Permaculture Homesteading + Water Systems + Carpentry + Natural Building

We invite you to work with Ashevillage, a one-acre eco-urban homestead and permaculture demonstration site that offers educational workshops. This apprenticeship program is designed for individuals interested in managing a site like ours, gaining experience in natural and green building, water systems, and other kinds of infrastructure development — see below. Apprentices will learn by doing. The program runs 32 hours per week over 31 weeks total. If you are interested in being considered for one of these positions, please read the description and send in your application soon. The 2015 apprenticeship program is full – please sign up for 2016 updates below.

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Work Site: Ashevillage Sanctuary, Asheville, NC
Dates: March 23 – October 23, 2015 (with roughly 40 hours of preliminary online permaculture homework)
Schedule: Monday-Thursday (full days) + special workshops two weeks in the season — details below.
Room & board: Apprentices will live off site and make their own living arrangements. Leads on affordable housing will be provided.
Fee: Includes Permaculture certification, water retention landscape & natural building workshops, primitive skills gathering, weekly hands-on mentorship, field trips, and more. Apply by March 15th for the Early Bird discount.

A small group of apprentices will work together in a mentored team environment. The majority of your 32 hour week will be working on hands-on site projects with roughly three hours of structured learning ‘classes’. There will be several field trips over the course of the season. You will receive a Permaculture Design Certification, 1-week Water Retention Landscape Course, 1-week Natural Building Workshop, and a free pass to the annual Firefly Gathering. Free time generally includes three days per week (Fri – Sun), plus two weeks off over the course of the season. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. We expect spots to fill, so apply soon.

This apprenticeship might be for you if you are eager to: Learn with your hands. Understand, trouble shoot, and help establish a living water system. Engage in some natural building projects. Be an active member of a small team. Work hard. Show up each day with enthusiasm. Design as a systems thinker. Bring your positive attitude. Enjoy nature’s wonder while living in a small, vibrant, progressive city. Carry this work and knowledge into your own life and out into the world. Practice being a land listener, steward and partner….in a backyard neighborhood setting….with a mission of modeling an organic, integrated way of life. This program is not for you if you: Don’t like to sweat. Find the current state of the world and the direction our country is headed to be just fine. Focus on the negative. Are a grumbler and groaner. Are afraid of bugs. Aren’t comfortable communicating openly. Are a heavy smoker, toker, drinker. Otherwise, we look forward to hearing from you.

Apprentices will engage in daily hands-on work on real projects as part of a small, closely mentored team. A total of five apprentices will be selected to work with Ashevillage’s Site and Building Managers.

Water Systems: You will learn from, troubleshoot and refine an existing living water system. This includes analyzing, revising, and bringing the 30,000 gallon open rainwater-living pond catchment system to full optimization. You will also be participating in the Water Retention Landscape Workshop with the internationally recognized water wizard and permaculture designer/teacher, Brock Dolman. Consider how to approach water retention landscape design. Gain watershed literacy. Understand why, what, where, and how catchment systems make sense. See more details below.

Natural Building: You will be immersed in projects that cover: building systems, structural design, project management, optimization on small sites, site selection & passive solar design, material collection, intermediate carpentry, some natural wall systems, earthen plasters & paints, living roofs, wood-fired systems, timber-framing basics, deck construction, drystack stone & urbanite walls, window & door installation, and more. You will also participate in the preparation for, and week of the Natural Building Workshop. Join an instructor team that brings 100+ years of collective building experience! See more details below.

Educational Field Trips: We will visit some working sites, including organic urban & rural farms, an ecovillage, and a permaculture homestead.

Community Projects: As part of the demonstration site, you will also likely provide guidance to worktraders, volunteers, and/or visiting groups and tours at some point throughout your time at Ashevillage. You will also be likely to work off site on other projects with other lead mentors and teachers.

Time Off: Apprentices will have three days off per week, plus two more week-long breaks. Other than these two weeks, it is expected that you will be present for the entirety of the program. Regular tardiness or missed days may result in you being asked to leave.

Permaculture Design Certification
— Complete by August: You will be asked to view the videotaped Ashevillage 2014 PDC online (approximately 35 hours). Over the season, you will join your fellow apprentices and core staff to develop a site design project that will be reviewed by our 2015 Permaculture Team. Upon completion, you will receive your certification in Permaculture.

Water Retention Landscape Course — June 1-5: This water retention landscape course offers basic principles and theory; observations of patterns in nature; techniques for rainwater harvesting including dams, swales, terraces, and keyline; a water retention landscape tour; design considerations for differing soil types, vegetation, watersheds, regions, and climates; overview of aquaculture vs. aquaponics; and more

Firefly Gathering — June 25-28: This gathering is a favorite in the region and offers a wide range of classes on eco-homesteading, primitive skills, permaculture, and nature connection that are designed to enhance everyday life. Firefly gathers a bevy of inspiring people. Along with classes, there’s evening entertainment and on-site camping.

