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christine boatwright
Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

Another fun way to earn credit and learn how to become an urban farmer is to contact Enright Ridge Urban Eco Village in Cincinnati, OH. They have an urban farmer training program, will house you, will pay you, and teach you valuable farming skills to take to other places and develop your own community supported agriculture. Look them up on Facebook! Enright Ridge Urban Eco Village and Imago. Either one will get you to Jim and Eileen Schenk - wonderful people!
Soil SchoolOfIntegratedLiving
Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

Hello Amadean,

Thank you for your interest in Earthaven.

I live at Earthaven and work part time as an intern for the School of Integrated Living (SOIL) and will attempt to address your questions as best I can.

Rather than rewriting our entire website here, which we've put a lot of work into to address many questions such as yours, I would like to direct you to it.

To answer some of your questions though:

Upcoming Immersion Sessions

Spring Session:¨ January 18-April 19, 2014: $6,400 (Application deadline is Oct 15th)
Summer Session: ¨June 14-Aug 16, 2014: $4,300 (Application deadline is Mar 15th)
Rates include tuition, program costs, instructional materials, all meals, housing accommodations, mentoring support, arrival and departure transportation (if necessary), our alumni network, access to resources and information on further training, internships, jobs and more.

Receive the $300 Early Bird discount when your Application is received one month prior to application deadlines

As for your question: Is this right for you? Only you can answer that.

Yes, our program is highly grounded in the physical world and is packed with "hard skills" and it's also complimented with many "soft skills" such as inter- and intra-personal communication skills, self-awareness, and nature connection... just to name a few.

You probably read the following on the Earthaven website, but I want to restate it here since it encapsulates our stance well.

Does Earthaven have a single spiritual practice?

We don't have a single, community-wide spiritual practice. Rather, various individuals celebrate Spirit (or don't) as they wish. What many of us have in common is a reverence for the Earth and our land, and the belief that our land is alive and conscious and it's our sacred duty to honor and care for it.

Last, but not least... the School of Integrated Living upholds inclusivity, safety and personal growth as some of its core values, which is to say that all are welcome at SOIL regardless of their religious affiliation; no one "has to" do anything they are not comfortable with; and our program is designed for participants to experience personal growth and healthy stretching.

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask them via this site or contact the Directors directly at:


Thanks again for your interest.

-Molly Kat, Intern

School of Integrated Living

Earthaven Ecovillage
Amedean Messan
Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

I keep hearing good things regarding the Earthaven community and I have frequented the website several times out of curiosity. Its interesting to hear they have opened a course and there is an interesting micro community which I imagine has a well developed skill set to the genre of sustainable design for human settlements.

My questions:
  • What are the costs, or really any basic information since there is no link provided. Is this it If this is the case then the tuition will be at cheapest $4000 with early bird.
  • Where is a convenient summarized breakdown of the expense charges and semester dates? I would like to have a visual sense of what I am potentially paying for like food, lodging and such...I do like a lot of food, lol!

  • My concerns:
    More a question of "is this right for me"? I have attachments to my ideas and culture (which I consider healthy) which contradicts the free spirit nature described in here or here. I admire elements of "modern" religions (the major religions) and assimilate well but I am a Christian and carry biases.

    All of these concerns of course would nullify if the emphasis is in the hard skills or science behind these communities. I prefer the tangible.
    Landon Sunrich
    Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree hands on experience is absolutely necessary. I am glad that there are many options out there so that each individual can make a personal decision as to what the best way to learn (and teach) and most importantly to 'walk the talk' while avoiding the more fly by night operations. I for one - having made the decision to do so a long time ago - cannot imagine having +/-6500$ of disposable income to do so. I think my maximum yearly income for all my adult life has been less than that.

    I guess that's another thing that bothers me about education is a need to 'pay to play' in a world where wage inequity has priced this sort of thing out for a large proportion of the population. Most people I know who are into this sort of thing already - or more importantly i suppose, those who are wanting to get involved in this sort of thing aren't exactly pulling in 40K a year. They are young, idealistic, broke (or worse in debt with non-defaultable student loans) and trying to make sense of a world where the work they are able to get barely (or doesn't) provide enough money to pay rent and eat well. It just seems like a broken and collapsing system where those who can and would get the most out of such an education are often the least able to afford and pursue it.

    I understand the need to make enough money to 'stay afloat'. I just wish a better way would present itself. It looks like you have some very interesting and well qualified instructors as well as a broad curriculum. I would be curious to see some of it in action. Any chance of filming some of the lectures or workshops for the general public to view? Thanks again for your reply. I don't mean to sound antagonistic, I've just watched far too much money go towards 'education' leaving very little money for real on the ground work and change. I'm speaking from personal experience.
    Soil SchoolOfIntegratedLiving
    Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

    Hi Landon,

    We should be open sourcing this information, and we are, because the internet makes all information available. However, there are tactile or kinesthetic learners who need to bodily employ the knowledge they gather.

    This is not a day camp. We are not making money; we are attempting to break even, and if we can offer college credit through an accredited university, student loans can cover the cost of admission. There are universities where undergraduates can study sustainability, agriculture, renewable resources, etc. There are programs abroad where students can implement these ideas and the knowledge they have gained. What we are doing is offering a program to study away in the United states where students can study agriculture, sustainability, communal living, farming, etc in a very hands on way. A few of these programs already exist, but for the most part, students have to choose which track to take. This school offers an intensive program with classroom learning, work, and experiential living.

