Office Manager: 2008-2012Chris first visited Moonshadow in 1999 with his daughter’s girl scout troop, and was fascinated with the land, buildings and people. He returned several times with his son and daughter over the years, but remained on the periphery until 2007, when he offered to revamp the SVI website. That project allowed him to visit more frequently, and he became involved in SVI’s building projects and events. Chris is fascinated by the social and political aspects of community living, and is active in SVI’s educational outreach programs. Chris has a BA in Humanites from the local university, and is a video editor and web developer with clients in America and Canada. He enjoys cycling and bicycle maintenance, is returning to rock climbing, and occasionally jumps on a skateboard.
Founding Co-Director, Founding Chair of the Board, and former Director of Moonshadow Programs and Media RightsAsha has been working in the arts since the early age of four, singing, dancing and acting her way out of trouble. She went to Interlochen Arts Academy for high school and then on to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received a BFA in film and television. She spent her four years in NYC studying documentary film and organizing campus and city-wide environmental and social justice education. After graduating from NYU, Ashley founded MEDIA RIGHTS, a small non profit production entity and project of the Sequatchie Valley Institute at Moonshadow. Asha has done video work on a wide range of issues including the resistance at the nearby Watts Bar nuclear facility, the hydroelectric development of James Bay in Canada, and has created an hour-long documentary video, “Invasion of the Chip Mills.” MEDIA RIGHTS has recorded actions against the desecration of Mount Graham in Arizona, for the release of political prisoner Leonard Peltier, and against the corporate control of our U.S. government. Asha moved to Moonshadow at the beginning of 1995. The Sequatchie Valley has offered her a place to really feel the effects of the environment she has been actively working to protect since 1990. She has taken certification courses in Permaculture and Ecovillage Design. Bringing art and media into the environmental community and environmental education to the community at large has been her long-term mission. When Sequatchie Valley Institute was officially formed in 1996, she became a Co-director and the Founding Chair of the Board. Her activism has recently been focused on raising loving and happy kids: Sage Indigo Ironwood, born on the Spring equinox of 2002 followed by his sister, Anakeesta, born on the Spring equinox of 2005. The three of them moved to Colorado in the fall of 2009 to live with Asha’s parents. She continues to hold Moonshadow and SVI in her heart.
Head GardenerRandall grew up in Gainesville, Florida and attended the New College of Florida in Sarasota. Since leaving school, Randall has been attempting to reconcile the way he has come to view this universe with the way he lives his life. He has worked on organic farms from Florida to California and is just realizing how little he knows about growing and preparing food. He came to Moonshadow to learn to garden and live life in a way that minimizes his negative impact in the world and increases his ability to help things change for the better. Living lightly with the land and becoming a part of the great circle of everything that allows the planet and the universe to perpetuate itself in such a beautiful manner are his main focus. Randall is so happy and exhilarated to be in a place that provides such strong examples and experiences of everything which he has come to want to learn. He has a deep abiding love for nearly everything, especially that which requires a little hard work to make possible and this love seemingly increases every moment with no end in sight.
GardenerTricia grew up with everyone around her knowing she was an animal lover, it was hard to miss a little girl with a bird, iguana, and dog on her or trailing behind her at all times. Tricia has a B.A. in Psychology and is an Ex-Peace Corps Volunteer (Namibia 2001-03). She was successful with various projects throughout the region including women’s civics’ and business projects, public library creation, water and sanitation, learner centered education, HIV/Aids out reach and many other projects. Just at the end of PC she was asked to be a consultant to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism – creating a program to teach job skills to conservation workers, and affecting policy for ex-combatants and formerly exiled freedom fighters which were reintegrating back into society to gain higher education. She improved on her skills in grant writing and managing of every aspect of a large national training project for conservation. Her work allowed her to stay in many remote places throughout Namibia and experience life in every major culture group throughout the country and making many friends as well as learning subsistence farming techniques and tribal community customs. When Tricia came back to the US she worked for a few years in various aspects of the health care field, then moved on to care for rehabilitating elephants with the Elephant Sanctuary in TN. Tricia is currently working toward learning everything she can about growing food, living with a lighter footprint on the world, and becoming completely self sustaining as well has helping others learn these tricks too. She works with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, giving garden materials and teaching food production to low income families in Central Missouri.
