Headwaters Garden & Learning Center

Cabot, Vermont, United States

  • Last updated: October 15, 2018 (3 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: May 31, 2010

Mission Statement

Headwaters works to provide the people who live here with a nurturing community, and to provide the public with an educational, recreational, and healing program to help support sustainable livelihoods. We strive to grow a lot of our own food, live in harmony with nature, and model what a permaculture community can be.

Community Description

Headwaters Garden and Learning Center is built around a shared ethic of land stewardship, reverence for nature, mutual support and respect, and a sustainable life. We strive to build a resilient web of relationships between our community, ourselves, nature, and spirit. We want to cultivate food, energy, and our human spirit to honor all our relations, and thereby eliminate impoverishment and exploitative relationships with Earth and humanity.

Our shared work on the land, in our neighborhoods, and in our local and global community will build a healthy environment to support our children and grandchildren for many generations to come, and we aspire to make all our decisions with future generations, all beings and relations, peace, and justice in mind.

We have received a permit for eight homes and one tiny house, and four of the homes are now completed and another one will begin in Summer of 2016. It is a condominium form of ownership – people buy a home site, not a lot, and build their own house. We hope to have a tiny house to rent for people who want to try life with a smaller footprint or visit the village for a short time by Summer of 2016. Camping visits are possible as well, and we have a small guest house.


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience, Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association, Ethical Business, Investment Group, or Alternative Currency, Organization, Resource, or Network, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming, Festivals, Conferences, Events
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 14 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Tiny house, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Lots to build on
  • Current Number of Residences: 5
  • Planned number of residences: 8
  • Planned Residence Types: Single-family homes, Tiny house, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent
  • Housing Provided: Purchase
  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Additional Comments:

    Everyone owns their own house and home site, the land is shared in common. We are building an Earthship greenhouse and have built a large community garden and orchard. We grow chickens, and sometimes have livestock that eats grass. We meet once a month, with a pot luck dinner, and share other meals occasionally – there is no schedule for sharing meals beyond what happens in community. There are condo fees that help maintain community roads and facilities.


  • Adult Members: 9
  • Child Members: 7
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Please contact us and let us know something about yourself, when and why you’d like to visit. We have camping and a small guest house available in the summer, but do not have much for guest facilities otherwise. There are Bed & Breakfasts nearby.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    People who want to join Headwaters are expected to visit and come to work days we organize monthly, then if they are still interested, they start attending our monthly meetings on a regular basis. There is an application process, and after some time spent attending meetings, visitors can submit an application that will be considered by the group. To build a home there, you would buy a home site and agree to pay monthly condo fees for shared facilities. Currently, the home sites are valued at $40,000, but for sale for $30,000. The ownership structure is a limited equity arrangement, so residents cannot speculate on the real estate values.

  • Additional Comments:

    We are open to all who share our values. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex or sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, or religion. We do reserve the right to turn people away who are not a good fit for our community for other reasons – personality, habits, work ethic, level of cooperation, level of knowledge of ecological ethics, etc.


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Everyone who is a resident is part of the governing council, and has an equal voice in decisions for Headwaters.


  • Join Fee: $25
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $120
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution: Encouraged or suggested
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Headwaters is a business in addition to being a housing development, and residents can choose how much of the business they want to own. The Headwaters Garden & Learning Center is an educational organization that works to provide training, recreational opportunities, healing, and creative arts to people who want to change their lifestyle. People come to Headwaters for these activities, and residents can choose to participate or not, but must be prepared for public visitors.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Biomass
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 50-75%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Almost All, around 90%
  • Food produced locally: Between 26-49%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Outbuilding(s), Hot tub or hot springs, Large Scale Kitchen, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Stage or Auditorium, Fire pit, Swingsets & play areas, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.
  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Vegetarian Only (no animal meat; dairy and eggs okay) – Please check this only if you are 100% Vegetarian, Mostly Vegetarian, Vegan Only (plants only, no animal products) – Please check this only if you are 100% Vegan., Mostly Vegan, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.), Raw or Mostly Raw, Kosher, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We have a large community garden, and we grow chickens. We do not impose dietary or lifestyle preferences on anyone, except insofar as we all strive to live a healthy, ecologically sound life.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices)
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private School off the property, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)


ecovillage, Vermont, garden, education, training, healing, permaculture