California needs building solutions that address our housing crisis and our wildfires.
Quail Springs has been building with monolithic adobe (also known as “cob”), a fire-resistant and affordable material, for over a decade. While earthen building has been practiced around the world for thousands of years—in fact, some of the oldest buildings in Southern California are built from adobe—a lack of modern testing data makes it nearly impossible to build with earth in California today. Quail Springs has conducted seismic testing on cob walls with Cal Poly Civil Engineering Department and Verdant Structural Engineers, and we are preparing to conduct an official fire safety test in partnership with the Cob Research Institute. With this official data, and with the recent adoption of the Cob Construction Appendix in the International Residential Code, we are well on the way to creating a streamlined and affordable pathway for anyone who wants to permit and build an earthen home in California.
" In the wake of all the extreme environmental changes we see, the utilization of natural building practices and permaculture is necessary for our future. "
Student and Donor
We grow food in the high desert, where temperatures are extreme and water is scarce.
As the climate changes and more areas of the planet desertify, the farming techniques we practice and demonstrate here will become increasingly relevant. For 15 years we have been offering farm tours and farm workshops, inspiring thousands of people from around the world to make gardens, grow food, honor their local foodsheds, and support regenerative agriculture. We save seeds, build soil, use our water wisely and we share what we learn through education, storytelling, and advocacy.
Our Cuyama Valley has one of the most critically overdrafted groundwater basins in California.
Almost three times the sustainable yield of water is pumped from the basin each year, which is enough to supply six cities the size of Santa Barbara. Quail Springs staff have been advocating for and shaping sustainable groundwater policy locally for the past six years, while doing outreach and education to encourage Cuyama residents to participate in the process. Over the past 15 years at the Quail Springs site we’ve had the honor of stewarding one of Cuyama’s last remaining spring fed wetlands and to witness and participate in its truly remarkable regeneration.
Our rangeland management team formed Cuyama Lamb LLC.
This 600-head sheep outfit is committed to broad-acre regeneration of native California grasslands. They travel around the region providing holistic grazing services for fire fuels mitigation, native ecosystem enhancement, and carbon sequestration, while simultaneously producing quality lamb meat and fine wool. Last year Quail Springs and Cuyama Lamb partnered with Patagonia to trial methods for reseeding native bunchgrass on our high desert rangeland. More recently you may have seen the flock in Santa Barbara at Elings Park or at San Marcos Foothills Preserve.
" In order to live in a better world, we need more people to embrace sustainability like the community at Quail Springs has. "
Santa Barbara County Supervisor
With the challenges of the current pandemic, the ongoing threat of climate change and another fire season coming
our work is needed now more than ever.
Help us raise the funding needed this year to further our work on earthen building research and advocacy, watershed stewardship, and regenerative farming.
Sign up for a course, or work trade with us to learn more about regenerative farming and earthen building.
If you are a builder, an architect, an engineer, a farmer, or a change-maker and you’re interested in working with us, we’d love to hear from you.
Keep up with what we're doing and what's coming up next!
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