6 days of hands-on learning in EarthBag building. Learn the secrets of this versatile natural building technique and leave knowing how to build beautiful, natural and super-versatile earthbag structures with a small footprint and basic, easily accessible materials for very little cost.
Earthbag building is both old and new. Sandbag building has been used to form temporary structures of great strength for over 100 years. Earthbag building is now growing in popularity as a low-impact natural building technique which utilises the resources of the site to create strong structures with stable inside temperatures, and can be made with minimal costs.
The earthbag technique involves filling long bags with earth from or near the building site, with a binding medium such as clay, lime or cement. These bags are then carefully arranged in layers to create load-bearing structures which are water tight, very strong and very comfortable to live in due to their stable internal temperatures.
An earthbag building can be any size and any shape - its appearance and function is only limited by the skill and imagination of the builders. Earthbag is also growing in popularity for crisis housing in communities where conventional building resources are scarce or unaffordable. Learning to build with earthbag is a useful skill that can be used to build beautiful and functional structures on your own property, in your community or further afield in the service of others.
About this workshop
For this workshop we welcome acclaimed Earthbag building fascilitators Neil and Stella of Guiding Star Creations to Milkwood Farm to lead us all through the steps of how to build an earthbag dome building. The building will be about 2.5m wide and about 3m tall and suitable for a wide range of uses from guest room through to root cellar.
This workshop covers how to test your soil, build foundations, all the steps of the earthbag technique, forming window and door openings, natural plastering, and options for adapting domes to dry or wet climates.
You will leave the workshop all set to apply your knowledge elsewhere and build your very own earthbag dome.
This workshop is suitable for anyone with an interest in this exciting natural building technique. Recommended for permaculture designers, natural builders, conventional builders, owner-builders, aid workers, and anyone else looking to expand their skills in creating safe and comfortable habitats for future generations.
Neil and Stella recommend this size and shape of structure as a good fit for your first earthbag building; it is relatively quick, involves all the basics of earthbag technique, and is an achievable project from start to finish for a group in one week.
For further reading about Earthbag techniques and applications, check out:
This workshop will run from 9am on Sunday 27th February until 5pm on Saturday 5th March, with one day off in the middle of the workshop on Wednesday the 2nd March.
Bring along with you a water canteen, sturdy boots, hardy work clothes, gloves, a good sun hat, and plenty of enthusiasm. And expect to get dirty! There are multiple waterholes close to the building site if you need a dip, so bring your swimmers too.
This workshop will be a hands-on affair so please come expecting to be deeply and intrinsically involved with every aspect of this building technique. You will leave this workshop stronger that you arrived, more knowledgable and hopefully exhilarated and inspired as well!
Families are welcome. Non-workshop attending guardians can come along for the cost of catering ($180) and kids under 16 come free. Please note that you are completely responsible for your child's safety while at Milkwood Farm during this workshop.
About the teachers
Neil and Stella of Guiding Star Creations in California, USA are experienced Earthbag builders and have facilitated Earthbag workshops to a diverse range of groups in the USA, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia. Both are graduates of the Californian Institute of Earth Art and Achitecture and have extensive experience in a range of natural building techniques and effective workshop facilitation.
Included in your course fee
Your course fee includes all workshop materials and full catering (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) with our famous country cooking, utilising local food and and as much on-farm produce from Milkwood Farm as we can squeeze in. Please bring your own gloves and a water canister (rainwater available).
Course participants are invited to camp at Milkwood (BYO camping gear) and join us for breakfast and dinner throughout the course for no extra cost. See our staying at Milkwood page for more details on our camping facilities.
Booking into the course
To secure your spot in the Milkwood Autumn Earthbag course pay the full course fee of $950. Click the green button at right to pay via PayPal or your credit card.
We use PayPal to receive payments and take bookings for our courses. You can book your course via PayPal without creating an account by providing them with your credit card details. Your banking details are secure and will not be provided to Milkwood Permaculture or any other third party. If you are not comfortable using PayPal get in contact with us and we will arrange an alternative payment method. Please ensure you read our refund policy.
We are always happy to offer community, pensioner and unwaged discounts where we can, to make Milkwood Permaculture courses accessible to everyone. Please contact us for more information.
Once you've booked in
Once you've booked into this course, we will contact you via email regarding food preferences, what to bring along with you, and any further info you might need or request regarding camping and transport to/from Milkwood Farm.
Milkwood is a small organic family farm near Mudgee in Central Western NSW. A Permaculture Demonstration Farm currently under development, Milkwood features extensive permaculture earthworks and water-harvesting features, our amazing passive-solar cottage, food-forests in the making, seedball production and many other examples of sustainable and regenerative best-practice for farming and living.
Our courses are held in our family's woolshed with beautiful views of Campbells Creek Valley and our organic farm cooking is such that students often joke about moving in permanently.
Mudgee is an easy 4 hours by car or 40 minutes by air from Sydney, and is serviced by Countrylink Rail and Mudgee Airport. See our Getting to Milkwood page for a map and full details on getting here by plane, train or automobile.
- For this course, we offer the option to stay at Milkwood Farm in our creekside camping area as part of your course cost. This option includes dinner, breakfast and use of all amenities, and is BYO camping gear (or hire some of our tents/beds/sleeping bags by contacting us prior to your course). See our Staying at Milkwood page for more details on what we provide.
Or, if you're not up for camping, we suggest...
- Staying at Bushlands Holiday Park in Windeyer, 15 minutes up the road. Bushlands has a range of cabin and camping options, and the Windeyer Pub, located right next door, does counter meals some nights of the week.
- BaMack Homestead B&B is 20 minutes up the road from Milkwood Farm. They have special rates for Milkwood students, so mention us when you book: 02 6373 8312.
- Stay further afield in Mudgee, which has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Mudgee Tourism Website.
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Prior to attending your course, you might like to take a look at our ever-expanding reading list,a bunch of recommended and practical texts on Permaculture, sustainable agriculture and community resilience.
None of these texts are pre-requisite for our courses, we just like to
be able to provide suggestions on background reading, in case you're
champing at the bit to get going.