Founder, Designer & Chief Visionary: Janell Kapoor is the founding director of the Ashevillage Institute and Kleiwerks International. She is an avid mud mama, international activist, designer, teacher, and community organizer who’s work has generated natural building movements of hundreds of thousands of people from over 52 countries. Janell led the first earthen building trainings in Thailand, Argentina and Turkey. Many of her students have established natural building and permaculture education centers, businesses and collectives, programs and projects, as well as regional legislation reform and documentary films, including El barro Las manos La Casa. Janell has been featured in numerous articles, radio shows, and in the documentary, First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture. In 1998, she built the first modern earthen building in the Southeastern United States. Janell has been enjoying her home in the oldest mountains on the planet since 1996. She currently lives at the Ashevillage Sanctuary.
Program Director: Stacey Murphy is a radical systems designer who brings to Ashevillage her vision of creating whole human communities. Founder of BK Farmyards and Farmyard Bootcamp, Stacey’s background is in forging innovative community partnerships, while designing integrated and healthy systems, including abundant local food harvests. She has initiated urban farms and CSA’s, curated online and on-the-ground agricultural and entrepreneurial trainings, and co-created hands-on, holistic food systems classes for high school students in Brooklyn, NY. As a real foods advocate, Stacey has been featured in Family Circle, on Martha Stewart Radio, and on David Letterman.
Program Manager, Community Immersions: Kristin Peppel brings to the Ashevillage Institute over 13 years of experience of community building and engagement embedded within the broader goal of sustaining natural systems. As an ecopsychologist and coach, she is committed to helping people to embrace their true nature and to deepen their relationships with the full community of life. Over the past six years, Kristin has worked with Land-of-Sky Regional Council as a conservation planning consultant to develop a regional green infrastructure network for the broader WNC region and raise awareness of the need for conservation planning within municipal and regional planning and design processes. On the personal side, Kristin loves to have her hands in the dirt – creating living spaces of beauty and abundance, and spending time in the woods with her husband, Andrew and her two beautiful twin boys, Austin and Lucas.
Program Outreach & Administration: Kathryn Blau is a native North Carolinian, having migrated from the Piedmont to Asheville after earning a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Her first two years in the Blue Ridge Mountains were spent coordinating volunteers and educating the public about the French Broad River with RiverLink and AmeriCorps. During that time she participated in a workshop at Ashevillage and fell in love with the work, vowing to one day be more deeply involved. A three-year stint on the West Coast got her hooked on all things gardening, homesteading, herbalism, and permaculture. While in Portland she was an AmeriCorps Team Leader, coordinating workshops and environmental service for the Northwest Service Academy’s Ecological Restoration Team. Kathryn thrives on the intersections between nature, culture, and spirituality and loves bringing these together as a part of the Ashevillage team.
Programs and Sponsorship Coordinator: Glenn Geffcken is an accomplished executive with a background in sales, large-scale event production, publishing and sustainability. Strengths include, strategy, business development, sponsorship, sales coaching, finance, personnel development and refinement of culture. Glenn has worked in variety of capacities, with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small entrepreneurial firms, and brings a passion for purpose-based organizations.
Site Coordinator: Sunil Patel is the lead instructor and Ashevillage site manager for the Urban Farm School. He developed the whole-systems curriculum for the school. Sunil has been farming biodynamically for eight years in various locales across the United States. For four years, he facilitated farming internships and managed a CSA that produced 100 shares a season at Greenmoore Gardens. In addition, Sunil is a skilled cook, baker, and cheese maker. So far, Sunil is loving his life at Ashevillage and eagerly awaits the kick-off of the Urban Farm School!
Permaculture Design Course Coordinator: Keri Evjy is co-founder of Herban Farmacy, an herbal CSA, as well as Healing Roots Design, a triple bottom line enterprise that promotes healthy human communities through education, demonstration, and collaboration on ecological design. Keri worked with the National Gardening Association, and graduated from Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and Kleiwerks International Permaculture Program. She is a Certified Clinical Herbalist from the Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism and a graduate of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.
Natural Building School Lead Instructor: Steveo Brodmerkel is a hands-on builder, designer and general contractor with 30 years experience in the trades. He works on all aspects of projects, with experience spanning repair, renovation and new residential. For the past twelve years, Steveo has focused on natural building, materials and techniques, which have become his main focus of thinking, designing and building, as well as teaching. He has led workshops on clay, sand and straw construction with The Natural Building School, Kleiwerks International, and the Ashevillage Institute. Steveo’s understanding of the built environment and materials makes him a designer and builder trouble-shooter extraordinaire. His keen ability to design effective building systems and to articulate the process in ways that are easy to grock, makes him a gem of a teacher. Steveo’s very first natural building project is one of the finest examples of an earthen-built home in North America. Let’s just say he’s a natural.
Contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.