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They’re engaging, dynamic, deeply knowledgeable, experienced and, at times, completely hilarious.

Forest at Wild Abundance Adam Brock

Adam BrockAdam Brock (he/him) is a Denver-based cultural artist working in the medium of regenerative social design. For over a decade, he has worked to create the conditions for regenerative relationships among individuals, grassroots initiatives, and institutions throughout the country.

As co-founder of food justice nonprofit The GrowHaus, Adam led the transformation of abandoned half-acre greenhouse into an award-winning hub for healthy food and urban agriculture. While at GrowHaus, Adam co-chaired Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council, spoke at TEDxMileHigh, and was named one of “Colorado’s Top Thinkers” by the Denver Post.

A trained permaculture designer since 2008, Adam has led over a dozen Permaculture Design Courses and is a national leader in the field of social permaculture. In 2017, Adam published Change Here Now: Permaculture Strategies for Personal And Community Transformationa recipe book for social change inspired by the more-than-human world. Since 2019, Adam has served as co-director at Regenerate Change, a national consulting and education group focused on regenerative social design.

Forest at Wild Abundance Alex Henderson

Alex (he/they) has twelve years of combined architectural and construction experience working as a designer, educator, and builder. He received a five-year professional degree of Architecture from Auburn University, where he spent two and a half years attending Auburn University’s Rural Studio. After graduating, he joined the staff of Auburn’s Rural Studio and worked for four years as 3rd Year Instructor and Construction Coordinator. Alex moved to North Carolina in 2017, and helped start an alternative craft school called the Cabbage School in Leicester where he ran a yearly design/build program called the Two Week Shack Class. Alex received a Permaculture Design Certificate from Wild Abundance in 2019 and now runs a permaculture and architectural design practice called Somewhere Design.

Forest at Wild Abundance Alex Kilgore


Alex Kilgore

After getting a degree in experiential education in 1997, Alex moved far from town to live, work, and teach at a small primitive camp for children near Boone, NC. He quickly discovered a joy for simplicity, self sufficiency, building, and working with wood, which soon led him to start creating a small off-grid home where he still lives today. Along the way he learned a wide range of building skills through a number of different teachers. Since then Alex has split his time between teaching traditional living skills and working as a carpenter.

In working for Wild Abundance two of his biggest passions in life beautifully converge: teaching and working with wood. To his classes Alex brings his passion for empowering people, his attention to detail, plenty of patience, and a reverence for wooHe’s been teaching with Wild Abundance since its inception, receiving plenty of positive feedback from grateful students over the years. When not teaching or doing carpentry, he also enjoys canoeing, growing and gathering food, building genuine community through vulnerability, and kittens.

Alexandra Miller

Alexandra Miller

Alexandra Miller, carpentry instructor at Wild Abundance

Alexandra Miller (she/her) started out her career as a manufacturing engineer. In 2016 she fled corporate life to hike the AT and travel, and has spent as much time as possible in the woods since. She has an encompassing love for the natural world, especially mycology, botany and the interdependencies of ecology. The active alumni community at Nature Camp in VA has played a huge role in cultivating her curiosity about the natural sciences, but also in construction skills for repairing the old camp buildings and empowering her to lead building projects and teach classes at adult sessions of camp every year.

She has been following her curiosity from DIY shelters to natural building techniques such as rocket stoves and cobb structures, and recently moved to Asheville for a job cutting, installing and designing timber frame houses. She knows how intimidating these skills seem at the beginning, and how grateful she was for the warm and patient teachers she met along the way at volunteer projects, workshops, and timber frame community builds. She is so excited to be sharing her enthusiasm and opening new doors of possibilities with you!

Forest at Wild Abundance Amber Swaim

Instructor for Foraging & Herbal Medicine

Amber (she/her) migrated from her childhood home in Homer, Alaska in search of warmer pastures. She landed in the rich mountainous fold of Western North Carolina where she currently farms, forages and plays with her sweetie, their two spritely young boys and baby girl. Inspired by the woodland squirrels, fairies, and gnomes, Amber’s family gathers and tucks away an impressive cache of wild nuts annually. They feast on their nuts all year round and likewise share them with their herd of forest-fed hogs at Glorious Forest Farm. She is a magical concoctress of wild food delicacies and small-batch, seasonal tinctures, potions and flower essences.

Forest at Wild Abundance Anna Littman

anna littmanAnna Littman is a farmer, teacher, mom, and an artist whose current media are soil, vegetables, and flowers. When she was 9-years-old Anna could be most often found in the garden, in front of a loom, or standing on a chair at the kitchen counter cooking recipes from a Julia Child cookbook she checked out at the library. Anna loves introducing people to the joys of learning, gardening, and vegetables through farm exploration and gardening workshops. Anna has directed Ivy Creek Family Farm for 15 years. She grows food year-round for two thriving markets, 80 CSA members, a community farm stand, restaurants, and her local food pantry. Check out her farm at Check out the organization she founded at

Becky Boisvert

Becky Boisvert, Instructor for Permaculture Design CourseAn inveterate adventurer, Becky (she/her) has grown to see life itself as the adventure. That life is made richer in community at Earthaven where Becky, her daughter Willow, and her co-parent Sanne moved in 2018.

Becky loves taking lofty creative visions and bringing them to life—whether her own or others’. In her first career as an educator, she taught at an arts-integrated charter school, mentored gap-year students in India and Guatemala, and created a holistic middle school. Since then, she has produced two documentary films, coached individuals and couples toward greater wholeness, and begun holding mediations.

Forest at Wild Abundance Ben Falk

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Ben Falk (he/him) lives permaculture every day at his Vermont homestead, a testing-ground for ideas and projects that he shares with the wider world through teaching, consulting, and writing. He founded Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. He’s the author of the award-winning book “The Resilient Farm and Homestead.” This guy walks his talk!

Forest at Wild Abundance Benjamin Portwood

Instructor for the Permaculture Design Certification Course

Benjamin (he/him) is a founder of Edible Yard & Garden, a full-service landscaping company operating in Asheville, NC, and Atlanta, GA. He has been designing and installing rainwater harvesting systems and edible and ecological landscapes since 2008. Along with Edible Yard & Garden, he is currently developing a 17-acre sustainable farm in Barnardsville, NC. He derives great joy from harvesting rainwater and planting trees.

Forest at Wild Abundance Bevelyn Afor Ukah

Bevelyn UkahBevelyn Afor Ukah (She/her) works as a consultant to train youth and adults in building skills that encourage equity, organizational efficiency, cultural connection, and collaboration. She has traveled around the world and has lived in three countries.

She is a self-taught artist, developing her practice as a form of inner resilience, hoping that her work inspires others to build their own self and community-love practices.  She is a part of the Black Women’s Art Collective of Public Art Practice.

Bevelyn is passionate about discouraging divisiveness and she works with audiences in their journeys to recognize multiple truths. She is moved most when working in multigenerational settings.

To her, so much is possible with self-reflection and building true methods of accountability.

Bevelyn received her Bachelors in International Studies, Sociology and Anthropology from Guilford College where she was a Bonner Scholar and Multicultural Leadership Scholar.  She completed her Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management (with a concentration on facilitation and social justice).

Bevelyn is the founding consultant of ​AFI Oak Consulting​, co-founding consultant of the Auralite Collective and the co-founder of Mekafi​, a social enterprise that supports Black farmers through moringa oleifera.