Inn Keeper and EldercareAlex Fear was born in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia in 1978. Since he was a toddler he has had an immense infatuation with the natural world. Trusting in himself to be autonomous as it concerns his education, Alex withdrew from school in the ninth grade never to go back. His journey of self-education has introduced him to many aspects of political and social thought. These include philosophy, poetry (which he enjoys writing), anti-war activism and working as an editor for a non-profit literature magazine. He has worked construction for over a decade, staying within the walls of the working-class world which he will always be a part of. This labor-intensive but mandatory type of work helped to prepare him for another step in his journey of self-education: the DIY builder who uses natural and salvaged material in order to minimize human consumption and maintain sustainability. He has been involved in this type of work for almost five years now, beginning on his dad’s land in Fairmount, GA. There he also maintained an organic garden and studied a variety of subjects. There are no words for how thankful he is to Moonshadow for giving him the opportunity to expand the power of his thought.
“BEau the Builder” – 2007 and winter of 2008Beau Etter-Garrette studied community and environmental living at a small private college in the White Mountains of New Hampshire not far from where he was raised. After spending a couple years living and playing in Montana he came back home and soon found out about the Sequatchie Valley Institute. He came to Moonshadow in the Spring as an intern and found the place to be exactly what he needed at this time in his life. After spending a good deal of time working with Patrick on natural building projects around Moonshadow, Beau became confident enough to accept the role of a staff builder for SVI. Beau’s future plans are always the same – leave it up to what ever comes along, everything always works out. He enjoys extreme adventures alone in the woods and long hikes up the creek to mysterious places. Beau also loves living within the community here at Moonshadow, working hard, playing with stone, cob and wood and just simply loves to live and smile a lot.
Jules CarusHead Gardener – late Summer / Fall 2007 Jules has been gardening organically for more than 10 years. Really it all started when she helped break ground for Dunbar Springs neighborhood permaculture community garden in Tucson and she was amazed after witnessing the hard caliche soil transformed and neighbors growing food together in the desert. Since then, she has created many urban gardens in spaces previously growing crops of grass, and has had a chance to practice Biointensive growing methods. She has a BS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and has completed courses in Permaculture Design for Drylands, Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming, and the Soil Food Web (Compost Tea). Most recently, Jules spent a year at Earthaven Ecovillage, enjoying the community, apprenticing with Chuck Marsh in the Useful Plants Permaculture Nursery, and working with Arjuna da Silva on “Leela”, her earthen house. She came to Moonshadow in May as an intern and is joyful to have the opportunity to take more of a significant role in the gardens. She loves the community and that she is able to be so immersed in growing, harvesting, cooking, and preserving food and to work and play in such a beautiful place on earth truly all a blessing! She also enjoys hiking, fiber arts, drumming, dancing, and studying natural foods and healing.
DianaDiana was found by Patrick, Ashley, Sage and Anakeesta in an art gallery in NYC. They decided they just couldn’t live without her and invited her to spend the summer working with them in their home. She is now Anakeesta’s favorite ring-around-the-rosie partner. Through her experience at Moonshadow, Diana has overcome her fear of creepy crawlers and poison ivy. She has a new-found love of cooking, and now understands the evils of hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. Diana hopes to one day write documentary films that will help with the awakening of global consciousness. She is currently on leave from Hampshire College and plans to study in an eco-village in India for the Spring of 2008.
AureliaAurelia is the daughter of Board Member, Cerulean.
