The Hobbit House Farmstead

Natural Building & Sustainable Mountainside Agriculture

by Rod Rylander


Located at Earthaven Ecovillage near Black Mountain, NC

 Link to ROD'S BLOG

Hobbit House Home

Building Tips

Rod Rylander


Unconventional Hodge Podge Word Doc

Link to Earthaven

Current Projects:

Hurricane House

Rod Rylander

Contact: rarylander[at]

Rod Rylander has degrees in biology and social ecology. Besides growing up on a farm, he has had college courses in agriculture. Much of his knowledge came through experience in growing organic vegetables, raising most small farm animals, and being a government agricultural agent in the Philippines and Belize. His publications include Teaching Them to Fish, an article about developing aquaculture in the Philippines, published in the 2004 edition of Permaculture Activist, and Mountainside Farming, published in the Mountain XPress in 2005.

Rod is the co-creator of the Aristotle Gathering, which is held at the Costa Rica International Center for Sustainability.

Life of Rod Rylander

I grew up on a farm near Denton, Texas and started keeping records of birds I identified when I was 10 years old. That year I started my own poultry business with the encouragement of my father. My brother, Kent, and I managed our own home made weather station for several years and published “The RyOaks Record” that was reproduced with a stencil and gelatin. During summers I worked at Harpool’s Seed House unloading trucks and sacking seeds. Upon entry to the University of North Texas, I was given the position of curator of the natural history museum. The university published my first publication - A Checklist of Birds of Denton, County, Texas. I graduated with 139 semester hours that gave me a degree in biology with minors in chemistry and mathematics.

To avoid the draft, I entered the 90 day wonder school to become an officer in the USAF. I was a missile officer and then a housing officer spending 3 years in Spain. I attained the rank of Captain. After the service, I was a class room teacher teaching chemistry and physical science. I then started my own real estate firm specializing in farms and ranches. That moved me into the building, contracting, and development business. I closed my doors after about 10 years and started designing and building alternative homes. I had articles in several magazines and presented papers at international conferences.

Next I went to Goddard College and did my research in Nepal for my master’s degree in social ecology. I co-authored “Pokernomics” with Ramesh Manandhar, a Nepalese. I then became an agriculture agent in the Philippines while serving in the Peace Corps. I was a social worker helping emotionally disturbed youth for two years and then became a park ranger at Pedernales Falls State Park. At the park I developed an innovative environmental education program based on mentors, received a grant from EPA, and brought Mexican educators to my teacher training workshop. I went to Mexico and convinced the Secretariat in Tamaulipas Mexico to develop an educational program. He asked for me to return to help teach facilitators. Working with a local professor, we developed a curriculum for the state. The course later was accepted for national use. I went on to develop an educational program for home schooled students.

I then bought a dilapidated conference center in Rockport, Texas, and created the beautiful Hummingbird Lodge and Educational Center, where I facilitated youth camps, conferences, food service, lodging, international tours, and workshops. After selling it, I went back into the Peace Corps, this time in Belize, where I worked in the areas of agriculture, community development, and park management.

After two years in Belize, I moved to Earthaven Ecovillage, a small community near Asheville, NC. There I built the alternative educational experience called the Hobbit House.