The Natural Living School, is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near  Ananda Village, a yoga and meditation community that studies the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.  Ananda Village is one of the oldest intentional spiritual communities in the world. 


Fall 2012 Work-Day-Circle at Ananda Village

Fall 2012 Work Day Circle at Ananda Village

The Natural Living School is a place where people can come and gain the experience and confidence they need to simplify their lives, learn to live in balance with nature, and to feed their spirits.  Our participants learn how to legally construct an affordable, naturally built cottage, create a home garden with the potential for self sufficiency, and experience the art of natural living.  The school is a drug and substance free atmosphere. 

Living With Spirit Group Working on Bale-Cob Shop

Living With Spirit Group Working on Bale-Cob Shop

The Natural Living School is also a full service natural build and design company.  We help homeowners manifest their dream of building and living in a natural home constructed to code.  If you are interested in our services please see the contact page and email us, or call us. 

Bale-Cob, Round Wood Timber Frame Structure to Code

Bale-Cob, Round Wood Timber Frame Structure to Code

Pablo and Lauren Loayza, Designers, Builders, and Directors of The Natural Living School

In the joys and challenges of raising a family, we are faced with the struggle of meeting our economic needs and still having a healthy life and healthy family.  In order to ease the burden we have chosen to simplify our lives and now wish to share our experiences and help others do the same.  Join us in creating affordable housing for a community of people striving to live simply, in balance with nature and spirit. 

Lauren holding Solis, next to Oliver, then Pablo and Esme

Lauren holding Solis, next to Oliver, Pablo, and Esme

During the summer of 2010 we were blessed with the opportunity to study and apprentice with the Cob Cottage Company, the oldest natural building school in the country.  We were deeply touched from our first moments at the Cob Cottage Company when we encountered a sign in the path that reads “There are two ways to get rich, you can make more money or you can require less.”  Studying with Ianto, Linda, and the many other talented natural builders that pass through CCC taught us invaluable lessons about natural building and simple living.   

The Myrtle Building At Cob Cottage Company

When we moved to Ananda Village, we where able to put all these practices together; Yoga, Meditation, Natural Building, Permaculture, and Sustainable Living.  We started the school, to help others enjoy the holistic benefits of combining all these practices under one natural roof.   The result has been 4 wonderful years of amazing experiences and many beautiful souls, that have joined us on this quest.  We have also come to understand that natural building is not just a way of building; it is a way of life. 

Oliver Esme and Solis

Assistant teachers, Oliver, Esme, and Solis


Cathe’ Fish has been work­ing as an expe­ri­enced dry­lands Per­ma­cul­ture Designer and Con­sul­tant since 1987. She has designed ranches, 40 acre farms to small sub­ur­ban plots and apartments.

Bio Photo

Cathe’  has taught hun­dreds of classes and work­shops. She has been an inspir­ing pio­neer in per­ma­cul­ture edu­ca­tion in the US and inter­na­tion­ally and is a sought out instruc­tor. She was the founder and orig­i­nal edi­tor of the Dry­lands Per­ma­cul­ture newslet­ter in 1987 with Bill Steen, which later became the Per­ma­cul­ture Dry­lands Journal.

Cathe’ has stud­ied with Aus­tralian ecol­o­gist, eco designer, and all around char­ac­ter Bill Mol­li­son, who cre­ated per­ma­cul­ture wih David Holm­gren as an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to land use and com­mu­nity devel­op­ment. In May 2008, Cathe’ spent two weeks at Geoff and Nadia Lawton’s Zay­tuna Farm work­ing with Geoff’s amaz­ing swales, dams and ponds, plant­ing food forests and bam­boo cut­tings and doing other farm activ­i­ties. In May 2008, she was also able to visit Tagari, Bill Mollison’s long term farm in Tyal­gum, NSW, Aus­tralia (aban­doned since 2001) with its amaz­ing still func­tion­ing earth­works: 43 bod­ies of con­structed dams, ponds, and water har­vest­ing swales, as well as many lush food forests.