(in addition to the core)
Melissa Calhoun and Brian Geier
Co-Head GardenersMelissa Louise Calhoun grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta and was ready to leave them by the time she graduated with a degree in Biology and a heavy disillusioned heart. Identifying as an environmentalist while inside the academic world lead her down avenues of politics, research, and bureaucracy toward burn out, frustration and impotence. So she decided to learn some real skills (like how to grow food!) and to attempt to transform her life time and opportunity to cultivate real appreciation of this earth that she felt such a strong desire to protect. Since 2002 she has practiced the art of food and herb cultivation in maine, north carolina, indiana, poop, and now tennessee, in both small and large scales, organically, chemical free, and experimentally biodynamic, as an apprentice and independently. Melissa would like to become more attuned to the healing herbs and wild plants to find out what SHE can do for THEM. She is excited that there is so much still to learn. SVI has provided her with the opportunity to live closer to her family in the south while being blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the valley, the forest, and the landscape here that those who’ve gone before have lovingly prepared with their sweat, hands, and vision. Moonshadow is her daily reminder of the beauty that humans can sustain when they’ll cooperate with their ‘still small voice’ rather than closing their minds and hearts. She is moreover thankful and amazed to be sharing the Head Gardener position (and yet another garden) with her loving friend Brian. Brian is a hoosier by birth, but happy to make a home here in the rich woods of east tennessee. once, he went to brasil, and landless peasants who radically took back land from the rich sparked his interest in agriculture and land-based life. later he studied sustainable agiculture at the university of maine, and though he gained a lot of book knowledge, he didn’t learn how he could be a farmer, so he went to work on farms after he graduated. experiments in animal power, permaculture and community building, art collectives, and anarchist organizing permeated his time on farms in maine, north carolina, and indiana, and he liked all of those things, except maybe animal powered farming. his current interests and work revolve around growing food, making gardens productive and fun to be in, learning forest farming, studying the woods, brewing, healing from a bad car wreck, music, paying attention to mysterious things, teaching kids, and building a sustainable community where he can stay for a long time. he finds moonshadow a very exciting and empowering place to be right now, and is looking toward the future with his head held high.
Office ManagerNada Jones is a captivating, intoxicating individual. Around her birds suddenly appear and choruses of angels sing hymns to her bonny face. Seriously though, Nada first found Moonshadow in the Summer of 2002 and returned as an intern several times thereafter. Bradley and Nada were married at Moonshadow in the Summer of 2004. After a year-long stint in San Francisco, they decided to join the SVI staff and settle down in the Valley with their son, Logan. When she’s not doing office manager stuff or mothering, she likes to make jewelry, do needlework, and daydream about Ulinawi, their future community project which is a wooded walk away from Moonshadow.
Staff Builder (spring), Inn Keeper (late summer/fall)Bradley Jones is a sith-hippie, green nihilist, and has succumbed to the doublethink ways of the deep ecologist. Bradley was born and raised in Mississippi, dabbled in the West Coast, but has come back to roost in the mixed mesophytic forest of our own Cumberland biogem. He tries to talk just barely more than necessary. He has been an intern or staff on and off for many years. Bradley started out the season as a staff builder and has taken on the inn keeper role where he is better able to hang out with his son, Logan.
“BEau the Builder” (late summer/fall)Beau Etter-Garrette studied community and environmental living at a small private college in the White Mountains of New Hampshire not far from where he was raised. After spending a couple years living and playing in Montana he came back home and soon found out about the Sequatchie Valley Institute. He came to Moonshadow in the Spring as an intern and found the place to be exactly what he needed at this time in his life. After spending a good deal of time working with Patrick on natural building projects around Moonshadow, Beau became confident enough to accept the role of a staff builder for SVI. Beau’s future plans are always the same – leave it up to what ever comes along, everything always works out. He enjoys extreme adventures alone in the woods and long hikes up the creek to mysterious places. Beau also loves living within the community here at Moonshadow, working hard, playing with stone, cob and wood and just simply loves to live and smile a lot.
Ashley Haley Baggett
Inn Keeper (early summer)Ashley was born on a farm in Michigan from where she and her family left after a couple years and moved to the suburbs until she was able to leave on her own. Her strong pull for something different brought her to Washington state where she lived for 6 months living in and out of the woods. This was just the beginning of her excitement for what the world has to offer. She jumped in and out of college and then realized that it was just not where her heart was at the moment. So she kept traveling and went to a couple extended herbology classes, studied natural healing from all walks of life in Belize, and then massage therapy school in attempts to learn more of how the body works. After much pressure from others to get a “steady job” so that she could make her dream of living on land a reality, she decided to get away from a lot of those voices. In January she came to Moonshadow after seeing flyers on the wall of the health food store where she worked and stories from others, fell in love with so much, and moved here in February. She is so incredibly grateful for the beauty of the land, the inhabitants, the discoveries of herself, and the opportunities that came from here living here. After taking on the role of inn keeper for a time this summer, Ashley is now continuing to travel and has found a love for art in many forms that she looks forward to learning more about from the places that her heart is leading her to.
