Who We Are

CarolCarol Kimmons

Director of Education and Research Spring/Early Summer Head Gardener

Carol Kimmons, BS Geology and MS Entomology and Plant Pathology, moved to the Sequatchie Valley with her husband Johnny, her young sons, Patrick and Joel, and her retired parents in 1971. They began clearing land, planting gardens and orchards, and building a home, Moonshadow. In 1996, she and and her family realized that their knowledge of the land, their sustainable lifestyle and their experience with ecological construction and technology should form the basis for the Sequatchie Valley Institute. The organization and operation of SVI has become the most important and rewarding work of her life.

Carol is an adjunct professor in Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has taught in Nigeria (Peace Corps), India, the Sequatchie Valley and Haiti, and was an agricultural research scientist in Guam. She has worked for many years in adult education and has written two books for adult beginning readers. Other interests include hiking, canoeing, and pottery.

JohnnyJohnny Kimmons

Master Builder

Johnny Kimmons, BS Geology and MS Biology, moved to the Sequatchie Valley with his wife, Carol and his sons, Patrick and Joel, in 1971. They began clearing land, planting gardens and orchards, and building a home, Moonshadow. In 1996, he and his family realized that their knowledge of the land, their sustainable lifestyle and their experience with ecological construction and technology should form the basis for the Sequatchie Valley Institute. Johnny’s major interest is in the design, building and maintenance of SVI structures, which is challenging but rewarding work.

Johnny teaches Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Johnny has also taught science in Nigeria (Peace Corps), Turkey, India, Haiti, the Sequatchie Valley and Guam. He is an avid tennis player.

PatrickPatrick Ironwood

Founding Director, Director of Landscape and Architecture

Patrick has a BA in 3rd World Research and Development from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has traveled extensively in Asia and S. America, studying the effects of technology and agriculture on society and the environment. He has been an environmental and social justice activist since 1987.

In 1989, Patrick moved back to Moonshadow where his family has been developing an alternative agricultural project since 1971. His plan was to work as a land-based activist and to help create a working model of ecological living. In 1992, Patrick became a certified Permaculture educator and has taught workshops and courses on Permaculture, edible landscaping, appropriate technology, ecovillage design, post modern homesteading, Deep Ecology for agriculturalists and wilderness skills, including rock climbing and wildcrafting. He loves being a Daddy to Sage and Anakeesta.

15 thoughts on “Who We Are”

  1. Neat stuff Carol and Johnny! I’d love to be able to take my students to a facility like yours!

    Hope the rest for your vacation in the Rockies went well.

    Kind regards,

    (Guide for the Mt Stephen Trilobites Beds)

  2. I assume by your name, Sequatchie Valley Institute, that you’re in Tennessee? If you’re near Sequatchie / Marion Counties, TN then I’m not too awfully far, being just northwest of Monteagle from you, near Manchester in Coffee County.

    I’m also an artist, and have added a link to my Cafepress site.

    I’m fed up with paying out the keester for utilities, and want to build an off-grid solar powered cabin on my family’s land here in Coffee county, so hope you can put me in contact with folks who have the experience to do this!

    Best Regards,


  3. Hi, Will!

    Please consider coming to the next Tour day (check the Events Calendar on the front page). Another great time to visit is during the National Solar Tour in early October. Also, if you can spare a few days or a weekend, you might want to attend the Natural Building Workshop during September.

    Regardless of when you choose to visit, you’ll get some great info about our passive solar designs and our photovoltaic installation. Some of our staff and residents are more knowledgeable than others: Bradley at Ulinawi is probably the most knowledgeable person you can speak with during late summer/fall 2008, as our other folks are quite busy with travel, work and festivals until early 2009.

    We’ll be scheduling 2009 work days and workshops, and hope to see you soon!

  4. Tiffany,

    We have several staff positions that are generally seasonal (3 months at a time). These include head gardener and builders. Also, we have a couple of positions for elder care and inkeeper. The office manager position tends to be longer term depending on the needs of the organization. We also have a board of directors for the nonprofit (volunteer position). Currently, we don’t have an active internship program.

    If you are into homesteading and have the wherewithal and funds to create your own space and place, we have a couple of options… the Land, a 40 acre tract across the creek where we accept homesteaders who are willing to commit to a one-year evaluation period with the option to buy land.

    Another option is Ulinawi, a budding community adjacent to moonshadow.

  5. You are all so beautiful and powerful. I look forward to a family trip to Moonshadow soon! We have moved into a more sustainable lifestyle with more acreage and possibilities. We have so much to learn from you!!

  6. Hi Chris and Carol and Seq Gang –

    I was there last weekend for a tour and just loved the land and getting to meet you all! What an amazing, magical place and what lovely people you all are! Thanks for the awesome tour and for letting us bask in your kindness and good cooking –and let’s not forget that great hammock. very sweet!

    I absolutely loved the amazing vegetable and fruit gardens and I’m still counting all the butterflies I saw — so many different species!

    Are you all planing a mushroom workshop soon, by any chance?

    The love and respect you all have for the land is so felt — what a great example for all of us.


  7. Hello! I am Hazel Mcintyre English,s daughter. Just wanted to say hello to Johnny, Carrol,Patrick, Joel and all the family. I have not seen you in so long, would love to sometime when your not to busy! Hope to hear from you soon, with warmth and love Sherrie.

  8. Hi there, I’m interested in your community. It appears that, although your bio at ic.org has not been updated in six years, you’re still in existence (right?), which is encouraging. There are MANY at ic.org that no longer exist, which makes contacting communities a time-consuming process.
    Anyhow, I’m assuming there are no longer 17 people living there, as I see only five adults listed here.
    How many residences are there, and are any available? thanks!

  9. Hi Elizabeth and Annette,

    Yes, the IC.org listing is of course out of date.

    We have only a few permanent (family) and 1 long-term resident. We do still offer internships, events, and short-term visits.

    We would prefer to meet visitors on scheduled tour days or during scheduled events.

  10. Please let me know how everyone is doing. I moved down to Florida to help my Brother Jeffry who moved with grace from our lives on May 1. I am adopting his Son Nic. I hope to be in the circle there over long night.
    I miss stopping in to see Mildred. I’ve been dreaming of places I felt a shift in my being. One of them was there at a drumming. Jeffry stayed up there one Halloween and said it was special for Him. He fell asleep and Jeanie covered him. He never made it back up. The next year was my last Halloween there. Please prosper and persevere until this turns around again. Much love to Carol & John.

  11. Hey there! You may not remember me, but my cousin and I gave you a surprise last Friday afternoon! Sorry again for the unplanned visit, but we really, really appreciate your kindness in telling us a bit about SVI. We loved seeing the place and are only regretful that we couldn’t see more at the time! Best wishes in getting all the leeks planted, and we will definitely spread the word to professors and students about helping you guys out with any labor needs!


  12. hi i love going to the svi it is soooooooooooooooooooooo much fun i have friends now that i see a lot i learn so much cool stuff i love it i think more people shoud go

    your friend cheyenne

    ps: please tell lilly i said hi

  13. Thank You Chey Chey for your awesome presence in our community…we are what make the Valley such an awesome place to be…you kids, us parents & the beautiful bluffs on both sides of us…keep shining your light girl…& lily says Hi right back…see you soon!

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research and education in sustainable living