top of page

Emerald Earth Sanctuary

Emerald Earth Sanctuary:

Emerald Earth is located in Boonville, California In Northern California, Mendocino county.)

They live on 189 acres. It is an entire cross-section of a small watershed, from ridge top to ridge top. A seasonal creek runs East to West through the middle. The North-facing slopes are mostly recovering redwood and tan oak forest, much of it very steep. The South-facing slopes are mixed oak/Douglas fir/poison oak woodland with large grassy meadows.

There are 8 adult residents, 4 couples, and each couple has one child.

The community was founded in 1989 when a group of friends from Berkeley found and purchased the land near Boonville in the Anderson Valley, about three hours drive north of San Francisco. This group called itself the Emerald Earth Laughing and Drumming Society and came together regularly for singing, drumming, and ritual, both in the city and on the land.

They spent a couple of years cleaning up the site and fixing the main cabin and other infrastructure, then five people moved onto the land in 1994. During this time, the non-profit corporation Emerald Earth Sanctuary was formed, and the land was deeded to it. After a while, most of this original community moved away, although several are still members of the Land Council. One member of the original group remained as the sole permanent resident for several years.

Mission: Their mission is to take responsibility as human beings to rediscover ways of interacting with the land in ways that enhance its ecological health, and they choose a lifestyle based as much as possible on biological power rather than chemical, more on social solutions than mechanical ones.

Social Dynamics: The adults are in their late 30s-early 50s and there are 4 children ranging from elementary to high school age.

The residents truly trust and depend on one another. And A few had jobs off the property such as collecting and selling wild mushrooms and seaweed for local restaurants, growing mushrooms, and one woman is an occupational therapist.

Each family has its own home. But the whole community spends most of their waking hours together. They eat lunch and dinner together every day. Lunch is usually leftovers from previous dinners. Then they make a delicious, fresh new dinner for the evening. The adults evenly rotate preparing the meals. They commonly shared responsibilities like tending the garden, caring for the children and the animals, repairing and building on the property. And they have frequent interaction in the daytime.

There are only 8 adults managing a working farm, young children running around and helping when they can. A couple broke up and they both moved out and two single men fell in love with people who didn’t want to live in such a remote location.