Inn Keeper (spring)Frances, who grew up in and around our nation’s capitol (smirk), is a self-taught vegetable eater. After dropping out of a prestigious hippie college in order to bake more bread, she now celebrates her status as a freelance fermenter always in transit from one hilly place to another. Perhaps she is a true culture junkie at heart. After working as the inn keeper in early spring, she traveled, came back to present at Food for Life and is now studying nutrition in Northern CA.
2005 & prior yearsMichael Faulkner has had a love of the natural world from a very early age, having grown up on various farms and homesteads in rural Mississippi. He had been living in North Carolina for almost the past 10 years, working on a few farms and many gardens from then until now. He attended the North Carolina School of Holistic Herbalism in 04′, in hopes of further honing his understanding of the plant kingdom, as well as providing himself with some real “health insurance”, seeing the interconnectedness of all life and the crucial role plant medicine has played in human health for the majority of its history. He believes that the sickness of the planet right now reflects the sickness of a species that willfully disconnects itself from the natural rhythms and cycles of the earth, and wants his life’s work to be helping to reconnect people (and himself!) with Nature. He enjoys playing music, reading & writing, cooking, and do-it-yourself living. He is a practitioner of Tai Chi and Ba Gua Chung, two of the three mystical and “internal” martial arts of China. He is interested in Chinese medicine as well, and is a deep believer in the intuitive, inherent intelligence of all living beings, especially the plants. He is very happy to call Moonshadow his home for a spell.
David Del Vecchio
Head GardenerSince 1994 David has actively pursued permaculture-type solutions to saving the human species from destroying itself. In 1995 he released himself from graduate studies in Athens, GA. During this time David had advanced from backyard gardener to head apprentice at Sustenance Farm, in Bear Creek, NC where he helped grow food and herbs for a variety of markets. Learning first-hand the homesteading lifestyle designed around permaculture principles ignited the passion to create an alternative way of living, while still dependant on a system that he believes is epehermal. The world of renewable energy pulled David from his love of soil to become the Installations Manager of Solar Village Institute, a dealer/installer of photovoltaic, wind, and hydro-electric generation systems in Saxapahaw, NC. By 2001 David had some free time and money to travel cross country and visit farm and communities where permaculture is being studied and applied. The extended visit at Moonshadow convinced him to apply for the head gardener position in 2002 and leave his home in the piedmont of North Carolina. David is a teacher of gardening, natural building, spiritual yoga, and renewable energy. He is also a budding mandolin player and natural-leaven breadbaker.
Assistant Director of EducationAllison is a third year intern and staff (part-time office manager) at Moonshadow. After receiving a degree in Ecology at the University of Georgia, she desired to learn first-hand the theories about natural living systems and conservation and apply that information to an ecosystem she could watch change and flux over the seasons. After living at Moonshadow in the last years and loving the simple, sustainable lifestyle and then working down in the rainforests of Oaxaca, Mexico helping people sustainably use their forests to support themselves, she is inspired to continue living lightly within the natural world with respect and reverence. She has a strong desire to offer society working examples of more sustainable lifestyle options by living, working, and teaching by example. She is building her knowledge and skills about permaculture design and natural building by spending most of her time working in the gardens here at Moonshadow and is studying permaculture and natural building techniques. She beleives that permaculture and natural building are two powerful outlets to help link the environmental movement to mainstream society, offering people ecological and economic solutions for land use isues and durable, efficient home construction. Allison is also a singer/songwriter looking to meet musicians intersted in making and recording environmentally and socially active music to help get positive, inspiring words out to people. She wants to use soulful, powerful and fun lyrics and melodies to transcend musical and cultural boundaries to reach many different types of people.