2022 Dates TBA
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you long to deepen your connection with Earth? Explore your unique purpose? Gain hands-on experience in holistic living?
Awaken your potential in pivotal times. Engage in solutions to the world’s social and ecological challenges.
Join us at Metta Earth, a farming community nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. During this 5 week journey, immerse yourself in a community of friends and mentors, guiding your path towards sharing your unique gifts with the world. Nourish your mind and body, explore your life’s purpose, and inquire into the complex issues of our time.
Program size is limited | Scholarships available
Feature photo credit: Erica Chick
Permaculture is an emerging worldview and multidisciplinary design science that addresses global issues with a holistic, systems approach. Delve into this inquiry and experience Metta Earth as a sanctuary for shifts in thinking and practical solutions. 80% of the food consumed by residents and guests is grown on our land, using the most holistic agricultural methods. You will gain hands-on experience with cultivating and preparing a variety of foods – from the ground up. Savor luscious meals made from the fruits of the land, craft cheese from our heritage cows, and learn the benefits of permaculture growing methods.
Permaculture Ethics & Principles
Designing with Nature
Essentials of Soil: Composting, Cover Cropping, & Fungi
Companion Planting, Polycultures & Guilds
Animal Care, Carbon Farming, Rotational Grazing & Holistic Management
Raw & Fermented Foods: Kombucha, Kimchi, Pickles
Dairy, Kefir, Yogurt, & Cheese
Herbal Tea Harvest & Preparation
Farm to Plate: Food Harvesting, Preparation,& Preservation
Wild Edibles, Foraging, & Sustainable Wildcrafting
Plant Medicine Making
Biodynamic & Organic Farming & Gardening
YOGA & MEDITATION
Yoga is rooted in the understanding that everything is interconnected – earth, water, fire, air, space, soil, animals, plants, cosmos, and all beings. Prepare to stretch your body and your mind to soften and expand your edges, building resilience and flexibility. As a center for contemplative ecology, residents at Metta Earth practice yoga and meditation at the river, in the forests, the gardens, and with the animals. We believe that these practices enrich our experience of life. When we are quiet inside, our eyes are open to the vibrancy that surrounds us. This is your opportunity to explore these practices and the contemplative ways of nature, wildness, and farm life.
Morning Yoga & Meditation Practice
Daily Yoga Classes
Embodiment Principles & Processes
Breathing Practices: Hive Mind, Breath of Joy, & Sounding Breath
Sitting, Walking, and Work Meditations
Drishti Eye Gaze, Earth Savasana, & other Metta Earth Yoga Practices
Deep Ecology & Yoga Philosophy
Green Yoga as Environmental Activism
Circle Yoga & Partner Yoga
Posture Practices with Nature: River, Trees, & Rocks
Authentic Movement, Contact Improv, & Journey Dance
Community resiliency is a response to the growing social and environmental crises facing our world. For more than a decade, Metta Earth has put sustainable community design into practice, which provides a rich immersion experience to explore whole and healthy communities. Learn systems of economics and governance, biomimicry and natural design, land stewardship, and social justice to inspire rejuvenating our communities with deeper sustainability.
Designing with Nature
Core Processes Of Community Building
Visions, Missions, & Covenants: Refreshing Social Structures
Intentional Community Models: Ecovillage, Community Land Trusts, & Cohousing
Regenerative Economics: Coops, Barter, Guilds, & Gift Economies
Ceremony & Ritual Creation
Creating Sanctuary, Group Safety & Ethics
Communication Processes:Co-Listening, Non-Violent Communication, & Way of Council
Leadership Models & Forms of Activism
Power, Privilege, Oppression, & Rank
WILDERNESS & LEADERSHIP
Metta Earth is surrounded by stunning mountains and many wild places to refresh body and soul. The headwaters of the New Haven River come from these same mountains with pure, vital pools and waterfalls to enjoy. Learn about ecopsychology and deep ecology, as rejuvenating philosophies and practices for reconnection with nature. This Immersion includes a 5 day Wild Quest to deepen your understanding of nature and to practice outdoor living skills. Leadership training is woven into the journey, preparing you to take action to address the social and environmental challenges in your home community.
Natural First Aid and Plant Medicine
Wild Food Foraging for Edibles
Tool Sharpening and Use
Cordage and Natural Fiber Crafting
Knots, Tarps, & Wild Encampments
Bow Drill Firemaking
Backcountry Food Preservation
Chaos & Creativity
Plant & Animal Communication
Metta Earth Co-Director Gillian: Sustainability Immersion
Program Fee: $3,500 (including $500 deposit)
This fee includes:
- Program tuition to cover program staff and materials
- All meals (delicious organic, mostly from our own gardens!)
