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April 4 - May 4, 2023

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April 4 - May 4, 2023

EarthCamp Village

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Why ‘EarthCamp’ Village is part of This Permaculture Design

In William McDonough’s book, Cradle-to-Cradle, he talks about the importance for us as humans to reexamine the way we build our homes and other structures/buildings.  The big question is, how much waste and pollution is generated while building, maintaining and finally demolishing our structures?  It is about 40% of the entire waste stream of “civilized” cultures.

Our objective in building EarthCamp Village is to see how close we can get to creating structures that last a very-long time but create and generate very-little waste or CO2.


Timber Framing Done -EarthCamp Village - Aug.2013
The timber framing for the cob cabin is up…!!!   The first structure for EarthCamp Village

Click Here for Picture Summary of the Building of Earth-Shelter #1

EarthCamp Village Explained

EarthCamp Village AerialWe are coining a new word and calling this area of the design EarthCamp Village because it will be a camping area for short and long-term visitors (guests, interns, students) and… every structure will be built out of the earth beneath our feet.

16 inches below our topsoil here in Stelle lies an ocean of clay.  In a recent jar test we came up with about 65-70% clay.  I know that most gardeners would faint from the thought of having to have to grow food in such a subsoil, but for the building structures…we hit pay dirt…!!!

How do you use clay to build a house?  The three major approaches we intend to use are:

  1. Clay Brick  (sun dried, stacked like regular bricks, stuccoed exterior)
  2. Cob  (clay, sand and straw mixed into a solid mortar and formed into walls)
  3. Slip Straw  (loose straw dipped into a clay slurry and packed into forms to make walls)

How would you like to spend a week…or a month…or heck, even a lifetime in a cottage that looked like one of these below? And what if you built it with friends and out of pocket money so that you never had a mortgage.  And what if you supplied all of your own energy (no utility bills).  And what if most of your food and friends were just a walk down the path?  This is an idea we like to call AGRARIA.  It’s not agrarian, isolated farming… and it’s not suburbia.  It’s Agraria.

Please Note:  We have not built these structures here yet but do intend to construct some that will look very similar. These pictures are linked to the websites where found wishing to give credit to where credit is due.  We continue to be inspired by the work of many others.  

Please Note:  These pictures are linked to the websites where we found them…giving credit where credit is due.
Please Note:  These pictures are linked to the websites where we found them…giving credit where credit is due.
  Cob house side view
Please Note:  These pictures are linked to the websites where we found them…giving credit where credit is due.
 cob house fireplace interior
  Please Note:  These pictures are linked to the websites where we found them…giving credit where credit is due.


EarthCamp Village will be located on the west side of our pond and may eventually include up to 8 or 9 cabins or buildings. These will be available for our students, interns and guests for camping while they are here.  There is no running water or grid-tied electricity designed into these cabins.  It will be top-shelf camping.  

Hot showers will be available in a common shower house with water that is heated with a thermal mass rocket stove.  Facilities will consist of composting toilets that are part of the shower house.  A common building will have a camping kitchen, small meeting area, and a pergola-covered deck loaded with grapes and winter-hardy kiwi.


We expect it will take us the better part of 5-10 years to build everything.  We are not in any hurry and we would like as many people as possible to learn from these projects  If you’d like to visit or participate there are several options;

  1. Become an associate or member of CSC (you are invited to all work parties)
  2. Take one of our PDC Courses here in Stelle
  3. Join us for an extended period for one of our work/study internships
  4. Join our email lists to learn of open house work parties and permablitz’s
    1. CSC Email List – Events and Work Parties in Stelle hosted by CSC
    2. MWP Email List – Our PDC Courses, Workshops, Cool Permaculture Stuff



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1 thought on “EarthCamp Village”

  1. Dear Bill, CSC and MWP,

    I am in total awe of all of this. Makes me homesick. It is
    just wonderful, and beyond wonderful. Thanks for all you
    do. All of this is cutting edge.

    Thanks to all the staff, interns, volunteers, and keepers of the Shire.

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