Earthen building in communities

Hi, I’d love to join or help co-create a community of people building and living in earth homes, such as straw bale, cob, Superadobe or hybrids. There is nothing cozier than the feeling of being inside a home made of earth, particularly one with rounded walls! I took a trip in 2001 to explore earthen building in six western states, but did not find what felt like my true home. Have been in San Diego ever since, but am now determined to make a fresh start. Am headed to Asheville NC soon to explore that area and meet the folks at MudStrawLove, who build with earth. Would love to connect with anyone who shares this earthen dream with me and is ready to make it come true! And, if you know of such a community, I’d appreciate you letting me know. I’m aware of Mike Reynolds’ Earthship community outside of Taos, but the winters are too harsh for me there. Thanks!


Hey Simone! I love this post – I spent some time in a sort of earth home non-community in New Mexico and loved the feel of it. Very fond memories of midnight hot springs dips on the Rio Grande.

You might get more traction on your post if you edit your topic to share some more of what your experience has been, what you liked about it, and an open ask to the community, like “do any of you know about any of these communities that you could link/connect me to?”

Thanks so much for the tip! For some reason I thought I was only able to leave a short message. Your New Mexico experience sounds lovely.

Thank you for the edit! The Earthship community outside Taos is the place I stayed back in 2011. I really enjoyed my brief stay.

In case you haven’t found it already, be sure to check out Earthaven and their hand building offerings through School of Integrated Living (SOIL) in Black Mountain, NC.

Hi, Simone, and anyone else looking for community. I have 30 acres in the southwest corner of VA, sandwiched between TN and KY in the foothills of the Appalachian range. It has about 10 acres cleared, the rest is woods. I’m figuring 5-6 homes around the shared central core. Share large barn, garden area, pastures, and infrastructure. Plenty of clay for cob or adobe; plenty of wood for round wood, wattle, and firewood. Need strong, healthy, energetic, self-motivated, considerate people to develop a tight liberty-loving community with almost no restrictions or interference from town, county, or state. Drop me an email at and I’ll send you a pdf with pictures and other info about the homestead.
My only restrictions are: no drugs, smoking, or drunkenness. My rules are the 10 Commandments, though I’m tolerant of those with different spiritual beliefs (1, 2) as long as they adhere to 3-10. I’m not an evangelist or a tyrant, and I don’t expect people to be perfect, only growing better every day.
Applicants will need some capital to lease a bit of land for their dwelling (minimum $1,000 deposit and $100 a month toward community expenses), for building materials that they can’t scavenge, and to support themselves until they can develop an income stream. I don’t think there are many jobs available in the nearby area, though I haven’t really looked. Everyone who wants a job appears to have one.
The school bus stops at the bottom of our drive. Public schools are adequate. Home schooling is an option. Lots of small churches of various denominations in the area, farm supply, hardware, auto parts, a few restaurants in town 5 miles away, and Walmart Superstore 7 miles. Nearest large city, Kingsport, TN, with big box stores is 35 miles SE. Local and state parks within 20 miles. Email me any questions you may have.
Joy and abundance,
Cory Layne

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Hi Simone! It sounds as if you’re looking for a home that is warm in the winter, and while Missouri certainly doesn’t (yet) meet that requirement, I would encourage you to check out existing communities. Starting a community is a HUGE task, that will be all-consuming for at least the first ten years. While ultimately fulfilling it can be exhausting and leave very little time for crafting the kind of life you were hoping to live. Dancing Rabbit ecovillage has been here for 25 years and has many natural, hand built houses, plus years of consensus experience and the opportunity to learn from mistakes. Same with Earthaven. Best wishes to you!

Thanks, Alline. I can’t remember what I said in my initial post, but I definitely don’t want to start a community from scratch. I’m aware of Dancing Rabbit and have recently visited Earthaven, but neither location feels right to me. I’m going to be spending some time in the Taos area this fall and will be checking out possibilities there. Cheers, Simone

I’m wondering, would such houses count as dwellings in the zoning codes? Depending on how big they are etc.? Or because they’re “unconventional” builds could they slide under the zoning radar? Adobe is well known so probably would count re. zoning, but I wonder about less common methods and whether they could be a plan in a place where zoning is brutal. Zoning is going to be one of our biggest problems in starting a community.

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