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Homegrown Dreams is an entry-level, exploratory workshop designed to help you incorporate small-scale, self-sufficiency and sustainability into all aspects of your life. Regardless of whether you own or rent a home, or live in a rural or urban setting, you can move towards more self-reliance NOW! 

Build Observation Skills & Land Literacy

Learn about the typical farm and homestead in Western NC. This workshop is excellent if you’re in the beginning and exploratory stages of land-based living, particularly is you are incorporating agriculture, renewable energy, green building, land planning, hand-made products, and land-based living of all kinds into your lifestyle.

We cover common-sense, relevant information to help maximize your independence; increase your connection to community, place, and self; and plan out your dreams for the next 1–5 years. Includes a panel of local homesteaders and a regional expert on soil, climate, rainfall, topography, vegetation, wind, and how that affects and determines life, farming, and building in our region.

Wherever you are along the spectrum of self-reliance, join us for the exploratory workshop and:

  • Enhance your confidence, skill, and excitement to create the lifestyle you imagine.
  • Uncover your personal values, skills, and resources
  • Chart a path to move forward over the next 1 to 5 years in your homestead plans.

Hear from other regional homesteaders about their celebrations, challenges, and suggestions and prioritize your next steps.

Homegrown Dreams 2023 Panelists

Homegrown Dreams includes a panel of local homesteaders and a regional expert on soil, climate, rainfall, typography, vegetation, wind, and how that affects and determines life, farming, and building in our region.

George Brabant

George Brabant

George grew up on and in the St. Lawrence River,  Thousand Islands, New York. He was immersed in nature from a young age, experiencing all four seasons and their rhythms. He moved to Lake Placid for a couple years and then to high in the Colorado Rocky mountains. After a decade and a half of skiing, kayaking, fishing, and hunting in the Rockies, George landed in Asheville NC, making a living as a remodel contractor. He discovered Permaculture as a result of losing his brother and reading the works he left behind. He started to question our way of living and how sustainable it is.

Permaculture was explained to George as using nature as a guideline. The edge of the forest turns full and green every year with no help from humans. It happens from a symbiotic relationship between plants, animals, and fungi. He started running with this philosophy and turned our property into a Permaculture Food Forest. He bought chickens and ducks, removed all grass, and installed swales, ponds, and fruit trees. A year in, he sought help from more experienced minds and took a permaculture design course and became a certified instructor. Now they are giving classes, tours, and having other local permaculture and gardening instructors do tours of our farm as well. Their food forest is named Phat Ninja Farm.

Era Keys

Era Keys

Era is a queer, non-binary permaculture educator, consultant, and designer. They have experienced living and working in Permaculture since 2013. In the past 9 years, they have lived on and managed permaculture farms and permaculture design businesses, educated in North Florida, Puerto Rico and Oregon, and lived in an EcoVillage based in permaculture. They currently reside in Marshall, NC with their family where they are creating a permaculture homestead. Their ultimate goal is to produce high quality permaculture education and tools that are accessible and digestible for the everyday person, so that we may weather the ever-evolving challenges of today’s world.

Homegrown Dreams Instructor

Brandon Greenstein

Brandon Greenstein

Brandon Greenstein is the Director of Sustainability Consulting for Organic Growers School, developing new initiatives to provide services to home-growers. His background is in renewable systems, earth works, energy, water, and permaculture. He provides consulting, design and technical services for the creation of integrated systems. Brandon has been homesteading, including off-grid living and food production, in the western NC mountains for 20 years.

Organic Growers School also offers Farm Dreams, a day-long program similar to the Homegrown Dreams, but geared towards those wanting to be commercial farmers. The difference is that Farm Dreams is focused on an enterprise model, where income generation is a significant part of the equation.
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wheelbarrow in front of a barn

Renaming Homestead Dreams

In light of the need for a long-overdue acknowledgment that our nation is built on unceded land stolen from Indigenous peoples, we changed the name of our Homestead Dreams class to Homegrown Dreams.

It is important to note that the term ‘homesteading’ itself provides a problematic reference, as the term was coined during the Homestead Act of 1862, which led to the displacement and murder of thousands of Indigenous peoples. Given our commitment to Social Justice, we no longer feel this is an appropriate name for us to utilize.

See more on our blog.