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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.