September 15, 2020

Building a Climate Cabin | Part I | Introduction

Join Mikael Maynard on a mission to build a small home using the most sustainable, ethically-sourced materials possible.

Mikael Maynard
September 15, 2020

I have been holding on to some exciting news that I’m eager to finally share with everyone! Today’s post begins a forthcoming series of articles following the construction of our brand-new climate cabin at the Johnny Appleseed Organic Village! 

I am thrilled to document this process, in no small part because Joshua and I are going to be living in it! It will be our new home right on the farm, so that we can further immerse ourselves into the pivotal work of climate farming. 

You may be curious as to why we are calling this structure a “climate cabin.” As you know, the mission of Johnny Appleseed Organic is to shift the current agricultural paradigm into one that emits minimal greenhouse gases and actually sinks carbon into the soil for the future health of the whole ecosystem. 

People often forget the culture component of agriculture, which includes our beliefs and ways of thinking when it comes to every facet of life and every choice we make — not just growing food. So, as owners, farmers, residents and builders of the Johnny Appleseed Organic Village, it’s imperative that we set the best possible example for a holistic approach to sustainable living. 

This project is a step in that direction — and since we are in the very beginning phase of the building process, it’s a perfect time to start sharing our journey.

In collaboration with Marion Davis at South Georgia Realty, we have received a permit from Charlton County that qualifies a 600 square foot structure for which Marion graciously drew up plans.

It’s not exactly a “tiny home,” since tiny homes are those under 400 square feet, but at 600 square feet, it will definitely be considered a “small home.” 

(Anything under 1,000 square feet technically qualifies, but the term ‘tiny home’ has a stricter set of qualifications. Check out the “small house movement” — it’s a thing!)

Our favorite carpenter and craftsman, Mike Shellman, has staked and braced the perimeter of the cabin, spread hardpan soil and leveled it in preparation for pouring the concrete foundation.

As for me, I have been doing endless amounts of research, listening to podcasts (shout out to Kate Hamblet and her podcast, Healthy Home Design), scouring the internet and — let’s be real — pinning away on my Pinterest boards to learn about the most cost-effective, locally sourced, ecologically friendly, health conscious, AND ethical building materials out there. 

Whew! That’s a mouth-full and a lot to think about when building any kind of structure, not to mention having to meet the state’s building codes on top of it all! Come to find out, a lot of the climate-friendly features that we hope to be a part of the house — things like a composting toilet, wool insulation, etc. — are not addressed at all in the code here in Georgia, meaning no one Marion talks to knows if we can or can’t use them! 

This puts us into a little bit of a limbo, but I’m confident that Marion will be able to help us get the ball rolling in the direction we want to go.

In closing, I want to emphasize that I have never done this before, nor have I been a part of this process. I am learning as I go, and I really look forward to continuously showing you our progress. 

I also aim to be completely transparent about the cost of the project so that you have an idea or even some inspiration to build your very own climate cabin!

Want to learn more about building a small, environmentally sound home? Hoping to follow Mikael's journey as she works to make this dream a reality? Stay up to speed by signing up for updates!


Mikael Maynard

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