Cathe’ has also stud­ied with sus­tain­ablity instruc­tors Tom Ward, David Bain­bridge, Bar­bara Kerr, Sally Fal­lon, Mary Enig, Elaine Ing­ham, Ian David­son, Ros­alind Creasy, Robert Kouric, Joel Salatin and Mark Shep­ard. She has  also worked with  Bar­bara Kerr who was a solar pio­neer and solar cook­ing inven­tor. Cathe’ has used and taught about  Prac­ti­cal Sus­tain­able Kitchens since 1996. She has been teach­ing about Prac­ti­cal Sus­tain­able Kitchens at Quail Springs Inter­na­tional Per­ma­cul­ture Design Courses.

Besides being a Per­ma­cul­ture Designer and Teacher since 1987, Cathe’ has been a Mas­ter Gar­dener since 1988. She is the Speaker’s Bureau Direc­tor for the Nevada County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers. Until 1999, she lived on a 1/4 acre per­ma­cul­ture home­stead for 25 years in the high desert town of Bis­bee, Ari­zona. She says, “Wher­ever you live, make water catch­ments and plant appro­pri­ate trees.” She was the gar­den­ing edi­tor for the Bis­bee Obser­vor for three years.

Cathe’ became a mem­ber of the Ari­zona Solar Action Team in 1980, trav­el­ing around the state of Ari­zona con­duct­ing Pas­sive Solar Green­house Work­shops. She has taught her Pas­sive Solar Green­house slideshow at AZ and CA State Mas­ter Gar­dener Con­fer­ences, as well as many Mas­ter Gar­dener classes, and Per­ma­cul­ture classes.

Cathe’ was involved in the renais­sance of super insu­lated straw­bale build­ings in 1987, and has taught pas­sive solar build­ing design at straw bale work­shops for many years.

Cathe’  loves trees, par­tic­u­larly rare fruit trees in food forests, and she has planted 1000s of trees. She was the pre­vi­ous direc­tor of Cochise County Global ReLeaf. She has helped sev­eral cities cre­ate tree pro­tec­tion ordi­nances, and was instru­men­tal in start­ing Chico California’s Tree Action. She believes the future is tree farm­ing and water harvesting.

She is a mem­ber of the Cal­i­for­nia Native Plant Soci­ety, NAFEX North Amer­i­can Fruit Explor­ers, Cal­i­for­nia Rare Fruit Grow­ers and the Local Food Coali­tion, and is a chap­ter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Cathe’ is known for well orga­nized, prac­ti­cal, high energy classes. She reg­u­larly teaches Per­ma­cul­ture Design Courses, and will cus­tom teach an Intro to Per­ma­cul­ture class or PDC for your group.  She has been to Mex­ico many times to work with local peo­ple. In July 2009, she went to Mex­ico to help low income fam­i­lies start a per­ma­cul­ture demon­stra­tion site.

In the early 1970s, Cathe’ lived in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico where she started a nat­ural foods cafe called the Coun­try Kitchen (now Harry’s Road­house). She built a lit­tle green­house out­side the cafe, where she grew the cafe’s toma­toes and greens. To this day, she refuses to eat dis­gust­ing  cor­po­rate taste­less food, espe­cially tomatoes.



As a per­ma­cul­tur­ist farmer, Cathe’ was selected as a del­e­gate for the Women’s Earth Alliance India Learn­ing Exchange Del­e­ga­tion in Oct 2009. She saw first hand the dam­age of the Green Rev­o­lu­tion in India, vis­ited organic farm­ing pio­neers, exchanged per­ma­cul­ture infor­ma­tion, and pho­tographed ancient water har­vest­ing sites. She was happy to visit Van­dana Shiva’s farm in North­ern India.


In Sep­tem­ber 2011, Cathe’ was a del­e­gate to the Inter­na­tional Per­ma­cul­ture Con­fer­ence and Con­ver­gence in Jor­dan. She vis­ited per­ma­cul­ture sites in Jor­dan, Pales­tine and Israel after the Con­ver­gence. In Novem­ber 2013, she was a del­e­gate to the Inter­na­tional Per­ma­cul­ture Con­fer­ence and Con­ver­gence n Cuba. In August, 2014, she attended the North Amer­i­can Per­ma­cul­ture con­ver­gence. At all of these, s Cathe’ gave a well received pre­sen­ta­tion on Prac­ti­cal Sus­tain­able Kitchens.