She coordinates the Food Youth Initiative Program (FYI), a program of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), which engages youth that lead food justice work across North Carolina. She also co-coordinates the Racial Equity in Food Systems initiative at CEFS, which develops a shared understanding of language, history and race. She works as the Capacity Building Director at W9 Solutions, supporting the continued growth of youth leadership development through soccer, especially for youth most marginalized from the sport.  She serves on the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm Board, the National Rooted in Community Board and the NC Climate Justice Collective.

Forest at Wild Abundance Brad Lancaster

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Brad Lancaster (he/him) is an expert in the field of rainwater harvesting and water management. He authored the book on these subjects, “Rainwater Harvesting,” and he has created a verdant oasis at his home in Tucson, AZ, where rainwater is often less than 12 inches per year!

Brandon Greenstein

Brandon Greenstein, Instructor for Permaculture Design Course

Brandon (he/they) is the Online Growers School Consulting Director and Sustainability Coach, providing support services to farmers, homesteaders, gardeners, and those seeking sustainability solutions. His background is in Renewable Systems, Earthworks, Energy, Water, Homesteading, Permaculture, and specifically providing consulting, design, and technical services for the creation of low impact, energy conserving, and integrated systems.

Brandon works with chainsaws, hand tools, heavy equipment, construction projects, water systems, and most everything having to do with the practicalities of ecological design. Meanwhile he also is pursuing trauma and body based therapy to support his work with people, community and Earth. Brandon currently lives at Earthaven Ecovillage in WNC in an off grid duplex, practicing community, partnering, parenting and philosophizing about existence and how to optimize it.

Forest at Wild Abundance Brandon Ruiz

Brandon Ruiz

Brandon Ruiz (he/him) is a Community Herbalist and Urban Farmer based in Charlotte, NC. His farming project Yucayeke Farms focuses on providing equal and affordable access to herbal medicine and culturally-relevant foods to his community. He specializes in medicines of his native Puerto Rico, throughout the Caribbean and Appalachia.

Forest at Wild Abundance Brian Snedecker

Brian Snedecker

Brian Snedeker (he/him) has had a lifelong love-affair with old tools and craft. He’s been timber framing for over 15 years, from repairing and stabilizing historic barns and homes in New England, to designing and building frames and practicing carpentry here in the Asheville area for the past decade.

Brian has been sharing skills for the craft of timber framing for many years. As a member of the Timber Framers Guild, Brian participates in conferences, skill sharing, and continuing education. Brian not only loves building timber frames, he also finds joy in sharing the craft with others. Indeed, he’s excited to continually adapt this time-honored building style for modern applications. Along with lots of building, Brian cares for a bustling rural homestead with his partner and their twins. All of this is to say: his skill is accompanied by patience and flexibility.

Originally from New Hampshire, Brian grew up rurally being active and outdoors. His love for old tools, craft, and building began young with influence from his father. Timber framing, however, didn’t come into his life until his early 20’s when he came upon the good fortune of getting a job in historic preservation in Huntington VT. While working there, he repaired, stabilized, sometimes disassembled and rebuilt historic, mostly English, agricultural buildings regionally. The beauty and function of these buildings really spoke to him. Naturally gravitating towards homesteading and craft he fell in love with this architecture and with timber framing immediately. Today he feels as thrilled to be a part of keeping this tradition alive and attached to its spirited roots as ever. Every building is a discovery. From historical preservation to modern timber frame designs and techniques, Brian loves being a part of a hard working team dedicated to high level craftsmanship, integrity, and learning. Brian owns Ivy Creek Timber Frames. 

Forest at Wild Abundance Brit Josa

Brit JosaBrit Josa (she/her), is an herbalist, astrology & tarot enthusiast, and word-weaver who resides just outside of the Linville Gorge area. She was first inspired to study herbalism and natural medicine over 10 years ago by her mother’s journey to healing through holistic healing practices.

She is the founder of Torches Ceremonials – a small business with a focus on channeled potions created with sustainably wildcrafted weeds and plants sourced from farmers in Western Carolina.

Brit believes in cultivating a relationship with and a reverence for the plants used as medicine, as well as the people who used those plants and tended to the land before us.

She hopes to inspire others to find magic in the mundane, and become ignited to help & heal themselves – with the ancient energies of earth medicine as Guides.

Forest at Wild Abundance Cailen Campbell

Instructor for Homesteading and Permaculture & Gardening

After dropping out of college in 1994, Cailen (he/him) completed a Permaculture Design Course and year-long natural building and permaculture apprenticeship at the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm in Summertown, TN, followed by a year-long apprenticeship with Eustace Conway at the Turtle Island Preserve, where he learned a diversity of skills related to early American and Appalachian pioneer-era life ways, including logging with animal power and log-building. For the next 17 years, he made a “career” out of co-creating symbiotic relationships with land-owners and basically homesteading in other people’s backyards in and around Asheville, NC. He is locally infamous for his portable suburban barnyard and semi-nomadic dairy goat herd seen foraging around the vacant lots and kudzu patches of West Asheville, his mobile cider-pressing, and his wild experiments in radical nutrition as highlighted in Sandor Katz’s book, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.

Cailen met his partner Chloe in 2011 while attending Martin Prechtel’s “school,” Bolad’s Kitchen, which has deeply informed and inspired their evolving approach to reawakening the indigenous soul and keeping the seeds of real culture alive through spiritual farming. In 2013, Cailen and Chloe bought 23 acres in Barnardsville, NC, just a mile up the holler from Wild Abundance, where they are developing a diversified and integrated permaculture-inspired homestead christened Bittersweet Farm. Cailen is passionate about developing community-based resilience, independence from the global/industrial economy, and truly sustainable Earth-based culture. He is also a locally renowned fiddler.

Callan Burton-Shore

Callan Burton-Shore, survival skills instructorCallan Burton-Shore (she/her) is a nature connection mentor, earthskills teacher, and craftsperson. She aims to live as connected to the land as possible and does not like to be kept indoors. She feels most connected most when climbing trees, tanning hides, making fire, and processing animals.

Callan grew up in the woods of Virginia at the Living Earth School where she first learned the basic survival skills and fell in love with the natural world. She made her spoon and friction fire there at the age of eight, and has never stopped learning since. She has taught at multiple nature connection schools, including The Living Earth School and where she currently teaches, Forest Floor Wilderness School in Asheville. For the last two years she has been a student in Luke Mclaughlin’s Deep Remembering Immersion program, where she was able to deepen her knowledge and assist in teaching skills and crafts. This fall she took over Luke’s role of teaching hide tanning at the Earthskills Rendezvous Gathering. She also sells wooden spoons and bowls she makes at markets and gatherings.

Forest at Wild Abundance Charity Cimmaron

Instructor for Women’s Empowerment and Foraging & Herbal Medicine

Charity Cimarron (she/her) is a mother, woodswitch, craftswoman, Waldorf Music and Handwork teacher, community organizer and performing musician. She spent many years living alternatively, off-the-grid in a straw-bale house, on a converted school bus, in tents, tipis, and yomes across the country.  She loves to spend countless hours hiding out in the underbrush, learning bird songs, eating wild foods, and making medicine. As an accomplished craftswoman she has many years of experience weaving, spinning, hide-tanning, sewing, book-binding and basket-weaving. And in between all of these she squeezes in a little song or two.

