Natural Building, Day 1

The first day of Koinonia Farm’s first Natural Building Workshop was tremendous. After learning more about Koinonia’s history and getting the basics in a variety of natural building modalities, the students were itching to get out in the sunshine and get to work. They spent the afternoon splitting bamboo to be used as lath for mud plaster, stripping cedar bark from the structural poles, preparing a drainage trench to redirect water away from the building, and supervising some hard-working kids.
Wayne Weisman of the Permaculture Project and Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture will spend the next few days sharing their natural building expertise and letting the creative energy of the students take hold. I’ll be posting our progress each day, to show you what our 13 students (plus some community members and homeschool cooperative kids) can accomplish in 4 days’ time!

Wayne giving a breakdown of the building design.


Brendan and Cliff, sharpening tools


Juby with the split bamboo lath, Alex stripping bark from a cedar post


Ryan and Michael, taking a break from digging the drainage trench


Kellan, age 4, using a draw knife to strip cedar poles


The first post is set! And Cliff and Nicole hanging the bamboo lath


The Prendergast girls, hard at work! Ida, age 7, loves the patterns that insects created under the bark


Happy students = happy teacher!

More to come…



For weeks now, I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging. My vision for this site has changed, and I want to keep you all up to date on the progress of all the amazing and inspiring work happening at Koinonia Farm. My posts will be shorter and (hopefully) more frequent. For longer philosophical musings, check my other site Turning Dreams Into Deeds.

As a jumping-off point, here’s a peek at some of the work done by students in Koinonia’s fourth Permaculture Design Course. In preparation for next week’s Natural Building Workshop they’ve been digging swales and drainage trenches in my front yard. These will direct water away from the earthen walls of the building and towards the fruit trees and annual garden beds. More photos to come as construction begins next week!


Students dig a drainage trench around the existing structure



The building site, prepped and ready to go!



Digging a swale uphill from the building site



Testing the swale to make sure the water will wind up where we want it to go