- Accommodations (several housing options available)
- Three 30 minute mentorship calls after the program concludes
Metta Earth is committed to making our program accessible to low-income individuals who normally would be unable to attend such a program. We have a limited number of full and partial scholarships available based on need. We prioritize scholarships for those from minority groups and inner-city backgrounds.
Metta Earth is nestled in the quietude of the mountains, the stunning headwaters of the New Haven river with abundant waterfalls and pools for swimming, wilderness trails to walk or bike, and 158 acres of Metta Earth land to explore. The nearest town is Lincoln, VT (see full directions).
Meals are vegetarian and lovingly prepared with seasonal, local and organic foods. Much of our food comes from our own organic garden and farmstead. Participants have the opportunity to learn about harvesting, cooking, food storage, and other aspects of organic local food.
Options for sleeping accommodations include peaceful rooms in the main Metta Earth house, shared space in one of the yurts, or space to set up your own tent. The Metta Earth main house provides bathrooms, laundry, phones, wireless internet, library, kitchen and dining facilities, and teaching, study, and practice space.
Gillian Kapteyn Comstock and Russell Comstock founded Metta Earth Institute in 2007. They have dedicated their lives to homesteading and community living, offering others the chance to explore the joys of this way of life. Experts in regenerative food systems, contemplative practices, and community processes – Gillian and Russell will be your hosts and main teachers for this program at Metta Earth.
Staff & Interns
Over the past decade Metta Earth has hosted hundreds of visitors and program participants, many of whom choose to stay on to support the operation of the farm and institute. Our fantastic team of farmers, teachers, chefs, and world reach is rooted in the philosophies of Metta Earth. We know you will enjoy spending time with these brilliant individuals who will care for your needs during your stay. Visit our biographies page to learn more!
Middlebury College Farm with Jay Leshinsky
Valley Clayplain Forest Farm with Mark Krawczyk
Janet Fredericks Art Studio with Janet Fredericks
Wild Roots Farm with Jon Turner
Prospect Rock Permaculture with Keith Morris
Ross Conrad – Beekeeping Dancing Bee Garden
Cami Davis – On Art, Perception & Ecology Cameron Davis
Janet Fredericks – Collage Janet Fredericks Studio
Tom Verner – Performance & Talk Magicians Without Borders
Joni White-Hansen- Journey Dance
Marc Lapin – Work That Reconnects & Forest Ecology Marc Lapin (video)
Jen Lazar – 350 Vermont & Climate Justice 350 Vermont
Emily French – Local Medicinals Sweetgrass Herbals
Kristen Andrews – Community Sustainability Compassionate Conservation
Isabelle Fortier – Ego to Eco Theater Ego to Eco
Anna Blackwell – Plant Medicine The Village Shala
Liesje Smith – Dance & Embodiment Liesje Smith
Mark Krawcyzk – Permaculture Keyline Vermont
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…don’t search for the answer, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (German poet translated by Joanna Macy)
A Day at Metta Earth
Each day greets us with a new surprise at our Vermont farm – new shades of color gracing the open sky, fresh breezes tumbling off nearby Mount Abe, unique sounds of animals contently occupied with morning munching. The summer days are warm and often sun-filled, while the evenings bring a welcomed bout of cool. Days at Metta Earth revolve around the abundant garden, animals in the pasture, kitchen preparations, yoga room activities, and quiet moments in the forest.
For the early risers, there is self-guided practice and meditation in the yoga room, a calming beginning to a day filled with activity. A hearty breakfast of homemade yogurt, bread, and fresh fruit is served in the dining room overlooking the garden and meadows. Morning activities are often hands-on workshops – learning how to milk a cow, spin sheep’s wool, prepare jelly, harvest vegetables, or dip beeswax candles. A refreshing swim in the nearby river is a must after farm work!
After a lunch of freshly gathered garden goodies and a bit of respite, there is an afternoon of guided conversation and learning activities. This is your opportunity to understand the philosophy behind Metta Earth’s practices, engage in discussion about global affairs, practice communication tools with peers, or make an art piece to flex your creative muscle. A yoga class is taught around 5 pm in the yoga room or in the plum grove on a dry day. The day concludes with lively dinner conversations, perhaps some music, a presentation by a local activist, or poetry shared by the bonfire.