Forest at Wild Abundance Chloe Lieberman

Chloe Leiberman smiling in a garden

Instructor for Online Gardening School, Co-Visionary, Copywriter

Chloe (she/her) is passionate about nurturing a more beautiful, reciprocal, respectful relationship between humans and the rest of the living world. She is the co-director of the Online Gardening School, and also writes for Wild Abundance’s blog, newsletter, and website. In addition, Chloe jumps in to help out with management and strategy as the co-visionary for the business as a whole; she and Natalie have been working together for over 8 years. Chloe has been passionate about food and farming for over 20 years, with a special love for the interactions between human communities and their food systems. She studied Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz, has learned and practiced gardening in five countries, and continues to feel delighted every time she serves a homegrown meal to friends and family. Along with working at Wild Abundance, Chloe gives her life energy to growing food, parenting, community care, lifelong learning, and maintaining meaningful relationships.

Chloe Vieira

Chloe Vieira, guest instructor, Permaculture Design at Wild Abundance

Chloe Vieira is a proud trans woman, a wife and parent of two incredible children, and a community member, hearth tender, farmer and ritualist at Earthaven Ecovillage. She is also a musician, a storyteller, an educator, a builder, an integrative ecosocial designer, and a holistic life coach specializing in gender exploration and transformation as a part of the journey of rewilding and remembering our interconnectedness with the more than human world. You can read more about her work and get in touch at


Chris Farmer

Chris Farmer, Instructor for the Permaculture Design CourseWhen Chris (he/him) was 20 years old, he realized that he had never eaten a single thing that he knew where it came from. At 22, he helped start an organic vegetable farm outside of Olympia, WA. Journeying home to the Carolinas to be closer to family, he moved to Earthaven Ecovillage.

Since his arrival to EH in 1997, Chris has cleared his own farm field, designed and built passive solar homes using the wood from the trees he has killed (including his own Microhut), held leadership positions in the community, raised turkeys, grown vegetables, co-founded the Forestry Cooperative, designed and installed multiple off-grid energy systems, and a few other things.

His newest excitement is dabbling in small-scale biochar production and wood gasification at Gateway Farm. Regardless of how Chris is spending his days he’s often wondering what it’s going to take to get us through these upcoming troubled times.

Forest at Wild Abundance Dallas Conyers

Dallas ConyersDallas Conyers (she/her) is the instructor for “yoga for gardeners” in the Online Gardening school. She reminds us all to stay limber and strong while we work! She works as a Body Restoration Specialist: teaching yoga, foods for healing, and spiritual reestablishment to help people become ABLE to live out their creation purpose. Dallas is also a certified Sustainable Agriculturalist, Beekeeper, and Greenhouse Husbandman. She uses her micro-farm to practice and educate others on: eco-system restoration, soil regeneration, no-till square foot farming, and pollinator cultivation; for our world and for our survival. Reverend Dallas delightedly sits under the leadership of Rev. Dr. M. Keith McDaniel as an associate at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

Forest at Wild Abundance Daniel Ostrowski

Daniel OstrowskiDaniel (he/him) grew up at the base of a fourteen-thousand-foot mountain in far Northern California and has loved plants all his life. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Plant Sciences and an emphasis in Crop production and Viticulture. After college he went to work for a pesticide and fertilizer retailer as a consultant and salesman of these products. During this time he looked at over 10,000 acres/week of wine grapes, almonds, pistachios, processing tomatoes, alfalfa, and every crop in-between. He learned an incredible amount, but also saw first-hand the detriment  pesticides have on ecological systems and the air and water we all depend on. An opportunity arose to work on a 1000 acre organic vegetable farm as the pest management and fertility specialist. He jumped at the opportunity and immediately figured out that it was indeed possible to grow large amounts of food in a more sustainable way. It was here that Daniel became invigorated with the ecological systems of pests and diseases, and how to intervene in ways that would disrupt these cycles but not at the expense of our environment. I took a deep dive into how the health of the soil translated to plant health. He then set out to expand his influence from just those 1000 acres to the broader agricultural systems and to try and promote systemic change. He currently works as an  extension agent and works with a diverse group of growers using many practices. Guest teaching a course like this is exactly the type of knowledge he wants to promote! 

“I want people to feel excited about plants and the food that they  eat. I want people to grow their own food and feel rebellious, but also the deep biological  connection we all have to plants and the rich soils that they grow in. If I can help you feel  passionate about plants and how to grow them, then I feel like I am on my way to fulfilling my  greatest goal.”

Forest at Wild Abundance Danielle Swift
Danielle Swift
Danielle (she/her) remembers as a child watching her dad, a contractor, run a nail through his hair before driving it clean into an oak fencepost (the first two un-greased nails had bent). This lesson in building, friction, and hygiene left a big impression. She was already inclined to think with her hands, so having access to wood shops and blueprints and job sites fed her passions for designing
and making things.

Her career in construction officially started at 15 with a summer job as a laborer working for her
uncle’s design/build firm in Maryland. She continued acquiring building experience and tools
through college, ultimately graduating from SCAD with a master’s degree in Architecture and a
dual BA in Architecture and Historic Preservation. She went on to work as a construction project
manager on mostly high-end residential historic projects. Out of sixty project managers at the
company, she was the only female. Being in a male-dominated field came with challenges, but
her passion for working with the built environment kept her motivated to move through them.

For the past four years, Danielle has been designing, building and managing projects
independently in Asheville. She loves that she’s been able to fuse together her varied
skillsets and is always excited about the next project. She also loves pastries, swimming holes
and dance floors!

Forest at Wild Abundance DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren

DeLessin "Roo" George-Warren

DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren (he/him) is an artist, educator, and community ecologist from Catawba Indian Nation whose work ranges from performance to installation art to community education to food sovereignty to language revitalization. From 2017-2019 he was the Special Projects Coordinator for the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project where he facilitated the Catawba Language Project (including developing and programming online digital assets such as the Catawba Language App), several food sovereignty initiatives, and other community education projects. Since 2019 he has continued to work for his tribe as a consultant on many projects including: language revitalization, food sovereignty, educational sovereignty, cultural healing, teacher training, grant writing and much more. DeLesslin’s work focuses on reweaving Catawba culture with policy, fundraising, program development, and community education to create a resilient community for future generations. DeLesslin is a 2017 graduate of the Wild Abundance Permaculture Design Program and has applied that experience to his personal gardens, Catawba community gardens, and other tribal community programs.
Delia Jovel

Delia Jovel (she/her) was born and raised in El Salvador and has always been passionate about the social justice movement. In 2014 she came to North Carolina and started working supporting Hispanic communities in the Henderson and Buncombe area. In 2020, she started ABUNDANCIA, a culturally appropriate food distribution and TIERRA FERTIL COOP, a Hispanic-owned farm cooperative. In 2023, she also worked developing ESCUELA CAMPESINA, a collaborative initiative oriented to reconnect hispanic community with farming, food and health.



Forest at Wild Abundance Doug Elliot


Instructor for Rewilding and Foraging & Herbal Medicine

Whether he’s pointing out poison ivy, pontificating on poke sallet, extolling the virtues of dandelions, or telling wild snake tales, naturalist, herbalist, and storyteller, Doug Elliott (he/him) is known for his lively storytelling as well as his broad, practical, scientific and cultural knowledge of useful wild plants.  He has written articles for regional and national magazines, authored five books, produced a number of award winning recordings of stories and songs, and is occasionally seen on PBS-TV, and the History and National Geographic Channels.

Elijah Strongheart

Elijah Strongheart, survival skills instructorElijah Strongheart (he/him)grew up in the Appalachian mountains. With deep influences from Ch’ann and other philosophical traditions, he has engaged much of his life in the study of communication. Elijah draws his class material largely from tracking, ritual, and play. When not reading or playing go, he might be building something artistic, or functional, or ideally both. Then again, he might be climbing the side of a mountain or paddling down a narrow gorge. Diversity breeds immunity. Organizing oneself in the context of survival and thrival brings much resilience and peace. One of his deep loves of earthskills is the way it draws forth the creativity in every individual and community.

