Immerse yourself, explore your passions, and direct your course. Emerge as a leader who cares for others and the planet and is empowered with real skills to make a difference.

Graphic hands element

Live in a community of peers and play an integral part of running an organic vegetable garden that feeds our community. Learn  how to be self sufficient through growing and cooking your own food and eating eggs from the chickens that you will care for. Embark on wilderness expeditions around the region, which will be increasingly planned and executed by the student group. Collaborate with group members and take weekend outings going rock climbing, paddling, swimming, or mountain biking. Participate in a variety of traditional craft workshops taught by local artisans and flex your creative muscles, develop skills, and create hand-made keepsakes. Go deeper by taking on an independent project of your choice with guided mentorship. The sky is your only limit.



Find satisfaction through diverse activities, making practical things with your hands. Our community is full of talented artists, crafters, and musicians who make a living doing what they love. Here, you have the unique opportunity to try your hands in an assortment of media making functional pieces you then take with you on your life's journey, ranging from carved spoons, to hand-built mugs, and  felted garments, to soaps and jams. All activities are dependent upon student interest and instructor availability.

When I came to this area, it had everything I wanted. It's so diverse and has so much to offer. I guess what I really like about it is it's an excellent place to make yourself and find yourself and be yourself.



We live in a special location, far enough away from major cities to be amidst thousands of acres of wilderness. Not only are there trails along creeks and up mountains, but we're also in prime mountain biking and paddling terrain. Embark on a series of adventures to play outside in as many ways as you can, developing expertise that culminates to a student-planned final trip. All activities are dependent upon the weather and student interest.

It inspired me to do things I never thought I could do before. It inspired me to push boundaries, especially physical ones. I never thought I could climb mountains or hike trails or go canoeing. It inspired me to go places that I had never gone before and consider completely different field of work and just try everything. It was great!


Learn by doing and gain the skills for living off the land. Live simply and get your hands in the dirt. As an active community member, try new caretaking roles that rotate weekly, from watering the garden to managing the compost system, tending the chickens to weeding.

The Pioneer Project had a really big impact on my life. It's kind of like the climax from everything from high school and that step into adulthood.



The days vary in what we, as a group, choose to do with them, loosely planning each week as it rolls into the next. Also, some core activities keep us anchored throughout the day.


Rise and shine

Caretaker roles:

chickens, watering, ...


Morning workshop

on soil science

Independent project time with mentorship



Clean up and rest

Visit nearby potter's studio to make a bowl

Team building activities

Dinner prep



Clean up


and discussion

Off to bed for a

good night's rest


We eat a varied and nutritious diet with foods some may not have experienced before. If you come with an open mind and adventurous spirit being ready to try novel foods, you will likely discover new favorites. We do our best to make sure there is always food everyone feels comfortable eating in addition to the foods that may be new. We also strive to eat food that comes mostly from the garden, so it's local and in-season. For the meat eaters, we have access to ethically-raised, local, organic meats, which is a dinner option a few times a week.


In the beginning, we plan and prepare meals with your help. As the program continues, you take more leadership with meal planning and preparation.

The food was top quality and nutritious. We catered to dietary needs at every meal, often making vegan and/or gluten-free foods when someone wanted to try that diet style for a time, and this was encouraged. Expedition foods were whole and organic, as well, and continued to be top quality.


Many parts to our meals from scratch from the garden's harvest: tomato sauce, pesto, jams, granola, cookies, smoothies, and more. You bet they are delicious. And we cater to all dietary restrictions.


You are invited to choose and prepare your own breakfast or to prepare something collectively.



Toast and eggs from the coop

Homemade pancakes


Lunches are simple, but hearty. To save time, meals might include a soup and/or sandwich, or leftovers from the previous night's dinner.

Pasta salad with garden vegetables


We sit down together during this time to enjoy the most elaborate meal of the day.


Our dinners always include a salad, grain, protein, and vegetables, and might look something like this:

Homemade chili with tomato sauce from the garden

Corn-bread made from scratch

A salad with wild greens


All the students and us live together in the rustic timber-framed family house. It was built with intentionally small bedrooms, which may be shared with a bunk bed, so folks would be enticed to gather in the comfy common spaces, like around the wood-fired stove, around the large farm table for meals, or in one of the many outdoor spaces. Extra bedrooms for large students groups extend to the cabin out back, and for even larger groups, a camper.

The farmhouse is newly renovated and airy, and it comes equipped with a new washer, new dryer, a new kitchen, and two full bathrooms. We do not have television, so you may be wondering what we do with ourselves. In lieu of the tube, you can play a game of volleyball or throw a football, go for a run down to see the neighbor's horses, or hike the ridgeline, and there is an entire wall full of interesting books, games, and craft supplies for folks to occupy their interests and down time.

It's very welcoming and warm feeling. It feels like a big family.




Brasstown, NC 28902, USA

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