Pine Ridge home building project – apprentices needed!

Shannon Freed, graduate of our Pine Ridge PDC did not waste any time applying her permaculture knowledge. Last year, she held a 10 week apprenticeship at Pine Ridge which resulted in a beautiful cob home being built for a Lakota on the reservation (

312This year, she wants to repeat that feat, this time building a 30X30 foot pallet home for another family in need of better shelter.  Pro-builder David Reed will be overseeing the project ( This is a wonderful opportunity to learn natural building techniques from a top professional while building a home for someone who really needs one.  And also to experience life on the Pine Ridge Oglala-Lakota reservation.   Please let your friends know about this event, it is one not to miss! Shannon runs a great apprenticeship (we checked it out personally last year) and it is for a very worthy cause. This type of building could work well on the rez, and it is badly needed in a place where many people live in really poorly insulated mobile homes and federal housing.

New Jura Natural Building in collaboration with Sustainable Homestead Designs is proud to announce another Pine Ridge Project, the last Pine Ridge Project was led by Coenraad Rogmans of House Alive and a beautiful cob/strawbale home was built, on this build we are going to build a 30′x30′ pallet house!!

Pallets are a huge waste material in the US and abroad, their use as design structures has exploded among the “green” and architectural communities.

Our goal is to show the practicality of pallets as more than a design and incorporate them into a real living structure!!

Other groups have taken to building these very inexpensive homes in areas such as Mexico and South America and have put together some very beautiful homes.

We will be building this home on the Oglala-Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, an area where homelessness, violence, alcholism and abject poverty is extremly high!!

From WikiPedia:

“The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux (pronounced [oɡəˈlala], meaning “to scatter one’s own” in Lakota language) live in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota bordering Nebraska and 50 miles east of Wyoming, the second-largest Indian reservation in the United States. The reservation has broadly three parts, pine covered hills and ridges, grassy plains and a desert area. The Oglala are one of seven Lakota sub-tribes, and they are federally recognized as the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

I will be offering an 8 person apprenticeship on this build where I will take you through the complete build, foundation to finished home and teach you how to build your own.

More information will be available on our website

Ecozoic in Mexico

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Alan and Ryan from our Pine Ridge PDC in Mexico

EcoZoic’s Shop Announcement

EcoZoic Era works with remote indigenous communities, marketing their traditional art to new audiences in an effort to raise global awareness, increase economic opportunity, and offer resources to address self-identified needs.

The Water for Huicholes! campaign is an effort in partnership with the community of La Laguna to assist with the issue of water access for Huichol villages throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental. Proceeds from the online auctioning of Huichol art and jewelry will support educational opportunities in sustainable design for the Huicholes, with an emphasis on hydrological systems.

Each piece was made freehand, in a ceremonial manner, by the family of Mara’kame, Jose Luiz Ramirez, who has requested that this art be sold for this purpose.


Pine Ridge scout trip to Slim Buttes

Pine Ridge scout trip to Slim Buttes

In which two of our intrepid graduates from Pine Ridge take on Detroit.  Suffering from severe unemployment and economic meltdown, Detroit is a city made for permaculture. Full of abandoned buildings and lots, it is a playground waiting to be transformed into a sustainable, self-sufficient forest garden/green retrofitted build environment.  You can buy a house there for hundreds of dollars, not thousands.  Or maybe just move in, and homestead.  The authorities might be grateful that you did, instead of evicting you.  Especially if you’re fixing the place up and planting stuff in the yard 🙂

Here’s an interview from Alan Scheurmann, talking about the organization he and fellow Pine Ridge graduate Ryan Hertz run in the area. Last I heard, they are creating water catchment and food systems in a yard in Detroit.  Alan is going to Mexico to assist with an indigenous project there soon.  Stay tuned for more news from these guys, they are going to go places ….

Can you talk about EcoZoic, the organization you started with Ryan Hertz?

AS: The word EcoZoic comes from an ecospiritualist author named Thomas Berry in which he refers to the story of the universe and the earth through the lens of the major eras of history. The EcoZoic era is where humans really must get to in order to avoid extinction. It is a period in which humans must co-create mutually enhancing relationships with the larger community of life. So our organization, which is incorporated as an L3C (low profit limited liability company), serves the mission to co-create an EcoZoic reality, starting with our hometown of Detroit. We do ecological consultations, sustainability assessments, and Permaculture Design, as well as community organizing to empower families and individuals to realize self-sufficiency. We are both musicians and are working on figuring out the details of how to incorporate our musical backgrounds into our efforts. We want to see an EcoZoic Detroit and we are taking action every day, along with many others, to help realize this vision.

DL!: What are some of the big picture projects you are doign with ecozoic that you feel will have a greater effect on Detroit’s re-invention and transformation?

AS: We’d like to find enough land in the city to do a real permaculture project with a 200 year vision that would serve the surrounding community by showing that self sufficiency is possible and that the solution to every problem can be found in nature. That being said, our landscape, like our people, requires quite of bit of healing. That does not mean that healing cannot happen, however. We’d also like to align ourselves with other visionaries, artists, musicians, and individuals to support and promote efforts that share our ethics and principles.