Elizabeth Díaz

Elizabeth Díaz, instructor of permaculture design at Wild Abundance

Elizabeth Díaz (she/her) has been getting her hands dirty in Western North Carolina since 2004. After graduating from Warren Wilson College in 2006 with a made-up degree in “Social and Activist Theater,” she soon began pursuing a life more deeply connected to food and other basic human needs. In April 2010, she began a love affair with cows while work-exchanging on a farm at Earthaven.

Elizabeth now runs a small subsistence farm in the community, where, along with the support of many others, she tends to a variety of animals and the plants and land that feed them.

Elizabeth’s father came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1959, her mother’s father came here from Sweden on a ship transporting prisoners of war during World War II, and her maternal lineage came to the U.S. from the Netherlands and Sweden. She grew up in the Appalachian foothills of Middletown, Maryland.

Elizabeth is dedicated to a life of feeding that which feeds her. In addition to animal agriculture, she is involved in Earthaven community governance and death care midwifery.


Forest at Wild Abundance Ella Scotto

Instructor for Women’s Carpentry

Ella (she/her) took a carpentry class with Wild Abundance in 2017. After that, she bought an acre of land in Barnardsville, NC and began building a house. Since then, she has been working with Barron Brown– learning everything she could about carpentry and construction. Ella is always eager to learn more, and is constantly honing her carpentry skills. She’s also a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2015, she settled in Asheville to build her practice and to pursue a dream of homesteading. Ella spends the majority of her free time with her dogs, rock climbing, backpacking and paddle boarding.

Forest at Wild Abundance Ellie Richards

Instructor for Carpentry

Ellie Richards (she/her) is an artist living and working in Penland, North Carolina, she is the wood studio coordinator at Penland School of Crafts.  Her work, both furniture and sculpture, are exhibited widely including recent juried exhibitions at the Mint Museum,  the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, SOFA Chicago, and the Society of Contemporary Craft.  Following an MFA in Wood from Arizona State University, Ellie was a resident artist and shop technician at Peters Valley School of Craft and the Appalachian Center for Craft.  Making objects in wood is the way most of her time is spent, she is interested in the intersection of working and playing and believes that tools, when used with a safe understanding, can provide empowerment and freedom.   She teaches this philosophy in craft programs throughout the country.

Emileigh Zola

Emileigh Bell Zola at her workshop in the Appalachian mountains where she makes handcrafted brooms and other slow crafts.Emileigh Zola (she/her) has a passion for curating spaces of depth, connection, and inspiration.Through her own trials of loss, transformation, and the unexpected, she has learned many key tools for self growth that she loves sharing with others.

Emileigh is a life coach and loves working with women who are ready to commit themselves to creating long term, sustainable change in their lives.

She also owns her own craft business – Rhythm & Ritual – where her mantra is “Devotion to the Beauty of the Ordinary.” She teaches others to craft handmade brooms with mindfulness and also has her own virtual storefront.

When Emileigh is not working or crafting, she loves spending time with her two daughters, hiking, cold plunging, traveling, and connecting to community.


Era Keys

era keys

Era Keys (they/them) is a queer, non-binary permaculture educator, consultant, and designer. They have experienced living and working in Permaculture since 2013. In the past 10 years has seen Era living and managing permaculture farms, permaculture design business, educating in North Florida, Puerto Rico, Oregon + North Carolina, and living in an EcoVillage based in permaculture. Era currently resides outside of Asheville, NC with their family where they are creating a permaculture homestead. Era’s ultimate goal is to produce high quality permaculture education and tools that are accessible and digestible for the everyday person, so that together we may weather the ever-evolving challenges of today’s world through their business Earth Minded Landscapes and Farm. 

Forest at Wild Abundance Eric Toensmeier

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Eric Toensmeier (he/him) is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens as well as a contributor for Drawdown. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied permaculture and useful plants of the world for over two decades. He managed an urban farm project for five years, ran a seed company, and co-developed a farm business training curriculum that is now used in eight US states and three Canadian provinces. Eric’s most recent book is the Carbon Farming: a Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices which was backed by supporters through a Kickstarter campaign.

Forest at Wild Abundance Evan Cohen

Evan CohenEvan (she/her) is a queer, cis-gendered, Jewish herbalist, birth doula, and creator of many things magic. She has lived in the mountains of Asheville, NC since 2008 where she has fostered a deep love and connection with these ancient mountains and the lessons they have to teach.

Evan grew up on the coast of Georgia, a place which still deeply holds a piece of her heart. Her mother introduced her to flower essences and homeopaths at a very young age, when she began seeing a healer named Beverly Holt. Bev later moved to Asheville where she began teaching Evan about flower essences and tapping into intuition. In early 2020, Evan had the privledge of supporting Bev through the portal of death, and she hopes to carry on her legacy as a healer and flower essence practitioner. Evan strongly believes in honoring those that came before us, taught us what we know, and inspired us to be the people that we are.

Evan’s passion for support, noticing the unseen, and slowing down, all deeply inform her work, her activism, her teaching style, and the way that she shows up as a doula and in her herbal practice.

When Evan is not at a birth or in the garden, you can find her dancing in the living room (or on the dance floor in another world!), drinking Japanese green tea, and snuggling her cats.

You can check out her website to learn more at

Forest at Wild Abundance Evanye Lawson

Guest Instructor for Women’s Rewilding Weekend

Evanye Lawson (she/her) is a licensed psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and  founder of The Self Love Center. Her work is in breathwork, liberation, radical self love, pleasure, education, and nondualism. Her work centers nondual spirituality with self love, sacred sexuality and conscious relationships. She offers live workshops, healing ceremonies, meditations, online courses, and private sessions. Her website is


Forest at Wild Abundance Frank Salzano


Frank Salzano, instructor of Permaculture


Frank (he/him) grew up in the hill country of the Allegheny Plateau of southern West Virginia. While in college in Shepherdstown, WV, he was elected to local government and became the youngest city councilman in the history of West Virginia. Since then, he has spent his life extensively practicing and studying temperate climate permaculture and agroforestry. He is particularly interested in nut- and fruit-bearing tree crops, perennial plant propagation, and ethnobotany for the homestead. He has created a small-scale germplasm with a significant amount of diversity of chestnuts, hazelnuts and pawpaws. He also loves sedimentary geology, mythology and astrology. He has a Leo moon, and his Gemini Sun is conjunct his Mercury.

George Brabant

George Brabant, a Guest Instructor, talks about soil health to a PDC class touring his permaculture landscape

George Brabant (he/him) and his wife have been creating a permaculture designed food forest in Asheville NC for a little over a decade now. At Phat Ninja Foodforest, they grow the majority of their food on a 1/2 acre located in the city of Asheville, NC. The entire property is planted in a series of interconnected swales and ponds and guilds with chickens and ducks ranging free throughout.

Germaine Jenkins

Germaine Jenkins (she/they) is the co-founder of Fresh Future Farm Inc. which operates a nonprofit farm and grocery store that grows the quality of life their neighbors deserve in North Charleston, SC. 

Ms. Jenkins is a nationally-recognized, visionary leader in the urban agriculture space and passionate advocate for food justice. Born in Hartsville, SC and raised in Cleveland, OH, Germaine returned to South Carolina to earn degrees from Johnson & Wales University and pursue liberation for her family through food. Ms. Jenkins and the FFF team have collaborated with Seedlight Pictures on a 1,000+ hour oral history archive for upcoming social impact website Rooted Stories and 90-minute documentary, Rooted Film, where she serves as principal participant and Co-Producer.