Natural Building Workshop — July 6-10: Join a variety of hands-on natural building workshops & classes in one week with an instructor team of 100+ years of collective building experience! These comprehensive workshops, classes, slideshows, a field trip, and special projects will teach you how to create beautiful, affordable, natural dwellings using local clay, sand, straw, bamboo, and other abundant and salvaged materials.

• Excellent attitude and great communication skills
• Passion for getting your hands dirty and digging in daily
• Background in team work, punctuality, and working hard
• Some experience working with your hands in a related field
• Ability to live on your own and find part-time work if needed
• Your own tool belt, measuring tape, and other basic tools
• Full payment is due to reserve your spot – see below
• Means to cover your costs throughout the season

• PDC videos need to be viewed before April


Brock Dolman

Brock Dolman: Lead Instructor for the Water Retention Landscape Workshop

Brock Dolman is the Director of Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s WATER Institute and Permaculture Program. He co-directs the Wildlands Biodiversity Program, Basins of Relations, and permaculture courses, and co-manages the Center’s biodiversity collection, orchards, and 70 acres of wildland. Living up to his specialized generalist nature, and rekindling the dwindling art of peripatetic natural historian, his experience ranges from the study of wildlife biology, native botany and watershed ecology, to the practice of habitat restoration, regenerative human settlement design, ethno-ecology, and ecological literacy activism towards societal transformation. Brock will lead the week-long Water Retention Landscape Course.


Kate Hanford

Kate Hanford: Ashevillage Site & Garden Manager will be a mentor during the Apprenticeship Program

Kate Hanford is a farmer and a local foods advocate. Passionate about contributing to thriving food systems, she focuses on creating ecologically and financially viable farm systems. Kate was the Marketing & Production Manager at Growing Power, an international urban farming training center where she led sales, mushroom cultivation workshops, year-round vegetable production, and maintenance of the large-scale compost, vermicompost, and aquaponics systems. Kate was also Production Manager at a herb farm where she tended perennial gardens and co-created a medicinal, value-added herbal product line. Kate directed the popular West Asheville Tailgate Market for two years, and is thrilled to be bringing her skills as Site & Garden Manager to Ashevillage. Apprentices will have the opportunity to work with Kate throughout the season.


Keri Evjy

Keri Evjy: Permaculture Design Course certification instructor

Keri Evjy catalyzes a healing relationship engaging people and the planet through collaboration, demonstration, and education. Founder of permaculture design and education business, Healing Roots Design, she travels internationally as a permaculture teacher, herbalist, community revitalist and song catcher, demystifying holistic life design practices through the cultivation of abundant and resilient lives and landscapes. Emboldening others to curiously lean into nature to engender holistic and vital health, Keri facilitates youth and adult classes weaving permaculture, self-healing, initiation and empowerment practices for women of all ages through the Radiant Woman Toolkit Series. She also co-founded Herban Farmacy, an herbal CSA.


Janell Kapoor is founder and co-director of Ashevillage

Janell Kapoor: Founder and Co-Director of Ashevillage

Program Strategist: Janell Kapoor is an avid mud mama, international activist, community organizer, motivational presenter, systems strategist and designer. As director of Ashevillage, Kleiwerks International, and theWhole Earth Summit, Janell recently co-founded Permaculture School. Since 1998, she has led hands-on trainings for people from over 52 countries, helping to catalyze permaculture movements amongst hundreds of thousands of people. Janell’s home in Asheville, NC is a transformed one-acre junk yard and crack house that has become a thriving eco-urban oasis,Ashevillage Sanctuary. Janell finds hope in people aligning their deepest heart’s desire with real action, thus joining the rising tide of humanity that is creating regenerative culture the world over.

Other staff & teachers: While you will mainly work with Carl Fritschel at the Ashevillage Sanctuary, there will be short periods when you will work with other instructors, staff, and/or projects.

Apply by March 15th for the Early Bird discount. Sign up here to receive more information about Ashevillage apprenticeships & stay informed about new courses, discounts, free videos, and more. You will receive our beautiful and informative newsletter, and you can count on your information always being safe with us and never being shared with others (no way, no how)! Plus, you can unsubscribe from this list whenever you want. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Gmail users please check your ‘Promotions’ tab.


Permaculture School: May 23 – August 14, 2015; Monday-Friday. A rigorous, 12-week, college-level program for students who want to dive deeper in the field of Permaculture. Embody it. Understand how it fits into your life. And how your life fits into it. You are especially encouraged to apply if you’re on a path toward being a permaculture leader, professional practitioner, designer, educator, activist, or advocate. College credit may be available. Let us know if you are interested in learning more. Apply now for the early bird discount.  • Eco-Urban Homestead & Garden Apprenticeship: March 23 – October 23, 2015; Monday-Thursday. We invite you to work with Ashevillage, a one-acre eco-urban homestead and permaculture demonstration site that offers educational workshops. This apprenticeship is designed for people who want to learn by doing in a closely mentored environment with Ashevillage’s Site & Building Manager. There are three spots total. If you are interested in being considered, please read the description and apply before March 15th.