Spotlight On: Woodhenge Self-Reliance Campus

On Part II of last week's Better Farm field trip, we paid a visit to the Woodhenge Self-Reliance Campus in Adams Center, N.Y.

A so-called "Center for the Study of Things Practical and Not So Practical," Woodhenge is an off-grid, renewable energy, alternative building and sustainable agriculture learning center in Northern NY. Owners Krista and Jim Juczak energy classes in solar, wind and microhydro, as well as sustainable agriculture, building methods, and biofuels.

From his blog, Jim writes: "My wife and I are the founders of this little experiment in sustainable living. We purchased the land about 13 years ago and decided to try to live the ideals that we've shared for so long. I'm a 'shop' teacher with 24 years in public education and my wife, Krista, is a foreign language teacher (mostly German) with 22 years in the business. We've both done a lot of other jobs in a wide variety of locations. 

"We don't believe in mortgages, everything on the 52-acre site is paid for. This includes our 18-sided, 3,000-square-foot cordwood and papercrete home, a recycled home, a 1000 sq.ft. workshop, an underground home, several cabins, outhouses and shower houses. We are NOT connected to the grid. All of the power that is needed is made through a collection of solar panels, wind turbines, firewood, etc.

"We saw and see the need for a place that people can come to learn the basics of living simply. Simply here does NOT mean poorer. We feel that people have been trapped in our society by not having the knowledge available to them that was available in times past. Building homes designed for the area/climate you live, growing and preserving food that is actually good for you, making the energy systems that you need to be comfortable are just some of the things we do here. An undercurrent of reconnecting with people around you is a secondary feature of living the way we do.

"I believe that within a very short amount of time a series of crises will cause most of humanity to live at a considerably lower standard of living. Woodhenge is a place for people to come before this happens, to learn the coping skills that have been lost due to the way most of us live our lives. It takes time to simplify; to learn to garden, to learn to build, to learn to sustain!"

Couldn't say it better myself! Here's a photo tour of all things Woodhenge:

Main House
Canned food to last through winter, cordwood walls, hanging art.

Ceiling featuring tongue-and-groove and reclaimed wood from a bowling alley. Wagon wheel chandelier with mason jar lights.

The Grounds and Outbuildings

Fuel tank that will eventually be an underground house.

Former motel-turned-apartment, foreground, and main house with living roof in background.

Woodhenge is located at 13910 Fuller Road, Adams Center, NY 13606. To learn more, visit
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.