As Community Network Manager for Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD), they are excited about curating in-person and virtual content aligned with BIPOC community led food system principles across the United States.

Jennifer Verprauskus

Jennifer Verprauskus, guest instructor in the Permaculture Design Course at Wild Abundance

Jennifer (she/her) is a Licensed Landscape Architect, Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a Permaculture Design Certificate Holder. She teaches classes at the North Carolina Arboretum and has taught at conferences across the country.

Jennifer has been passionately involved in landscaping and environmental work as long as she can remember. She studied landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts and California Polytechnic State University, and has traveled extensively around the world, exploring place-based landscape design, permaculture techniques and the ways people built their life around self-grown organic produce.

She loves to help people re-connect with their food source, through effective design. Her mission is to bridge the gap between ornamental and sustainable landscape design. She currently works with homeowners and contractors in the Asheville area to build aesthetically pleasing landscapes and intentional spaces. Through the use of creative design solutions every planned landscape serves a purpose and that is Jennifer’s purpose.



Forest at Wild Abundance Jeramy Stauffer
Jeramy Stauffer (he/him) moved to North Carolina in the winter of 2002. He had been building in Vermont prior to the move. Immediately he found a work family with Nanostead’s sister company South East Ecological Design. Jeramy soon became a project manager and strictly focused on green building and wanted to build with a small footprint. He built a 327 sq. ft. Home in the Shelton Laurel community of Madison County in 2004. During construction he purchased a 19’ Yome, from Red Sky Shelters. During the winter months, they rented a 14’x14’ apartment and realized living in small spaces can be very comfortable.

In 2013 after having built multiple homes for South East Ecological Design, Jeramy wanted to go off on his own and create turn-key, small scale homesteads and build homes with a small footprint. Jeramy brought Kevin Ward (Owner of South East Ecological Design) into the business as an equity partner and lead designer.  Once Nanostead was created in October of 2013 Nanostead’s first job was at the Hot Springs Campground, building 2 vacation cabins. During that process Nanostead built the Villager Tiny Home for Natalie Pollard, the owner of Villagers Homestead Supply located in West Asheville, NC.   

With the national press that Nanostead’s first THOW (Tiny House On Wheels) got because of Natalie’s blog, “Hello Tiny Home,” it didn’t take long for the sparks to fly.  He and his partners, Kevin Ward and Charles Todd Rule, fell in love with designing and building Tiny Houses.  The Villager model has been on television shows such as Tiny House Hunters and CNN.  It has also been published in multiple magazines and web blogs.

Since Nanostead has started Jeramy has become an Educator for the Tiny House Movement.  His class, Tiny Homes and Small Scale Living at AB Tech Community College has become a hit with people interested in multiple aspects of the Tiny House movement. He has taught short classes and half day workshops at The Organic Growers School in Asheville, NC. Jeramy hopes to use Nanostead’s commercial space to teach workshops and invite others to teach small scale homesteading classes as well.

Forest at Wild Abundance Jewel Pearson

Jewel D. Pearson/Ms. Bohemian Soul (she/her). After downsizing her homes and lifestyle over the course of 10 years, Jewel designed and built a beautiful tiny house, in May of 2015, that she calls home. Her home represents a desire that many have to reduce their ecological footprint and focus more on practices of intentional living, living with less and sustainability. 

A product manager by day, Jewel’s also a tiny house advocate and community leader sharing her experiences, offering consulting services and workshops throughout the country to assist others in achieving their tiny living dreams. Jewel also serves as representation within the movement, ensuring space for those who most often don’t see themselves represented and is focused on doing the work of changing and challenging the status quo of housing and community.

Connect with Jewel here:

Justin Holt

Justin Holt, guest instructor at the PDC course at Wild Abundance

Justin Holt (he/him) has worked in agroecological design, education, and production for over 12 years, with a particular tap-rooted commitment to tree crops. He is co-founder and worker-owner of the Nutty Buddy Collective and Asheville Nuttery, and co-founder of Kudzu Culture. He also teaches foraging and works as a freelance permaculture designer and consultant.

Forest at Wild Abundance Kaleb Wallace

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Kaleb (he/him) is co-founder of the Firefly Gathering. He masterfully shares knowledge on human nutrition, fermentation and primitive skills. He lives in the mountains in Barnardsville, NC.

Forest at Wild Abundance Kearsley Tate Schweller

Kearsley Tate SchwellerKearsley (she/her) is the bioregional Chef, folk herbalist, & artist cooking up local flavors in Kearsley’s Kitchen. She shares her seasonally inspired meals and musings in the form of pop-up dinners, private catering, wildcrafted herbal elixirs, & seasonal cookbooks that detail her favorite recipes, herbal remedies, and rituals for connecting with each season. In 2018 Kearsley apprenticed under Becky Beyer and studied Appalachian & European folk traditions that included bioregional wildcrafting & medicine making as well as learning the animistic rituals of her German- British Isles ancestors. She describes her way of life to be the “slow simmer” – a delicate balance between actively tending the skillet and unraveling the need to be perpetually productive by wandering the lush ecosystem of Southern Appalachia, practicing Irish Step dancing, & exploring the art of symbolism, dreams, & earth-based ritual.

Read more about Kearsley’s seasonally inspired musings at Kearsley’s Kitchen

Forest at Wild Abundance Keenan Phillips

Keenan (he/him) was always curious as a young kid. His parents were building a house around age 3-5 and they spent time seeing many houses in progress. He loved it! Touring an unfinished house was one of his favorite things to do as a kid, picking up strips of nails, seeing where the pipes and wires went, the rough framing, sheetrock halfway hung. He learned a lot from that and still enjoys being in homes of all stages of construction.

Out of high school Keenan went to college to study Physics and Engineering, but after a couple years decided that wasn’t quite the path for him. He’d always dreamt of building his own home and finally embarked on that journey in his mid-twenties figuring it would be better to apply that college education in a way that could liberate his life rather than indebt it. It caught the attention of friends and neighbors and resulted in the accidental creation of his small construction/renovation business, KSPhillips Contracting.

He recently finished his 5th start to finish house (2nd fully off-grid solar electric) and got the 6th one “dried-in” during one of Wild Abundance’s Tiny House Workshops. He’s done many other projects and renovations over the years and is excited to share what he’s learned to empower others. Keenan is truly wise beyond his years. Check his website or Instagram (@KSPhillips_Contracting) to get a glimpse of all the wildness he gets into!

Forest at Wild Abundance Laura Lengnick

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Laura Lengnick (she/her) has more than 25 years of leadership experience using design and planning to move sustainability values into action in businesses, community organizations and government policy and programs across a diversity of scales from local to national. Check out her company, Cultivating Resilience, LLC.

Forest at Wild Abundance Laura Ruby

Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Laura (she/they) earned her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2002 from Crystal Waters EcoVillage in Australia. Since then, she has been implementing permaculture systems on her own urban property in downtown Boulder, CO, and for her clients in the area. She recently moved to Western North Carolina and is designing and implementing a 56-acre Permaculture education center and event space. In the past, Laura worked as the Garden Coordinator for a Colorado nonprofit, the Growe Foundation. Through this organization, she helped establish gardens at 14 Boulder Valley School District elementary schools, working to install gardens, teach various garden-related subjects and offer support for the parent and teacher school communities.

