Sierra Vista, Arizona Straw Bale Workshop: Meet the Hosts

Written by Andrew Morrison

Sierra Vista, Arizona straw bale workshopWith spring just around the corner, comes the start of the 2017 straw bale workshop season. If you’ve been thinking about getting some hands-on experience (or sending your contractor to get the same), now is the time to start tightening up those plans. We have an amazing set of workshop locations this year across the U.S., and we know you’ll find a project that fits your needs.

We want to start the season off by introducing you to the hosts of the very first workshop for 2017: Mark and Teresa from Sierra Vista, Arizona. As you can see from the photo, this is going to be an incredible location with so much to offer.

I usually find myself pretty excited right around this time each year, because I know the workshop season is starting soon. I LOVE teaching workshops and spending time with people from all walks of life. It’s truly something that inspires me each and every year. I’m especially happy to be starting the season with Mark and Teresa’s project because I know how incredibly organized this workshop will be. Having spent the week with Mark at the Texas workshop last year, I got to see, first hand, just how dedicated to a “smooth show” Mark is.

I’ve asked Mark and Teresa some questions in order to help share their story about how they came to straw bale construction with you. My hope is that it will resonate and inspire you to jump in for this amazing journey we call a week long, hands-on workshop!

What is your vision for your build and why did you decide to go with straw bale construction?

We first experienced a straw bale home 20 years ago while doing volunteer work in Mexico.  The home did not even have windows or doors in it yet.  It was 95 degrees outside and we walked into a very cool comfortable environment.  I fell in love immediately and my mind was set on someday building a straw bale home.  Naturally the thought of being able to go off grid and being sustainable with our energy needs has always been a priority, and straw bale allows us to obtain these goals.

What do you love most about living in Sierra Vista?

Sierra Vista is a military intelligence community that is very diverse in culture and ethnicity, which creates a beautiful environment of amazing people.  We are surrounded by several mountain ranges that provide awe-inspiring views along with incredible sunrises and sunsets.  The weather is absolutely perfect.  We enjoy the four seasons with each season being very mild, just enough to provide some variation.

One thing we can always count on is that the sun shines year-round here.  Sierra Vista provides the benefits of small town living with a wide variety of shopping and restaurants.  Sierra Vista is a very cozy, safe environment, and one that we love calling home.

How long have you been there?

We have been in Sierra Vista for ten years, having moved here in January of 2007. The only disappointment we have regarding living here is wishing we had found this little community sooner.

How are you feeling about your build and being a host? 

We look forward to working along side people and making new friends. Our hope is to help teach people how living a sustainable life is within their reach. We are also very excited about the opportunity to hopefully inspire them to go after their dreams. We have learned that life is short. The community you build with people of common interests helps fashion, forge, and shape our lives into a wonderful event.

What excites you most about hosting the workshop?

Fellowship, meeting people from all over the country and maybe around the world.  I love finding out about how others think and view life, while experiencing a common project.

What can participants expect from your workshop? Will there be anything unique about your workshop that participants should know about? 

This is completely off-grid living.  We have the latest in photovoltaic and well water systems.  I (Mark) would love to share my ideas and plans that I have to build a large greenhouse.  The set-up will provide year-around stable indoor temperatures utilizing, natural means of geo-thermal conditioning.  We will be developing our own aquaponics system raising a variety of fish.  The system will be full circle of breeding fingerlings to food on the table.

Our home and homesteading techniques are state of the art.  I have totally connected with Andrew’s building model and have found it to be the most superior building design system for straw bale anywhere.  We plan to provide all of the learning points that can be taught at a workshop.  I genuinely believe if you want to learn how to build a straw bale home, you won’t want to miss this workshop.

I hope that you’ll join us at this spectacular location and help build a beautiful home for two loving and kind people. You can use this link to learn more about the workshop or to sign up today. I look forward to meeting you there!

10 Responses

  1. Hi Mary. It depends on the underwriters in your area. There are some companies that are not willing to educate themselves on anything new while others do a great job of taking on new and dynamic projects. The inclusion of the 2015 IRC Appendix S building code has helped a lot as well. It’s much easier to say to an insurance company that you’re building a home with the standards of a nationally recognized building code.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    I am Daniel Mapola based in Johannesburg i will like to learn to build a house using a straw bale,i am an expect in thatching i want to learn more please can you help me?

  3. Hi Daniel. Thanks for your interest. There is a lot of free information available on this site to get you started. We also offer instructional videos (instant download) and hands-on workshops. Please dig around the site to see what’s available. You may want to start on the home page and read the introduction. There are a number of links to take you through the process from the start so you can get the help you need. Cheers!

  4. There is LOTS of free info on this website to get you started. If you want hands-on learning, check out our workshops. We also have a video series (roughly 10 hours of education) for only $40. Happy Baling!

  5. Hi Melvin, the easiest way to see our current hands-on 7-day Workshop and 2-day Design Workshops is to visit this page CLICK HERE. They are announced on 11/25 each year and sometimes there are surprise events that get announced as they come up. If you’d like, I can add you to our community email list so you get notified as they come available. Send me a note at [email protected] and I’ll get you signed up. Hope to see you at a workshop soon!

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