    I agree that there are some programs that offer credit or use the connotation of schooling as a ploy for some capitalistic gain. It is hard not to be jaded about the principle of learning that cannot to separated from the almighty dollar sign. This village and school, however hard it may be for you to believe, is not a money making ploy under the guise of education. We have a very knowledgeable staff and there is information on each of them on our website.

    Our students will be doing much more than camping out on some hippie's place doing chores, though bravo for your diminutive knack with language. I could explain in detail what courses are offered and what students have access to, but it's all on the website. Much time and effort has been put into this cite and I think it does a better job than an off the cuff reply from myself might illuminate.

    Moving on to why someone should study away instead of watching internet videos. The internet is not an in-person world. I have only been working on this eco village for three days, and just started my work exchange with SOIL, so I guess I can explain why I chose to be here instead of googling sustainability, or "how to milk a cow" or the medicinal properties of oregano oil. There is human contact. There is an established eco village that has been in operation for almost as long as i've been on this planet. There are free classes like trauma relief, there are forward thinking people, educated people, worldly people. We are off the grid. There are no GMOs in our food. The guy next door to me is making starters for his fermentations and tells me over breakfast about the properties of yeast and lactobascilic acid, and why one jar of fermented beets started growing mold while the others didn't. There are carrots that were picked that morning, and I can trade my homemade kombucha for them. This is not just an informational schooling or a substitute for college, but an amazing opportunity to live a different type of life. It's not for everybody. If surfing the web to get quick answers is your style, more power to you, but it's not what I want. I woke up at seven this morning to move the broiler hens to a new pasture, feed them, give them water. I learned that putting certain essential oils in their feed has cured an ailment that antibiotics failed to remedy. I learned which plants the goats can't eat because they could kill them. I know how they feel, how they smell (kind of sweet) and what they look like. I know how the inside of the bark on the saplings are wet, and how the bark splinters and pulls if you don't saw through the sapling completely.

    We are not paying students to hang out and do grunt work and get dirty. This is an alternative lifestyle that most people are not aware exists.

    I am not saying this program is better or worse than a farm internship with a knowledgable farmer (though we have knowledgable farmers aplenty). It is different. It is a lot more. There are farmers here who have been farming in the Appalachians for generations. There are healers who work with holistic medicines. There are ex fitness instructors who know the bacteria in your gut better than I know how to drive my old autopilot route to work. There is a community here. A village. There are babies, children, teens, young adults, elders, and they're doing something that not everyone in the country is doing; they're doing more than farming.

    The offering of college credit is to afford college students the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. You study sustainability? You're interested in agriculture and green living? Great, join the green movement with everyone else. But here, you have the opportunity to live it.

    Hope this shed some light on your internal predicament, and thanks for the questions. =)

    Landon Sunrich
    Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

    I'm torn about opportunities like this.

    I mean... It's just... at this point in history shouldn't we all just be open sourcing this information? Its important. People need to learn.

    Why turn that need into just another day camp making money and promising "credit"?

    Maybe I'm just way to jaded on the principle 'schooling' 'accreditation' as I've found many 'accredited' folks -regardless of field or line of work- to totally under perform or (in short) do not know what their talking about. Or at least not enough to answer the avalanche of questions that an inquisitive mind want to know. And that's not always the instructors fault since we're just starting to scratch the surface of how members of ecosystems interact with each other and their environment.

    my point being - what exactly is it that you teach? Anything that I couldn't learn camping out on some hippies place and doing chores for a few weeks? Please give me some concrete examples of why someone should attend a seminar or 'study away' program instead of just doing some internet research, chatting (via a amazing resource like this website) with like minded people. Then using that knowledge in a common sense way to tackle the specific obstacles before them?

    I guess my beef is that the difference between "Education" and "Day Camp" are often blurred.

    Which is not to suggest there are not benefits to camp. It will expose you to all sorts of new Ideas, people, and situations and can serve as a spark for ones own imagination and creativity. It's just that there are a lot of places which will pay (poorly) the "student" (grunt) to hang out in nature and get dirty.

    I guess my question to you is why is you're program better than say a farm internship with a knowledgeable farmer? Other than the idea of getting 'credit'
    Soil SchoolOfIntegratedLiving
    Post     Subject: Eco Village School of Integrated Living offers study away opportunity for college credit!!

    verbage for websites:
    School of Integrated Living - Whole Life Skills for a Radically
    Different Future

    STUDY AWAY--Learn & Live--Semester Immersions at Earthaven Ecovillage
    SOIL’s Farm & Ecovillage Immersions are semester-long, residential, service learning opportunities where
    participants are immersed into the village, homes, farms & businesses of their hosts and faculty for a
    hands-on, skill building, life-changing experience. The Farm & Ecovillage Immersions take place at the
    farms and off-grid neighborhood homesteads within and near Earthaven Ecovillage in Western North
    Carolina. This village and farming community is the ideal living laboratory for a whole-life education.
    Through work and study participants become intimately familiar with the three-legged stool of sustainability:
    environmental, social, and economic with a specific focus on organic food production, regenerative
    systems, and community living.

    Farm & Ecovillage Immersion are offered three semesters per year--fall, spring, and summer.
    Certification and College Credit
    SOIL, in partnership with Gaia Education, offers Certificates in Ecovillage Design Education upon completion of all
    requirements for the Farm & Ecovillage Immersions. These Certificates of Completion verify that students have
    received training in sustainable design of human settlements and organizations.
    SOIL, through partnership with Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is able to offer transferable college credit for
    completion of the Farm & Ecovillage Immersion. Students may also be able to receive college credit for internships
    and/or independent study projects through their home institution, which does not require them to enroll in SBCC.
    We recommend that students consult with their academic adviser(s) about such options.