To complement her work in schools, Laura also started Yummy Yards, an edible landscape design and consulting company. She also co-taught and co-facilitated the first for-credit Permaculture Design Course at the University of Colorado and taught the first Permaculture Design course for 11- to 17-year-olds through Colorado University’s Science Discovery Program. She also ran the urban farming segment for the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She is both a Certified Permaculture Teacher and a Colorado Master Gardener, and she holds an MBA in Sustainable Business Development from Green Mountain College. She co-facilitates the Wild Abundance Permaculture Design Course along with Natalie.

Forest at Wild Abundance Leah Song

Leah (she/her) has spent her whole life pursuing the arts and its ability to empower. She has lived and traveled extensively across the globe, but she most credits her time in the her native south (Atlanta, New Orleans, and Southern Appalachia), in Latin America, and in India for helping sculpt her path. She has always been an artist- visually, through performance, and as a songsmith. She has developed her artistry alongside social justice and traditional arts communities around the world- working with muralists in Mexico alongside the Zapatista movement, in the folk music communities of Cuba, Columbia, Ireland, New Orleans and North Carolina, AND honing the art of public speaking through 12 years touring as front woman of her band Rising Appalachia. She studied yoga and meditation in India and continues to train in both acro-yoga, and mindfulness practices to balance out her very public life. She was certified with the Prison Yoga Project in 2015 to bring mindfulness practices into underserved communities outside of the studio world. She combines music, movement, storytelling, and a global sense of justice into all that she does, from the stage to the classroom, using her voice and her vision as a means of creating community.

You can learn more about her primary work at

Forest at Wild Abundance Lewis Blake

Lewis BlakeLewis Blake (he/him) loves plants! He’s been growing and tending both annual and perennial crops for many years. He and his family grow berries and salad for market at their farm, Bear Necessities, based out of Weaverville, NC. They also bring potted, perennial plants and fruit bushes for edible and otherwise “useful” landscaping to Asheville-area tailgate markets. He’s excited to be teaching berry growing to our Online Gardening School students.

Forest at Wild Abundance Lucretia Vandyke

Instructor for Women’s Rewilding

With a journey that began as a little girl mixing herbs, clays, & muds on her grandparents’ farm, Lucretia VanDyke (she/her) has been in the industry for over 20 years. A Holistic Educator, Speaker, Herbalist, Sacred Sexologist, Ceremonialist, Spiritual Light Coach, Intuitive Energetic & Reiki Practitioner, Diviner, & world traveler with over 3000 hours of training. She has been a holistic esthetician & practitioner for over a decade focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals, plant spirit medicine, and meditation into your modern day practices.
Often referred to as the “Beyonce or Lizzo of herbalism” Lucretia brings her vivacious spirit and message of self love in her work to inspire others to embrace their unique beauty and purpose.
Her work with herbs and sacred practices honors Women’s Wholeness Medicine, grief work, sexual trauma, ancestor connection, womb healing, self empowerment, food alchemy, & holistic skin care.
Forest at Wild Abundance Luke Cannon

Instructor for Foraging & Herbal Medicine and Permaculture & Gardening

More than a botanist, Luke (he/him) is a long-time pursuer and teacher of the magic and medicine of plants. His passion to study and understand the beautiful ecological intricacies of the natural world have led him throughout the Americas and across the globe. An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining his natural history studies with his life experience in organic farming, natural building, permaculture, nature-based mentoring and rural homesteading. Luke currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, studying Appalachian ecology, and making his living as an ethnobotany instructor at his organization, Astounding Earth, and as co-director of Forest Floor Wilderness Programs.

Madison Moore

Madison’s stoked to be teaching with Wild Abundance because she’s super passionate about empowering women with skills in a safe & welcoming environment. She’s been building on her own since middle school and also worked for a number of years on a framing crew doing residential carpentry. When not teaching, Madison spends a large portion of her time making art and metal-working.

Forest at Wild Abundance Marissa Percoco

Instructor for Homesteading

Marissa (she/her) is an avid fermentation enthusiast who has spent the last 10 years exploring community and the wilds, as well as living deeply with various fermented cultures and local plants, and learning how it all comes together. Traveling through the wild places of Tennessee, Florida, the Southwest, California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and most everywhere in between with her four amazingly adventurous children, Marissa has gathered cultures from far and wide. Deeply rooted in the Earthskills movement and committed to co-creating a new culture within which we, our children and all beings thrive, they are now nesting in Barnardsville, NC, and she humbly offers her humorous experiences to you. She is also the Director of the Firefly Gathering.

Mary Morgaine Squire

Mary Squire Instructor for Rewilding

Mary Morgaine Squire, aka Mary Plantwalker, was born a tender and documentarian. She naturally tends to the beings within any space she is in with the utmost attention and care. As the matriarch of Herb Mountain Farm, Mary creates sanctuary for plants, birds, humans and many other creatures through earth stewardship.

Documenting the life unfolding on this magical planet through writing, photography and collage, she hopes to inspire others to also care deeply for our Mother Earth. Mary’s community work is centered around being a folk plantwoman and ceremonialist and she invites the directions, elements and plants to lead the way for our collective growth and healing. As mother to two fiery red heads, she prioritizes the path of motherhood and family above all. Follow Mary on Instagram for more vivid green talk.


Forest at Wild Abundance Meredith Leigh

Instructor for Homesteading

Over the past thirteen years, Meredith (she/her) has worked as a farmer, chef, teacher, nonprofit executive director and writer, all in pursuit of sustainable food. She has developed a farmers cooperative, catalyzed nonprofit farm ventures, raised vegetables and flowers, and pastured meats, owned and managed a retail butcher shop, and authored The Ethical Meat Handbook: Complete Butchery, Charcuterie & Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore. Currently, Meredith spends some of her time teaching and traveling, and some of her time handling sheep, cooking, and doing outreach at Living Web Farms, a nonprofit education and research farm in Mills River, NC. She is a mother to two boys, many plants and fermentation projects and lives in Asheville, NC. Visit her website

Forest at Wild Abundance Mollie Curry


Mollie Curry, Natural Building Instructo

Instructor for Natural Building

Mollie (she/her) has been practicing natural building for over 20 years and is still in love with the mud! Natural paints and plasters are her favorite techniques, and she has plenty of “structural” experience with things like straw-bale building, earthbags, adobe, cob, straw-clay, and that most familiar of natural materials, wood. Besides building, she loves hiking, growing (and concocting) food and medicine, and listening to folks empathetically. She and her husband run MudStrawLove LLC and also play music with Chikomo Marimba.

Mollie was an early member of Earthaven Ecovillage, and lived there for 11 years. While at Earthaven, she also taught permaculture and had her hands in many projects, including community consensus self government. Now she lives in West Asheville on an urban permaculture homestead with a wide variety of plants, animals, and soil organisms that she cares for, all while doing her best to nurture food, beauty, and connections. She loves to focus on listening to people with empathy and encouraging others.

Monique Mazza

Monique Mazza, ND, guest instructor at the Wild Abundance PDCMonique Mazza, founder of Elements Naturopathic Medicine, is a unique Naturopathic Physician who embodies her teachings by living a sustainable off-grid lifestyle at Earthaven Ecovillage since 2016. After a decade of clinical practice in a busy city, she grew tired of telling people how to be healthy and wanted to show them instead. Her home at Earthaven provides the precious space in nature to be a part-time clinician, a regenerative biodynamic gardener, homesteader, mother, and enthusiastic community member. She is dedicated to a life of service. Outside of her clinic, she can be found deep in her garden or kitchen, creating beauty around her community, or at her  desk serving on the legislative committee for the North Carolina Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Her Caribbean ancestry introduced her to the healing power of plants and reverence for nature at an early age. Her passion for food as medicine fuels her efforts to sustainably grow and raise much of her family’s food, including a diversity of vegetables, herbal medicines, fruits, berries, laying hens, broiler chickens, turkeys, and even rainbow trout!

