Natura Institute of Ecology and Medicine’s Tending Residence
Are you keen to live at the intersection of the wild and the cultivated? Come live in the Commonweal Garden, located in Bolinas, CA. We are looking for the right person to help tend the garden, participate in our programs, share communal space with others, and dive into all that the garden & the surrounding area has to offer. Join us if you are passionate about integrative medicine, permaculture, land connection, community resilience.
Natura: Natura’s mission is to cultivate the medicine of connection: to oneself, each other, and the Earth. Founded and directed by integrative physician Anna O’Malley, Natura is exploring the healing and resilience that comes from tending land, growing food, making medicine and being in community. As someone who lives here you would be in close relationship with the organization as we host retreats, workshops, events and gatherings in the garden regularly.
Land: We are located at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas, California. The garden is located on 17 acres in the Point Reyes National Seashore and has been lovingly tended for many years. Under the previous stewards, Penny Livingston and James Stark, it became a permaculture garden with elements such as a medicinal food forest, orchards, and herbal medicine garden. Our greenhouse functions as a place for both plants and people. Our yurt and apothecary space beautifully hold those here on programs. The land is a supportive environment for learning and personal growth, with opportunities to tend soil, plants, and animals (currently rabbits, soon to be chickens). The surrounding wild land is accessible via trails to inspiring vistas and wild beaches.
Landmates: You would be sharing this land with 8 others, including (at times) children. We celebrate the presence of children and find joy in an intergenerational presence. We enjoy frequent potluck dinners and opportunity for meaningful conversations. We enjoy each other’s company and also have busy lives that take us out of the garden regularly.
Room & Buildings: The 10x10 room we have for rent is located in a beautiful, natural cob building. It is a duplex- you would be sharing with building with another person, with the rooms separated by a wall. There is a beautiful porch overlooking the garden with an ocean view! It’s important to note there is no wifi in the buildings. You will have access to the resident kitchen and living room (where wifi is available). There are 3 others that share this space, providing opportunity to engage in communal living and agreements. On occasion, groups that rent the garden will use this kitchen to cook for their program attendees. Please note that all residents of the garden currently use port-o-potties in lieu of toilets, and accommodations are rustic and close to nature. We hope to have composting toilets in the near future. You will have access to a beautiful greenhouse bath & shower that is shared between 6 people. There are laundry machines in the bathhouse as well.
Garden: We are here in service of being in a tending relationship with this land, and all that demands of us. We honor each other and the land by leaning into the tending and the joy that is found in it. If you are excited to learn to tend the land, are curious about the relationship between individual and collective wellbeing and the wellbeing of land, have a strong work ethic and believe in the joy found in tending the land, we’d love to meet you.
Instructor Time & Details: Commonweal staff will provide a minimum of 20 hours per month of direct instructed learning about permaculture and various farm tasks. The students commit to fully participate in these instructional sessions. This can include, but is not limited to, tending the garden and farm animals (bunny, bees, & chickens), food preservation, general upkeep and care of the facilities, and how to support the hosting of workshops. Aside from direct instruction time, students will be expected to spend time applying the skills learned to accomplish their direct learning objectives. The amount of time needed will depend on individual student learning objectives. Time spent on personal care and general cleanup of personal and communal living spaces like bathhouse, kitchen, bunkhouse, and bedrooms is not included in the 20 hour monthly instruction contract.
Food & Personal Items: The “above named” agrees to purchase and provide for their own food and personal items during their stay at Commonweal Garden. Farm food for personal use is available to all students. Additional bulk processing of farm produce requires an agreement from Farm Managers prior to processing.
Rental agreement: We hold the opportunity to live, learn and tend here as a privilege and a precious opportunity to learn much about ourselves, about community resilience, and how to be a force for good at this planetary moment. We do ask people pay rent of $500/month, and commit to a minimum of 10 hours a week of tending, working closely with Garden Manager. Additionally, the learning opportunity includes free enrollment in the Four Seasons Permaculture Design Course, held once monthly in the Garden (full course details here), with certificate upon completion. Further possibilities to learn about integrative medicine, use of food and plants as medicine, and community medicine are possible with optional attendance of monthly Community Medicine Circles, and in ad hoc conversations with Anna O’Malley. A deposit of $500 upon move in is required, and rent is due on the first of each month.
Please note that for the work-trade agreement a certain amount of sitting, standing, carrying, and kneeling is required. Also note that the trails to our buildings are dirt/wood-chipped paths. We currently do not have a port-o-potty that is wheelchair accessible.
No phone calls, please. Email a single PDF document including: