Mari Stuart, North Carolina Permaculture Designer and Urban Homesteader | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Mari Stuart, North Carolina Permaculture Designer and Urban Homesteader

Occupation: edible landscape designer, carbon farming planner, urban homesteader, freelance writer


Residence: Asheville, N.C.


Background: Mari is a carbon farm planner, landscape designer, educator and freelance writer living in Asheville, North Carolina. She is a project designer for Carbon Harvest, a pioneering community-powered carbon farming initiative in Southern Appalachia. She has taught Regenerative Design for SIT Graduate Institute’s Master’s Program in Sustainable Development. She teaches gardening and modern homesteading classes in her community and is a frequent speaker at farming and gardening conferences. She writes about local food, foraging and wildcrafting, and is working on a book on re-localizing our material lives.


Mari grew up in rural northern Finland,in a culture and family where nature connection, gardening and foraging are the norm rather than the exception. Moving to the United States as a college student and subsequently studying, traveling and volunteering on five continents taught her the value of broader perspectives, but also of the land-based provisioning practices of her homeland.


Mari holds a PhD in the study of religion from Harvard University, and in her previous career incarnation taught Asian religions and environmental ethics at Reed College and the University of South Carolina. In 2016, she left her academic position to pursue ecological landscape design and regenerative farm planning full-time. She is a certified permaculture designer and teacher, a Certified Ecological Landscaper, and has studied with many of the renowned leaders of the regenerative agriculture and ecological design movements. She is a self-taught natural dyer, spinner, and cheesemaker, and continues to learn to make more and more things from scratch.


Mari stewards an urban homestead together with her husband and daughter. On her happiest days, she’s got her hands in the dirt, or is in the midst of making something from scratch. She is fascinated with where things come from and how they are made, and how material lives can connect people to place.


Connect with Mari at Make Gather Grow and its Facebook and Instagram, and at Carbon Harvest and its Facebook and Instagram.

Read all of Mari’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

Photo by Emily Nichols