She has a personal passion for learning, which currently has her focused on studying the evolving science around the human microbiome and its origin and relationship to the soil.

She is grateful and excited to be offering experiential health retreats in our 5,000 sq. ft organic garden nestled in the heart of Earthaven, where the art of healing is supported and consciously woven through our connections to nature and community.


Forest at Wild Abundance Nadi Mond

Nadi Mond, instructor of carpentry and tiny house building at Wild AbundanceNadi (they/them) has been on a quest to study traditional woodworking, metalworking and ancestral skills ever since leaving behind their Aerospace Engineering path in Germany where they grew up. While attending University in Germany they turned an old early 1900s circus trailer into their first tiny home they lived in for the duration of their studies. Building with no prior experience and figuring everything out on the spot empowered them to leave the corporate world in Germany behind and take their life into their own living, breathing hands.

They have been traveling the world with their now 6yo daughter, seeking out and learning from masters of all kinds of trades, from timberframing, traditional sailing and boatbuilding over natural building to metal working, diesel mechanics to blacksmithing and ancestral skills. In North Carolina they lived in a canvas shelter in the woods for a full year through the winter and apprenticed and worked with several contractors and learned about the ins and outs of conventional building. Besides teaching classes for Wild Abundance they work as a self employed carpenter, mechanic and setting up ancestral skills event infrastructure and use every chance they get to expand their skills and empower others.


Forest at Wild Abundance Nancy Basket

Nancy Basket

Nancy takes her name from a great grandmother long ago, Margaret Basket. Her Native heritage has influenced her creations for the last 40 years. She came South 30 years ago to gather Long Leaf Pine needles. Kudzu, an invasive vine growing 12” a day, talked to her, told her to make paper before she could make them into baskets. She has 8’ sculptures telling Native stories, has been an artist in education since 1990 and has a shop/gallery/studio in Walhalla, SC.

Forest at Wild Abundance Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie Bogwalker

Founder and Director of Wild Abundance; Instructor for Permaculture & Gardening

Natalie (she/her) is the visionary behind Wild Abundance, as well as the founder, director, and an instructor. She also dreams up new classes, is a big part of curriculum development, manages the campus and designs buildings. Natalie is passionate about teaching and sharing skills to help all kinds of people live in an empowered and earth-centered way. This includes her staff, and the skills of running a cooperative and sustainable values-based business.  

In 2008 Natalie founded the Firefly Gathering, an earthskills gathering focused on bringing people together to teach and learn. Under Natalie’s management, Firefly became the most well-attended event of its kind in the country, and the only one that was led by a woman. Natalie felt a strong desire to see the impact of sharing these skills with people throughout the year, not just at a once-a-year event, so in 2010 she founded Wild Abundance. 

At its inception, the school was a one-woman show with the goal of teaching people important skills (and earning enough of a living to keep doing that). As Wild Abundance has grown and matured, Natalie has embraced her role as a leader and an ecologically and socially-minded business person. (This has been challenging, given her anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, and anarchist background). She now works collaboratively with her beloved staff to create and innovate, so that Wild Abundance can be wildly successful at embodying and spreading its core values and growing its influence as an inspiring force of positive change in the world.  

Natalie and her daughter live at the Wild Abundance homestead campus in the Southern Appalachians. She balances her time between managing the logistics of the school, teaching, tending the garden, building, playing with her daughter, visiting wild places, connecting with her community, and basking in the beauty of nature. Read more about Natalie’s life and adventures here.

NikiAnne Feinberg

NikiAnne Feinberg, Permaculture Design InstructorNikiAnne (she/her) was born and raised on a horse and cattle ranch on the ancestral lands of the Salinan people in the Central Coast of California. She currently lives at Earthaven Ecovillage on unceded lands of the Catawba and Cherokee (Tsalagi) people. Her ancestors come from Eastern and Western Europe — France, Germany, and English Isles as well as Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia, from Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

Throughout the last two decades, NikiAnne has been immersed in community and in service to a wide range of educational endeavors focused on nature connection, personal empowerment, and community resilience. NikiAnne considers herself the grease and glue – that which helps things run smoothly or holds things together. Before co-founding SOIL in 2012, she worked and traveled through much of Asia, the Americas, and Europe, which made her formal education at George Washington University in International Affairs come alive in ways that can only happen through personal experience and relationships.  Collectively, these experiences have undeniably shaped her cooperative cultural values and commitment to supporting leaders to think, feel, act and design from a foundation rooted in interrelationship. No matter what she’s teaching, NikiAnne is always on the same mission: to raise awareness of our whole selves – gifts, passions, blind spots, shadows – and help those whole selves find and fill niches in their communities. This is how the web of life is woven, and the fabric of culture repaired. She’s especially eager to support those in transition – between vocations, stages of life, and stories of world and self. Within this context, she is particularly passionate about community grief tending and death care midwifery.


Noah, Instructor for Permaculture Design Course

Noah (he/him) is a farmer, writer, and educator that has gratefully called Western North Carolina home since 2014. At the core of all he does is an interest in relationship, both human-human and human-earth. This is why he farms: so that he can spend as much of his waking life as possible engaged in all forms of deep relationship with his community.

Noah has worked as a field biologist, forestry technician, arborist, land design consultant, and farm manager. His farming philosophy is grounded in a strong understanding of ecological patterns and a passion for effective small farms that revitalize rural communities and economies. With his diverse background and wide knowledge base, Noah co-runs Wild East Farm, facilitating a thriving farm ecosystem and educational space in which the community can become immersed native ecology, soils, animal physiology, and viable farm production systems. 

He looks forward to a lifetime living alongside and learning from the agrarian community of this place.

Forest at Wild Abundance Osker Brown

Instructor for Homesteading and Permaculture & Gardening

Osker (he/him) and his family manage Glorious Forest Farm in Madison county, where the goal is to re-establish humans as a responsible keystone species. Osker works toward appropriate land-management strategies that support vital ecosystems while meeting human needs. This work involves deepening relationships with nutrient dense wild foods like hazelnut, acorn, hickory and mulberry. It also includes domestic animals as a management tool and as a means for harvesting less edible wild plants and turning them into milk and meat.

Forest at Wild Abundance Patrick Shunney

Patrick Shunney, Timber Framing Instructor at Wild Abundance

Patrick Shunney, director of Shunney Timberworks,  began his building career inthe woods of West Virginia building forts from downed trees, and not much has changed.
After a background in architecture, he became a general contractor in 1998, and a TimberFramers Guild member shortly after that.
Based in Leetown, WV, he’s had the pleasure of working with dozens of brilliant and talented souls from all backgrounds and locales.
He loves to travel, meet new people and build great structures, so community builds are a perfect fit. His lovely and patient wife Jen holds down the fort while he gallivants around making sawdust.


