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Natural Building Internship with Master Teacher Elke Cole

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Available for immediate start, min. 2 week commitment

We are inviting people wishing to practice their natural building skills/owner-builders, or trades people in transition to Natural Building to join us for a few weeks of action at OUR Ecovillage.

We offer small group (max. 4 people) work – hands-on learning, practice, completing on projects under guidance of Elke Cole and other experienced builders.

Here’s what we’re up to:

New Build Opportunities:

  • Earthen Floor building and installation of hydronic in-floor heat systems for thermal mass
  • Learning mix and application of brown coat earthen plaster/sculpting
  • Clay plaster and paint (mixing and applying)
  • Living roof installations (including installing skylights, chimneys, ect)
  • Ceiling/ventilation/wiring/ect
  • Working with engineers and building inspectors (what to do and not do!)

Repair and Maintenance Opportunities:

  • Woodworking with curvilinear design, unique considerations for trim and finishing in natural buildings.
  • Repair and maintenance of earthen floors
  • Repair and maintenance of natural plasters and paints


  • Working with innovation/regulatory processes for a “Closing the Loop on Affordable Housing” project with the Federal Government and industry sponsors.
  • Various engineers/technical trades/design consultants will be working with OUR team with alternative greywater/composting toilets/rainwater harvesting systems/solar wells/waste wood gassification and boilers/ all linked into a closed loop systems demonstration design for OUR housing cluster of natural built and recycled materials affordable housing projects.

 A little more about us:

OUR Ecovillage is a world recognized natural building and permaculture Demonstration Site and Education Centre (1999) which has been almost 2 decades in working with all levels of Government, business/corporate partnerships, academic research/reporting, and a wide range of community organizations local to international. This is an excellent learning environment to experience a diverse range of building and systems design applications with construction from cob/strawbale/light clay/rammed earth/straw, various foundation types (earthbag/drystack stone/rubble trench/ect), various roof designs, alternative waste/heat/energy/approved composting toilets/rainwater harvesting/greywater & blackwater reclamation… all engineered and permitted!  This type of immersed learning environment is not found anywhere else in North America.

Elke Cole (http://elkecole.com) has worked with OUR Ecovillage since 2001, designing, facilitating and leading many buildings and programs. She recently returned from 6 years of experience abroad, bringing back techniques and knowledge from traditions of Africa and Germany.
Her teaching style is practical, supportive and encouraging, grounded in 20+ years of natural building experience.

Cost/Value Exchange:

Your investment of $750 – $500** per 2 week internship covers training, dormitory accommodation, and food. (** Sliding scale is determined by your level of experience and a personal interview for suitability/skill/learning commitment)

To apply please send email with the following:

  • your personal natural building history and intention
  • basic contact information (address, phone #, email)
  • relevant references
  • Intended dates of participation

We will set up a skype call or personal interview once we have received your application.

Your email should be send to: elke@elkecole.com

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.