This is a forty five year old project seeking to develop and maintain a Paradise Garden - a botanical garden of useful plants grown ecologically and arranged ornamentally. Our specialties are medicinal herbs and perennial vegetables / wildfoods. We operate a nursery & seed business and teach workshops. Our goal is to live on as little money as possible and obtain our needs from a direct interaction with the environment.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
There are usually 6-8 people here, from a variety of backgrounds. You can learn about, in particular, identifying and growing a wide variety of useful plants (edible, medicinal, craft), making herbal preparations, 'simple living' (chop wood, carry water), garden construction (rock walls, bamboo trellis, ponds & wetland development). We adjoin National Forest at the foot of the highest mountains in Eastern N. America, so a great opportunity to explore and learn about the ecology of the Southern Appalachians. We have a very good library for self study. We list a full schedule of workshops and plant walks on our website and travelers are welcome to join these at no charge. Another benefit is access to our large apothecary of medicinal herbs and preparations and information about how to use them.
The work is primarily maintaining the garden, and varies with the seasons. If you have other skills to offer (E.g. natural building, alternative energy, art installations) we will be glad to accommodate you. The base line activity is weeding / planting / mulching to grow food for our own consumption, but there are always many other projects underway to choose from. Gathering vegetables , herbs and mushrooms from the garden and adjacent forest is a regular activity. We will be planting many more perennial vegetables and wildfood plants in the garden this year. We will also be building some simple shelters for visitors.
English. There are often people here fluent in Spanish and sometimes other languages, at present (2019) some German and some French.
We have a variety of simple structures (yurt, log cabin, earth sheltered cob dome, etc), but these are usually occupied by the full time (March - October) apprentices. Short term visitors will usually sleep in a tent (we can supply) - a current project is to upgrade campsites with permanent roofs. There is a communal kitchen and common room / library and a solar shower and nearby mountain stream for bathing. Food is provided, cooking and cleanup are done on a rotation.
There is a very active and growing alternative community in the immediate area. Also very many craftspersons have settled here due to the proximity of Penland School of Crafts. Nearby Asheville is a hotbed for cuisine & beer, outdoor sports and herbal studies, among other things, but there is no regularly scheduled public transportation in the area.
Our goal is to meet our needs from a direct interaction with the environment, rather than through money. We seek to saturate our surroundings with naturally growing useful plants with the ultimate goal of becoming hunter-gatherers in our garden.
Tobacco is discouraged (use in private is OK). Sorry no dogs.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week