Natural Building & Community Immersion 5 Day Intensive with Marlow Hotchkiss, Leslie Roberts & Leif H. Skogberg


Mon, 03/02/2015 - 9:00am to Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:00pm

Join us for our 2015 Natural Building & Community Immersion Five-Day Intensive at The Ojai Foundation Land Sanctuary in the beautiful Upper Ojai Valley! 

As the days warm up and the light lengthens, come rub elbows with some experienced natural builders as we complete a unique round earth, wood and fabric yurt project. Immerse yourself in nature, community, and mud through natural building and construction! These immersion courses will offer a sleeves-rolled-up introduction to ecological design, materials & construction.  In addition to technical building skills, the teaching team will integrate and apply holistic living through regular health and vitality practices, including council circles, beauty way, Permaculture design, group song, shared meals, yoga and movement,  and lively dialog woven into our daily practice and flow. Program participants will work with an experienced team of instructors, including Marlow Hotchkiss and Leslie Roberts, as well as resident Land Steward, Leif H. Skogberg. Programs will focus primarily on completing an earth-bag structure made of clay, sand, straw, wood and stone, while other unique earth art, design and building projects onsite will be discussed.

The programs will incorporate formal learning-teaching format and will mostly be hands-on learning-by-doing and direct experience in Natural Building and Sustainability Design, as well as the relational art of Living Council. The courses will cover basic concepts of quality building from the ground up. Topics will include ecological site design parameters and context, material selection and techniques, foundations, drainage and walls, roofs, ventilation, passive cooling, and more. Apprentices will get direct experience in earth-bag construction, earth plasters, roof framing, and regenerative systems design, in collaboration with other students and a team of designer builders.

Workshop will provide:

 Direct experience in super-adobe / earth-bag, cob, natural plasters, reciprocal framing, and general eco-building techniques and practices.

 Presentations and discussions in sustainable design and Permaculture principles and ethics, while learning to apply them to eco-construction projects of all kinds.

 Experience and guided practices in nature, council, community building and ceremony, to deepen our connection to self, others and the natural world.

 Introduction to various eco-building practices represented on-site, including straw-bale, earth-block, geo-domes, sacred geometry, and more.

Limited to 6 participants.

Facilitators and Instructors:

Leslie and Marlow have lived and worked at the Ojai Foundation on and off for over 20 years, and had their hand in many of the beloved features of this Land Sanctuary, including the first legally permitted straw-bale building in Ventura County.  They are a part of the Beyond Boundaries program and have built earthen green council houses in both the US and Africa.

Leif is an ecological educator, designer and facilitator who has lived and worked at The Ojai Foundation since 2010. Formally trained in Environmental Horticulture Science & Sustainable Landscaping, he has over 12 years experience practicing and teaching organic gardening, edible landscaping, natural building, Permaculture, and ecological design. As Stewardship & Sustainability Director, he leads the Land Team in building and garden design, construction and maintenance.

Fee includes course instruction and four nights camping.
Meals are not included in the cost of the program. Co-created community meals will be encouraged and emphasized.
Workshop participants will be provided with a tent site, space in a shared off-grid community kitchen, use of rustic bathhouse and shower facilities, and general use of the The Ojai Foundation Land Sanctuary's awe-inspiring grounds and gathering spaces.

For general program inquiries, call The Ojai Foundation at (805) 646-8343, or email