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Help us build Haven, a sustainable home & retreat
$1,820 Raised
23% of $8k goal
14 contributors
2 Years running
We need your help to build Haven, a sustainable homestead and educational, spiritual retreat in NW Oregon. We plan events for learning skills for hard times, addressing climate change and sustainability, to help shape a desirable future for us all. More ...

Hello! I'm Dorothy. Lee (my husband) and I need to build Haven not only as our sustainable homestead, but also as an educational and spiritual retreat for our neighbors, community, and interested others.  At Haven, we plan to offer educational opportunities addressing the problems of economic disparity and crisis, global warming and climate change, and the energy crisis, as well as opportunities for personal spiritual renewal for people of various spiritual paths. To meet these aspirations we plan to use earthen building techniques (such as cob and strawbale), passive solar design, renewable energy, compost toilets, gray water reuse, permaculture design strategies, beekeeping, home gardening suited to our region, raising appropriate heritage breed multipurpose livestock, and so on. Our intent is to help ourselves and others shape as desireable a future as possible for all. 

Our plans are good for the Earth, our neighbors and community, and us. But unfortunately, they are very poorly supported and understood by mainstream systems having power over what is built and how, such as governmental agencies and financial institutions.

Lee and I have been working on Haven for some years now, and planning and preparing even longer. We sold our long-time home during the crash of the housing market, and purchased undeveloped, forested land in the Coast Range of Oregon suitable for Haven. Although our credit was excellent, we soon learned that loans for bare land were scarcer than hen's teeth, and no agency would finance anything "alternative". We are still paying for the land, for grading the building pads, and for installing the driveway. We need help funding the rest.  I am seeking employment so that my income can fund Haven,  but it may be some time before I get hired.  We are living off Lee's income as an electrician, but with our expenses, we cannot afford to rent. Our living situation is harsh. We must be in better shelter before winter. We must build Haven, now.

And we want to!  We are also encouraged to build Haven by those who know of our plans. We have been preparing and training for this for years. In addition, our spiritual community has honored me as an Elder of our community, and Haven is the life work I am called to do as an Elder. 

We always knew we would need help with the labor of earthen building. We are excited to offer opportunities to learn earthen building techniques and other skills of sustainable living in return for assistance building Haven. When Haven is more built, we anticipate continuing to offer opportunities to learn skills of self-sufficiency and sustainability taught by outside instructors as well as ourselves -- for example, planning renewable energy systems, blacksmithing (Lee is a blacksmith), wild foods, home brewing, composting, basic permaculture strategies, heritage livestock, fiber arts such as spinning, strategies for building community,  and more.  

We have started to get the word out, and already have volunteers helping with the labor and equipment. (For example, we are very grateful for the generous loan of the brush hog you see Lee using in our photo.)  The current projects are two small agricultural buildings, one of bale-cob on urbanite foundation, and the other a pole building. These need to be complete enough to provide shelter by winter.  

We need help with labor, materials, transportation,  tools and equipment, and financing.  Money is needed for:

  • Materials, tools, supplies (e.g., dimensional lumber,  sand & gravel, straw bales,  tarps...)
  • Food, water, showers etc. for volunteers
  • Fuel for generator and equipment
  • Fees, permits
  • Professional consultation as needed
  • Transportation of stuff and people as needed
  • Etc.

The stated funding goal should suffice for these shelters.  If we exceed the goal, any extra funds will go toward the many more tasks of building Haven (digging a well, paying for grading, permits, setting up the home power grid, dwelling, septic, rabbit hutches...).  Haven will be built in stages.

If you have felt powerless in the face of the multiple crises of our times (economic hard times, global climate change, increasing fuel and food prices, environmental damage...) this is a chance to reclaim your power to make a meaningful contribution to the future, while helping others to do the same. If you would like to help a competent, caring couple build the home base we need in order to help others to acquire skills for a better, more self-sufficient,  neighborly, and sustainable future, then please donate. Individual actions matter, because they can accumulate and spread.

Thank you very much for reading this long story.  Please follow this campaign.  Look for updates on our progress.  Please help us build our home, Haven, and fulfill its mission!

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