Straw Bale House Construction and Natural Building Internship

January 22, 2009

Are you interested in a hands-on straw bale building experience? As you know, there is no better way to learn than by doing. Red Earth Farms is an 80 acre, off-the-grid intentional community based in northeastern Missouri, composed of individual homesteads. Members strive to live ecologically – this means, of course, that members use natural building materials in their homes. Mark Mazzioti is one such individual building a straw bale house, featuring a pasive solar design, post-and-beam framing, and a cement-free rubble trench foundation. Mark, an experienced natural builder, is seeking interns for the upcoming 2009 building season. Here’s his strawbale house and natural building internship information:

UPDATE (March 6, 2009): This internship has been filled. See for other opportunities in the neighborhood.

Interested in straw bale house construction? Want some hands-on experience with natural building? Want to experience community life on an off-grid homestead? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then this internship opportunity may be for you.

Red Earth Farms is an intentional community of homesteaders located on 76 acres of pastoral rolling hills in northeastern Missouri. We have in common a commitment to developing sustainable lifestyle skills such as local food production, permaculture and natural building. We’re looking to host interns during the 2009 building season (April-September) to help with our straw bale house.

The house you’ll help build

The building is based on current best practices in natural building and passive solar design. It has round pole post-and-beam framing and a cement-free rubble trench foundation. It features an earthbag stem wall, strawbale walls, and a pallet truss gambrel roof. It will be finished with a poured adobe earthen floor and earthen and lime plasters.

How you’ll be living

Camp style. We have great tent sites and a couple of small cabins that may be available. We eat meals together as a community in our outdoor kitchen. Our meals are mainly vegetarian, and you will be included in the cooking rotation as soon as you feel ready. We have two other intentional communities in our neighborhood. Sandhill Farm is a 30-year-old egalitarian community, and Dancing Rabbit is a 10-year-old ecovillage with forty-plus members. We have a tri-community potluck dinner once a week.

Your qualifications and experience

You need to have a good work ethic and be capable of physic