Nathaniel Nordin-Tuininga on the Lost Valley Ecovillage in Western Oregon

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"Nathaniel Nordin-Tuininga grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s living off the land with his parents on an intentional community in Western Oregon. In 2020 he returned to his roots, parking the tiny house he’d built on the edge of the meadow at the Lost Valley Ecovillage and Educational Center.

In the late eighties Lost Valley founders began work restoring 87 acres of logging land to its native oak savanna glory. One of the first communities in the US to experiment with permaculture practices, they created ponds and swales to redirect water through the property and used techniques like selective thinning of forests and controlled burns to recreate meadows and grasslands.

Today, the property has gone from a monoculture of Douglas fir to a rich variety of oaks, conifers and deciduous trees. The property is now a maturing food forest feeding residents, as well as all types of wildlife. There are also organic vegetable gardens, a native plants nursery and fruit trees that feed both inhabitants and the local community.

Nordin-Tuininga spends most of his days barefoot, loving the feel of “forest bathing” and being in direct connection with nature at as many nerve endings as possible (he also still climbs trees). His tiny house is not just off-grid, but unelectrified so he can follow the natural rhythms of the day. He uses a cooler as a refrigerator and simple meals, but he can fall back on the community kitchen when necessary.

The ecovillage has about 30-50 residents at any given time, but it stays open to short-term residents with social forestry camps, permaculture design courses and a “Holistic Sustainability Semester” for anyone interested in integrating into the community for 3 months while learning about regenerative agriculture and permaculture, medicinal and edible wild plants, rewilding and the teachings of the natural world.

Nathaniel wants to make clear his gratitude towards all Indigenous peoples to help create the community and regeneration projects at Lost Valley, “References to Indigenous practices of the past are shared with the awareness that many such practices have been carried forward and others are in the process of revitalization. Lost Valley Education Center is in active partnership with members of the Kalapuya and other Native teachers to support this process”.

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