Coweeta Heritage Center is a School for Sustainable Living as well as a working farm and homestead. Our goal is to help preserve the cultural history and natural beauty of this area through story-telling, demonstrations of heritage skills and knowledge, tours, summer camp programs, and classes for adults and children. Our primary focus is on education: teaching back to basic skills for a sustainable future based on self-reliance. We offer both wwoofing and internship opportunities that teach you how to survive with less, minimize your impact on the environment, while building a knowledge and skill base to meet your future needs. Tuition, room and board and a stipend (available to those who make a longer term commitment), are provided in exchange for your work commitment.
CHC is located in the Nantahalla Mountains of the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 10 miles south of the town of Franklin, North Carolina (120 miles N.E. of Atlanta, GA and 70 miles west of Asheville, NC). The center’s 52 acres lie in the heart of a small valley with a stream running through the middle fed by numerous springs and surrounded by national forest. The stream provides water for our hydro-electric system. We are off-the-grid. The area is home to wild turkey, deer, bear, and has one of the largest diversities of plants anywhere in the world. Huge chestnut stumps, remains of 1800 log cabins, mill raceways, spring houses, century old farming roads, and old still sites, are reminders of a people and a way of life based on an intimate knowledge of the environment and those skills needed to survive.
We, Lara and Paul Chew, live here in the last existing log structure dating to the 1840’s. Lara came here in 1987 as she traced her family’s history to this valley where several generations lived mainly from subsistence farming. Lara is a naturalist, having learned much of what she knows based on the knowledge passed to her from her grandmother. Paul is a former teacher of Industrial Arts and Technology Education and is well versed in woodworking. He is working on developing appropriate building techniques that incorporate the log construction styles of the past, as well as alternative energy systems. The center has its own saw mill to provide lumber for building projects which may eventually include cabins, a workshop, and a small conference center for retreats and programming.
Wwoofers and interns live in a renovated cabin which has been beautifully finished by previous wwoofers and interns. The cabin has two bedrooms accommodating 4 people, electricity, water, composting toilets, wood heat and all the amenities you wouldn’t expect in the woods! Short term visitors should expect to camp and provide their own food (less than a 3 week stay) unless there is room in the cabin. Required work- hours are reduced for these folks who camp and provide their own food. We are currently working on a camping shelter.
Some of the things you might expect to learn while you are here include:
-Animal care (we have milk goats and chickens)
-Carpentry and other building skills
-Alternative Energy systems and energy conservation
-Wildcrafting and basic food preparation
-Baking in a mud oven
-Harvesting and conversion of trees into lumber
-How to use a chain saw, tractor and other equipment
-And other practical living skills for sustainable living.
What you learn will be determined by your length of stay and current projects.
Wwoofing involves 30 hours/wk of assigned work/chores. If you are interested, you may spend additional time learning basic skills in carpentry, using a chainsaw, driving a tractor, etc. Interns begin by wwoofing as well; however, they are required to spend additional time learning basic skills that they may not already have to meet the requirements for interning. Wwoofing is for a 3-4 week period with an extension up to an additional 4 weeks. Internships generally last 6 months or more and require 40 hrs minimum per week. This includes training, planning projects, farmers market and other activities. Longer term arrangements are available to those who would like to make a longer term commitment. Email us for more info about our programs and requirements.
Your stay with us begins with an orientation to our property and structures, a general explanation of power and water system, and an overview of current projects and plans. While you are with us you will participate in work projects that you or others will lead, daily work tasks (chores), research, study, and learning activities (demos and practice). You will live in our guest house and share household responsibilities with other wwoofers and interns.
Is CHC right for you? Are you interested in gaining valuable skills and knowledge for back to basics living? Are you willing to meet the requirements of the center’s General Policies (a separate document; email us for a copy)? Are you highly motivated and willing to take the responsibility for yourself and your own learning? If you answered yes to these questions then CHC can provide you with the opportunity to learn, experience and grow. In return you will help us grow our programs and opportunities for other who may come in the future.
Some of the projects other wwoofers and interns have been involved with include: renovation of the guest cabin including installation of electrical, water, and gray water systems; a wood fired bath house; trail work; upgraded hydro-electric system for off-the-grid living; clearing of garden areas and pasture; a start on a cold frame; start on a solar array; construction of hay barn; milling of building materials for a shop building; start on a camping shelter for visitors and much more. Work crews are led by interns/wwoofers.
Contact us for more info. Our phone number is 828-524-9133 or you can email us at email@example.com