Cathe’ lives and works at the Prac­ti­cal Per­ma­cul­ture Farm School  on her  organic cer­ti­fied per­ma­cul­ture farm  “Sun­shine Works” in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.  She is the direc­tor of the Prac­ti­cal Per­ma­cul­ture Research Insti­tute where she  teaches per­ma­cul­ture and solar design courses, gives per­ma­cul­ture con­sul­ta­tions,  and cre­ates per­ma­cul­ture designs. Cathe’ grows organic food and has a horse, sheep, pigs, ducks, chick­ens, rab­bits, bees and an Old Time Scotch Farm Col­lie named Rose Colleen to work with  her around the farm.  She is the co-organizer of the Sus­tain­able Food and Farm Con­fer­ence which takes place every Jan­u­ary in Grass Val­ley, California.



David Schroeder, Permaculture Instructor, Designer, Natural Builder, and Yoga Teacher

David Schroeder, Permaculture Instructor

David Schroeder, Permaculture Instructor

David Schroeder is a lover of all things natural, and seeks to educate others on how to live closer to nature’s rhythms. It took many years of confusion and cul-de-sac pathways to be led here. Once figured out, he and a friend started Roots: Permaculture. Operating as an advocacy group and educational resource, their mission is to provide examples of what we can do as individuals and communities to live happier, healthier and whole lives. Combined with a magnetic pull toward Yogic science and practice, David aims to combine his passions into a lifestyle that is simple, connected, devoted and full of laughter.

Photo 1-12-2014, 5 45 38 AM

Meditation, After David Taught Yoga On The Beach In Costa Rica

Permaculture provides us with the tools that will help us continue thriving in a future of energy uncertainties. As we have come to depend on fossil fuels to provide for most of our energetic needs, permaculture design seeks alternative methods to develop local, synergistic relationships within ourselves, our communities and throughout our landscapes. By observing nature and the myriad patterns that make up our world, we are able to harmoniously integrate these patterns to provide for our needs of food, shelter, water, clean air, quiet space and social interaction.

Permaculture provides a strong foundation to thrive indefinitely by creating healthy, durable systems designed in mother nature’s likeness. 


Ninette Warner – Community Outreach Coordinator, Natural Builder, Director of the “Muddy-Buddy Builders” Programs. 

Ninette natural building in Costa Rica

Ninette natural building in Costa Rica


Ninette is an avid nature lover with a passion for natural building. She also enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, and cooking healthy meals. Ever since she was a little girl she knew she wanted to make a positive impact on the world by helping others. Towards this goal, she attained her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 2011 from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and throughout college worked with children who have autism and other developmental disabilities.

In 2009 she had the opportunity to travel to Argentina and volunteer on organic farms. Here she was fully immersed in a sustainable lifestyle, experiencing a simple life in community without modern conveniences. This was her first introduction to earthen building, organic gardening and an overall lifestyle aimed at self-sufficiency. After 5 months of traveling she returned to New York to finish her degree, but the experience of living harmoniously in nature and learning to build with nothing more than her hands remained with her.


Ninette at the Natural Living School

Ninette at the Natural Living School

In August of 2013 she decided to leave her high stress job in hopes to go back to a simple lifestyle while also enhancing her knowledge of sustainable living. Here she came across the program “building with spirit” at the Natural Living School here in Nevada City, CA, offering a perfect marriage between learning natural building techniques, living in community, and practicing yoga and meditation. After a few months of learning various natural building techniques including cob, strawbale, bale-cob, and timber framing, she joined the Natural Living School in Costa Rica. Here she learned to build using their local techniques and materials- primarily bamboo. After this workshop she traveled on to other parts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua to different homesteads and farms, helping build cob ovens and other structures.

Upon returning to the States in March 2014, she now aims to pass on her knowledge of sustainability and community living to future generations. In doing so, she finally has the opportunity to combine her two passions- natural building and working with children- in hopes of truly making a positive impact on the world.

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Pablo, Lauren and Family!
    Congratulations! We at Cob Cottage Company are so very happy to see you doing such great works. What beautiful buildings and a beautiful life you are living. Miss you. Do stay in touch and keep up the great work!
    Ianto, Linda and Tammy at CCC

    • Hi Tammy,

      Great to here from you. I’m sorry we haven’t been keeping in touch. It’s been a crazy few years since we left. But as you can see, CCC has been life changing. Please Tell Ianto and Linda that thanks to them we are on our way to change the world one Cober at a time. We miss you too, and we will keep in touch. Let us know if you need anything form us. Blessings and much Love. From Pablo, Lauren, and Family.

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