Pete McKelvey

Pete McElvey, instructor for womens basic carpentry and Tiny House building workshops at Wild Abundance

After getting a degree in New Media in 2013, Pete didn’t take long to realize that sitting behind a computer screen just wasn’t going to cut it. A big believer in hands-on learning he threw himself into the world of carpentry, learning on the job while working for small custom home-builders and eventually taking a role as a supervisor with Habitat for Humanity. He learned his trade outside of conventional education and leans heavily on giving students the best outcomes through experiential education.
Currently, he splits his time between residential construction projects and teaching carpentry at Wild Abundance. When he’s not teaching Tiny House classes, Pete ironically lives in and chips away at his comically-sized 1907 Victorian fixer-upper close to downtown Asheville. He’s also a cycling advocate, experienced bike-packer, committed urbanist, believer in community, and aspiring weirdo.
Quetzal Jordan

Quetzal Jordan, carpentry instructor at Wild AbundanceOriginally from British Columbia, Canada and raised in Tampa FL, much of Quetzal’s (she/her) time is currently spent side by side with Mel Chin a conceptual visual artist in Burnsville, North Carolina. Quetzal’s day to day experience consists of her making and installing sculpture art, utilizing such skills as carpentry, welding, masonry and basic construction.

Quetzal an alumnus of the Women’s Carpentry Classes (Basic and Advanced) as well as the Tiny Home Building Workshop at Wild Abundance. Through these workshops, she met Barron Brown and started her carpentry career as his apprentice in 2019. Quetzal is currently living in Swannanoa (Asheville NC) with her partner, two cellos, and three cats.

“One of my greatest passions is to teach useful skills to people who are ready to learn!” – Quetzal

Forest at Wild Abundance Rebecca Beyer

Rebecca Beyer, instructor for Wildcrafted Apothecary Medicinal Herbs Course at Wild AbundanceRebecca Beyer (she/her) is an Appalachian folk herbalist, huntress, and wild food forager dedicated to living simply on the Earth. She has taught and presented at universities, conferences and gatherings over the last nine years with the hope of showing people that living a seasonal life grounded in connection with the Old Ways is possible. Through growing, foraging, hunting, fishing and preserving her own food, she strives to create a life as close to her ancestors as possible while paying homage to the diverse peoples who created her beloved Appalachia.

She makes her living tattooing, teaching foraging and Appalachian folk herbalism and craft classes at  her school, Blood and Spicebush School of Old Craft. Rebecca currently spends her days dedicating herself to Appalachian folk arts, primitive skills, folk music and learning the names of all the beings she shares her bioregion with.

Forest at Wild Abundance Robin Greenfield

Robin Greenfield (he/him) is an activist and humanitarian dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world. He embarks on extreme projects to bring attention to important global issues and inspire positive change. His work has been covered by media worldwide including National Geographic and he’s been named “The Robin Hood of modern times” by France 2 TV.

Robin’s life is an embodiment of Gandhi’s philosophy, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In a time when many feel disempowered, he believes that our actions really do matter and that as individuals and communities we have the power to improve the world around us. Robin donates 100% of his media earnings to grassroots organizations who are primarily BIPOC and women led. He has committed to living simply and responsibly for life.

Sam D

Sam, Instructor for Permaculture Design Course

Sam (he/him) is a therapist, poet, and small-time farmer who lives, works, and is regularly brought to his knees in Earthaven Ecovillage in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Scotty Karas

Scotty Karas, permaculture instructor at Wild Abundance

Scotty’s first experience growing plants was growing up with his mother in her suburban Maryland garden. He received his degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University in 2007. When Scotty was introduced to Permaculture on a WWOOF farm in 2008, he realized he was able to apply his engineering brain to living systems. Scotty received his PDC in 2009 and immediately started getting hands-on experience.

Scotty moved to Asheville in 2010 and has been learning alongside the mountains and the ecologies here ever since, growing gardens of his own and taking on edible landscaping clients. Scotty deepened his knowledge of plants in herbalism school with the Chestnut School of Herbal medicine in 2011. In 2016, Scotty and four other friends founded Sun Song Community in Barnardsville, NC. The purpose of this community is to tend the Earth together, raise children in community, and contribute to life through healing and holistic community events and workshops. Scotty is passionate about nature connection and mentoring children and adults to feel more connected to the natural world. He has spent 8 years working for Forest Floor Wilderness programs as a nature connection mentor. Scotty is also passionate about young men’s rites of passage work and has been working with Mountain Wisdom and Boy’s Sacred Fire since 2016.
Scotty and his wife Maayan run Soul Gardens which aims to connect people to the cycles and rhythms of the Earth, facilitate folks gaining a deeper understanding of themselves, and to celebrate beauty. He is a proud father, community member, mentor, and earth tender.
Shawn Jadrnicek

Shawn Jadrnicek

Shawn Jadrnicek has nourished his interest in agriculture through his work as a farmer, nurseryman, extension agent, arborist, landscaper, manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm and manager of Wild Hope Farm. From his earliest experiments with no-till farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to his highly functional bio-integrated designs in the Southeast, Shawn has learned how to cultivate food in a variety of climates and landscapes over 25 years of working with the land.  A snapshot of his knowledge is available in his book The Bio-Integrated Farm.  



Forest at Wild Abundance Stevo Brodmerkel

Instructor for Natural Building and Carpentry

Stevo (he/him) has been building for about 25 years. He maintains a fiery passion for it, and this comes very clear in his teaching. Stevo has worked extensively with both conventional and natural building.

Forest at Wild Abundance Tyler Lavenburg

Tyler Lavenberg, instructor of carpentry, tiny house building, survival and earth skills at Wild Abundance

Tyler (he/him) and his family align their life with the cycles of the seasons and the bounty of the wild. They harvest and utilize as much as they can – straight from the woods around them.

Tyler first fell in love with Southern Appalachian ecology as a student at Warren Wilson College, where he received a degree in Environmental Education. The children’s novel My Side of the Mountain sparked Tyler’s passion for traditional skills and wild foods. Since then, he’s been blessed with teachers and mentors who continue to draw his attention into deeper layers of mystery and the possibilities around crafting a handmade, wild life.

Over the years, Tyler has studied, apprenticed and taught at many traditional skills schools and events, including Wild Abundance, The Roots School, Living Earth School, Earthskills Rendezvous, The Firefly Gathering, Florida Earthskills, Whippoorwill, and others. He’s worked with hundreds of children and adults through public and private schools, homeschool cooperatives, and special events. 

Passion and experience

Tyler has experience in all aspects of survival skills, with a special passion for primitive technologies. In 2015, he was hired by the Catawba Historic Society to build an authentic replica of an 18th-century Catawba bark lodge for the organization’s living-history site. In 2018, he was featured on the cover of Asheville Made magazine for his handmade buckskin clothing.

Tyler is devoted to understanding material use in the context of its ecological niche – that of unveiling ancient and scientific wisdom of appropriate technologies. Whether he’s preserving wild foods or working with stone tools, bows and arrows, animal hides, or natural fibers, Tyler orients his life by the skills that have kept our ancestors alive for thousands of years.

With his wife and their son, Tyler’s also now focused on developing his Shelterwood Cove homestead.

Zev Friedman

Zev Friedman, main instructor for the PDC course, points at a blackboard in an outdoor classroomZev grew up in a patch of kudzu in Sylva, NC, embraced by the wild Appalachian landscape and layers of ecological and human communities here. He specializes in hands-on, in-depth education in permaculture and earthskills and has been doing residential and community-based professional design and installation throughout Western North Carolina since 2007. Almost a decade of study with world-renowned teacher Martín Prechtel helped feed his passion for regrowing our own diverse Earth-based lifeways through youth initiation and ritual.

Zev currently serves as Creative Director for Cooperate WNC, which harnesses the power of cooperation at a regional scale to meet human needs and address our most pressing ecological and social challenges. He can also be found teaching many of these same concepts as a faculty member of the School of Integrated Living.