Green Festival Speakers

Mary Meyer

Mary Meyer co-designed, built and has lived in an off-grid strawbale house for 17 years with her husband Richard Cartwright in rural Southeast Indiana in Oldenburg. They were inspired to create an Earth harmonious lifestyle with a low carbon footprint and saw an opportunity to do this through building and living in this manner. Their home features stuccoed & plastered strawbale walls as structure and insulation, an annually renewable material acquired from Mary's brother, a nearby farmer. The house is built on a gently sloping hill creating a split level that naturally circulates air for heating and cooling. It features solar panels for electricity, a gravity-fed water system from their abundant well on the hill behind their house, an internal greywater wetlands, a wood-burning cookstove, solar ovens, recycled or salvaged flooring, windows & doors and composting toilets--the end product of which provides nourishment to their emerging forest garden surrounding them. For 13 years, their home was part of the eco-educational programs of Michaela Farm with the Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters from the building of the home to open houses to the public, and one-on-one consultations in which over 1000 people were exposed to this living example of an ecological home and energy systems, some of whom have reported making changes in their own lives. The biggest lessons that Mary & Richard have received from choosing this way of life, is the commitment, creativity and management required, how much the homestead gives back to them, as well as the overwhelming interest people have for elements of their building and energy practices. Mary is the owner of Environmental Harmony & Healing Arts, providing coaching and consultation in creating a clear space and new habits for harmony and workability in any environment. She is also Massage and Movement Therapist at the Oldenburg Retreat Center.