Want to know how to cultivate mushrooms? Interested in exploring the hidden nature of water? Curious as to how permaculture works and what it does? Care to try your hand at creating woodblock prints, braintanning a buckskin or fermenting your own foods? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then a seminar at Polcum Springs may be in your future.
Situated on 203 acres within Northern Mendocino County (25 minutes northwest of Laytonville), Polcum Springs is a ridge-to-valley watershed boasting four seasonal creeks, thick forests, open grasslands, and a variety of native plant and animal species. Focusing on permaculture and community living, the Springs includes a village designed by Bob Theis consisting of a common house, central kitchen and bath house, rainwater storage, garden, pole barn and dining terrace. Resident cabins dot the property, some close to the village and others nestled deeper into the forest.
In all of its endeavors, Polcum Springs strives to harmonize with its natural surroundings, allow for the land and its limitations to dictate its use, minimize the disturbance of the environment, promote pedestrian-scale design, and use resources efficiently. They maintain that the simple pleasures of life are the best, and members enjoy preparing meals together, hiking, swimming, stargazing and communing with nature. All building projects are carefully considered so that they can preserve this relationship with the landscape and those living within it.
In addition to visiting for a class or seminar, those wishing for a longer-term stay may apply for a membership or residency. Members hold interest in the Springs as a company and manage more of the business end of operations. Residents (who are also welcome to become members) are involved in the everyday operations of gardening, finishing the construction of the village, and act as a part of a holistic, sustainable community. They live at the site after completing an application and interview process. Polcum Springs ultimately hopes to become a thriving village of 15-25 people of all ages, personalities and backgrounds. Facilities are also available for rent to the general public with approval from the residents.
Amidst a world full of gadgets, fast-paced work schedules and political discord, it is comforting to know that there are still places where it is possible to reestablish a meaningful connection with nature and one another. From getting your hands dirty tanning hides and farming, to stretching your body and spirit practicing yoga, Polcum Springs is a retreat from the everyday routine and back to the fundamentals. For more information about their programs, head up to Mendocino, or just visit them online.