John-David and I will be generous with our knowledge of the area and the projects we are working on. Learning to live off grid, with our own water supply, and our own power supply is a great lesson many people really don't get to participate in every day. It's one thing to "say" you could live off grid...it's another to really do it. Learning how the solar system works, the water systems, and battery back up - is great knowledge to take away and bring back to your community.
    After your hours of work are completed- we can help you explore the area. Dinner will be served between 6-7- typically outside looking out over the mountains on our patio, We usually talk and learn about each other during these times- and often a friend or two will join us as well- so you'll be meeting all sorts of people. If you'd rather explore throughout the afternoon and come home later, we can provide you with a packed lunch instead of coming to dinner at home,

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    There are many projects we are currently working on and managing on the property. Depending on your skills and interests, perhaps you will be able to assist in what fits you best.
    In the Earthship John-David could use assistance with light construction work, framing/insulating the inside walls, light electrical work etc. There is always outside work with shoveling and building retaining walls. We are also starting to do Bottle walls inside the home- these require making colorful bottle bricks and laying them in concrete. We did one so far and have 4 or 5 more to do! These are part construction part art- and really beautiful.

    The garden and outdoor spaces always needs help: weeding, planting, spreading wood chips/compost, trimming, harvesting etc. Fencing the garden is a big project this year since deer have been finding their way in :( Re-siding the chicken coop is on the list too. Painting and chopping/stacking wood are perennial tasks, lol.

    We will be working beside you most of the time- and able to guide you through tasks. Unless it’s basic stuff like weeding etc- where you can feel free to listen to music and work at your own pace. Occasionally we hire a skilled worker or two but not much. John-David has been doing this almost exclusively himself and he’s an amazing source of information.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    Although my husband and I only speak fluent English and a bit of Spanish- we are open to learning new languages and sharing ours with you!

  • Accommodation


    We have a private camper that can accommodate 2 very comfortably. It is an old school camper that we have repainted and made quite homey. It has a private bedroom with double bed that will have clean linens, blankets, pillows and towels for your stay. The living space has a couch, a booth for eating or playing games, a dry sink and a working propane stove, a set of bunkbeds are at the far end of the space. Plates/silverware/pots and some basic cooking tools are available if you'd like to make your own meal. We will provide a cooler as well with a bag of ice for any things needing to be chilled . There is an outdoor deck area with tables and chairs to relax and have morning coffee.
    Lisa will be making a meal daily during your stay. Depending on the weather /what hours you'd like to work etc - the meal can be a large lunch or dinner around 6 pm. I can accommodate different diets- this can all be discussed.

    Steps away is a bath house- that has an outhouse toilet, changing area, and hot/cold outdoor shower.
    The Camper and surrounding space are very private and offer a relaxing place to unwind, rest, read after working or exploring, The camper has electricity and cell service but no WIFI. There is WIFI on the property just not reception in the camper.

    There are 3 cats on the property, one golden retrieve dog, and 9 chickens ( 8 hens and 1 rooster). So you will be hearing the rooster crow in the evening and in the morning - and there will be lots of fresh eggs if you'd like to use them for breakfast.

    We typically have breakfast separately and start our day working around 8:30ish. We enjoy a quiet start...around 7 in our house with coffee and reading and dealing with the pets. Then after we get going- we often listen to music outside while working and plan projects according to weather and such.

    You will definitely need a car at our site. Although it's beautiful and serene here, there is no local public transportation within walking distance, so a car is necessary.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Putney, Vermont is a quintessential Vermont town. Mountains, country roads, working farms, local artists, small unique towns....all provide a great area to explore. Each season provides a different array of activities- fall being spectacular with the foliage changing. Although there are a few farms and trails to walk to from our address, it would be best to have your own car for ease of travel.
    Swimming, berry and apple picking, going to open studios such as glass blowers and potters, are all local options on your time off. Camping overnight is also available in local parks.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have a private studio space that is connected to our home. It would be available a few hours each day depending on your internet needs. We have fast secure internet service with Starlink ( satellite service from Elon musk lol)

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We can accommodate travelers in campers but since we are off grid we can not "plug" in campers to our system, We can run a small generator for a few hours each day but not looking for the generator to run all day/night. Our property has space for you to park easily - sprinter vans or small camper vans best.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 298155257349

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