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.
There are usually 5-8 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 work traders 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. The base line activity is weeding / planting / mulching to maintain perennial beds and grow vegetables 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 have a variety of simple structures (yurt, log cabin, etc), but these are usually occupied by the full time (March - October) apprentices. Short term visitors will usually sleep in a tent - 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 (basic staples), cooking and cleanup are shared.
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 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.
Covid: at this point in time, we are expecting anyone who stays here to be vaccinated.
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6 hours a day, 5 days a week