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.
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.
Sam’s first encounter with Wild Abundance was in October of 2022, when she came to the area to take the Tiny House Building Workshop. For a while she’d been wanting to get a basic understanding of tool use and building structures to demystify these things she hadn’t learned growing up. When the opportunity later arose to get involved with class coordination and operations work at Wild Abundance, she dove in. Her professional background & training is in education (she’s formerly a teacher) and logistics, so the combination is a natural fit. Sam’s excited about working for a business that’s providing people the chance to learn useful skills in a meaningful, empowering, community-centered context. Having lived on 4 continents and spent a large part of her adult life working in small communities in remote areas, working with a company whose mission is community-focused and aligns with her values is essential and fulfilling. When not working, she can generally be found playing outside (hiking, running, biking, camping) or trying to learn something new (her most recent obsessions being pottery and piano-tuning).
Student Services Coordinator
Parham (she/her) is the Student Services coordinator at Wild Abundance. She started her life with Wild Abundance as a student in the Permaculture Design and Earthskills Nine Month Immersion Program in 2020 while she was also simultaneously growing a baby. At the end of the nine months, right before she was about to give birth, her class planted an orchard on her land. The orchard fulfilled her dream of having an abundance of perennial foods right outside her door for her family and her community. Parham enjoys working with the students at Wild Abundance because “folks who seek out our classes tend to be ready for new ideas and eager for personal growth.” Parham spends her time gardening, writing poetry, playing music, singing, growing tempeh, practicing qigong, foraging, being in nature and mothering.
Chad was born & raised in Appalachia, with his ancestors coming from Scandinavia and Northern Europe. He grew up working in the trades on and off, and in his twenties he traveled to Hawaii to study permaculture and natural building. At the age of 30, he began a formal carpentry apprenticeship for 3.5 years, working on high-end structures and truly learning quality carpentry and craftsmanship. He’s been working regularly in the industry ever since and came on staff with Wild Abundance in October of 2023. Chad is incredibly grateful for the level of quality instruction freely given to him throughout his apprenticeship, and from that feels both a deep desire and responsibility to pass that knowledge on to other folks eager to learn. It’s something he finds incredibly motivating and rewarding. Hobbies outside of work include cycling, woodworking, puzzle-building, spending warm nights by the fire, being a father to his beautiful child and husband to his beautiful wife. He and his wife are also passionate about connecting people with the ancestral wisdom of corn and cacao, and you can follow their beautiful stories of mesoamerican food and traditions at Abuelita Technology.
Social Media & Art Director
Sarah Tew recently relocated to the Asheville area after almost 20 years in New York City, where she was a professional wedding and portrait photographer, and regularly published galleries at CNET and CBS Interactive. Over her years in media she photographed everything from corporate CEO portraits to Burning Man and all manner of products and press conferences in between. Sarah first came to Wild Abundance to take the Tiny House Building Workshop here in 2018, and was inspired to move to the region. Since her transition to a more rural life here in late 2020, she’s been learning to grow food with the Online Gardening School, and has taken a number of subsequent workshops here. When a part time position presented itself, Sarah was eager to bring her skillset to the mission of Wild Abundance. Sarah continues to photograph weddings, families, and business branding imagery in the Asheville region and beyond under Sarah Tew Photography.
Digital Marketing Collaborator
Sophia (she/her) joined Wild Abundance in the Fall of 2023. She moved her farm from the San Francisco Bay Area — where she also led growth marketing at top Silicon Valley companies — with her family in 2022.
In 2022, she took the Women’s Basic Carpentry workshop at Wild Abundance, and saw how pivotal it was to be able to build basic essentials around the homestead, and left an impression on her that she wanted to be a part of the team.
After growing up in Indiana, Austin moved to North Carolina in 2017 when his partner was apprenticing with Natalie at Wild Abundance. Originally trained as an auto mechanic, Austin has always had a knack for ‘figuring things out.’ He loves to take what seems like an unsolvable problem and come up with a way to make it work. Soon after his arrival in NC, he began helping with maintenance on the Wild Abundance campus and from there grew into taking care of all things building and construction. Along the way he learned carpentry, concrete-work, electrical, plumbing, design, welding, and the myriad of other skills necessary for upkeeping & expanding campus infrastructure. During this time he also built his own off-grid home which he now lives in with his partner and 2 young children. What Austin most appreciates about working with Wild Abundance is the community naturally built into the job – the group of compassionate and caring people he works with on a daily basis. Serving and giving/doing things for others is what brings Austin the most joy in life, and he loves how much that is naturally a part of what he does here.
Financial & Legal Administrator
Nicole (she/her) joined Wild Abundance in the spring of 2022. She moved from Minnesota– where she was a civil engineer and project manager– with her family in 2020. In 2021, she received her Permaculture Design Certificate online from Earth Activist Training and became re-energized as she contemplated delivering projects that better modeled nature’s ecosystems for building community, health and resilience. As she navigates this career pivot, she has been grateful to serve Wild Abundance. Nicole’s experience in the Wildcrafting and Medicine Making Intensive in 2021 left such an impression on her that she wanted to be part of the team. In addition to contributing to her family and community, she finds passion being outdoors, among the elements and the plants. Nicole also enjoys playing in the kitchen, especially with medicine making.
Tiny House Academy Director and Content Customer Support
Keenan (he/him) has been tinkering and building since he could walk. In his early childhood his parents were building a house, so he saw the many phases of construction and became enamored with the process. So much so that touring the houses of neighborhoods being developed was a great joy and regular activity. An older neighborhood friend taught him to repair bicycles. As a teenager he enjoyed skateboarding, but skate parks were sparse and far so he started building his own ramps where he learned many structural engineering concepts first hand. He managed to get 2 years into an engineering degree before realizing he didn’t actually want to do that, and got back to his roots by working in a bike shop as a mechanic for several years, and then getting back into construction from there.
He had always dreamt of building his own home and finally embarked on his “not-so-tiny” house on wheels (it’s a double and a half wide…) in 2014. This led to the accidental beginning of his business KSPhillips Contracting where he has built several tiny and larger homes as well as small, medium, and large renovation projects for friends and neighbors who realized his abilities. In 2020, he started teaching for the Wild Abundance Tiny House Academy and in January 2022 started helping with leading its direction. He also teaches the foundation built house in the In-Person Tiny House Build classes. When he’s not doing any of the above he’s likely in his garage working on his rally race car or out in the woods (legally) racing and potentially becoming a part of the scenery somewhere in the country.
Chaos Manager/ Natalie’s Personal Assistant
Originally from Florida, Kaylee (she/her) joined the Wild Abundance team in early 2021, after moving to NC. At the time, she didn’t realize how much of an impact the mountains, rivers, and the people who inhabit such sacred land would have on her life. Now it’s hard for her to picture ever leaving.
When she applied for the job, she had never heard of Wild Abundance, but immediately felt aligned with and excited about their mission (and especially excited about working in an earth-centered space). Kaylee coordinates schedules, meetings, and travel, and organizes Natalie’s life to function smoothly amongst the chaos of so many moving parts, leaving Natalie more space for all of the cool and amazing work that she does! Kaylee is filled with gratitude that the beautiful Wild Abundance homestead is where she gets to spend her days. Kaylee does similar work for a few others in the community. When she’s not working you can find her being a hermit with a good book, journaling, practicing jiu jitsu, or dancing.
Wild Abundance is fortunate to have worked with many talented and lovely professional photographers over the years. We’re listing them here, in order to honor their work and credit their incredible contribution to our school.