in Austin TX
Natural Neighborhoods

Earth, Timber, Straw, Lime, Permaculture
Natural Building Contracting and Workshops

 Social Distance 
Earthen Building Series 
 Food for Thought Homestead

Sept - Dec 2020

​Dream of building your own Natural cottage? 
 Ready to carefully emerge from hibernation? Join us for this falls workshop series with a wonderful chance to reinvigorate our minds and bodies with two new Natural Building projects for the 

'Food For Thought' Homestead


Financial assistance and volunteer options available  - please email:

Teachers:Tim Fender and Thea Bryant

Weekend 1:  Sept 19-20 We all had a great time framing and packing first leichtlehmbau (light-clay-straw) walls! 
Students also got to learn how and why to install smurf tube conduit and pull wires; is a great way to design a wiring schematic for many earthen projects.

Weekend 2: Sept 26-27 9am - 4pm  $130
Learn how to compare Natural Earthen wall systems and create a budget, Continue Lehmbau, Build a Bio Sip panel, Beginning slaking lime, Practice finish plastering techniques

Weekend 3 - Oct 10-11 9am - 4pm  $130
Lots more about earthen and lime plastering and building budgets, Grey water basics


November and December dates TBA

LUNCH: Vegetarian and non-veg provided from the homestead and local farms
LOCATION: Food For Thought, Elgin, TX
TUITIONS have been reduced to assist people in these difficult times 

Spots are very limited for safety precautions. 
More COVID PRECAUTIONS - Scroll down to bottom of page to read more

Financial assistance and volunteer options available - please email:

Learn Lehmbau, BioSip and Shou Sugi ban and more....
This series covers topics to make your cottage more comfortable and easier to build. Plus save time, money, materials, energy and frustration. You'll get the chance to participate in building and using:
  • Earthbag and rubble trench foundations
  • Lehmbau, cob, Biopanel and strawbale walls
  • Earthen and lime plasters
  • Shou sugi ban charred wood preservation
  • Greywater systems
  • Simplest composting toilet process

In addition to the new and traditional building methods taught, students will get a chance to see Tim's working permaculture homestead and how it integrates with his own Lehmbau built home.
You'll learn Natural Building techniques of natural styles to make the building process as streamlined as possible for cottages that are super energy efficient, beautiful, with low environmental impact that are natural and nontoxic.

What is Leicht Lehmbau (light-clay-straw or slipstraw)? What are BioSip panels and Shou Sugi Ban?

Lehmbau is a traditional process that is wonderfully accessible that combines the benefits of thermal mass earthen walls and highly insulated straw or cellulose walls making a wall that is suitable for a wide variety of climates. Leichtlembau uses a higher ratio straw to clay making an infill that is less dense than many other earthen walls.

With the inclusion of Lehmbau in the International Residential Code, this beautiful form of construction is accessible to more people than ever before in modern times.

BioSip panels are an exciting way that earthen homes are being built in Canada, New England and Europe that make the construction process more affordable, efficient and faster.

Shou Sugi Ban is a traditional Japanese wood preservation technique that is beautiful and durable.

All of these techniques are going to make this series really exciting!

Financial assistance and volunteer options available - please email:



We want to provide a safe and rewarding experience. With the Covid 19 recommendations, this workshop has very limited spots or camping available. If you are requesting camping we will contact you using the information from your registration to confirm availability.

Our goal will be to social distancing as much as possible by limiting the number of enrollees and preparing separate workstations, as well thorough handwashing. Masks will be voluntary while outside, which should be most of the time. 

We are really looking forward to the much welcome reprieve from the heat and strange chaos and stagnation of quarantine and get dirty doing something invigorating, empowering and intriguing. 
​We are all rediscovering a different sense of community and we hope this series reinvigorates our minds and spirits even as we social distance  responsibly. 

If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with Covid please let us know and contact us to cancel. Thanks! Please reserve early to secure your spot..