The farm today
Sparklebark began first and foremost as a farm and homestead; an experiment in stewarding a beautiful piece of land and growing food, flowers and medicine collaboratively. With the help of friends and family in countless hours of elbow grease we were able to turn a patch of grass into productive fertile ground. By building soil, collaborating with pollinators, and rotating crops and cover crops, we have created gardens filled with blooms, delicious nourishing food, and herbal medicine.
What began with hosting our community for epic and bountiful spring and summer meals, or gathering to process plants into teas, tinctures or ferments evolved into our desire to share our homestead with the broader world through our rental spaces. In opening these spaces we are striving to provide an experience of the deep joy, fulfillment, and connection with land that can only be experienced in and around the garden.
Zachary and Evan continue to grow food, flowers and herbs for personal and communal enjoyment. This year we are collaborating and sharing our garden space with Hawthorne Community Herb Collective. "an Asheville area radical health collective aiming to make herbal medicine and other “alternative” modalities of healing accessible while helping folks feel empowered to take healthcare into their own hands & hearts."
We invite you to walk through the gardens and encourage you to ask questions if you see folks with shovels or harvesting baskets in hand.
the story of Sparklebark
2011- Zac Singer and Beatriz Carmen Mendoza meet at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Western North Carolina. Zac is a carpenter, artist, and master of puns. Beatriz is an illustrator, activist, and hilarious storyteller. You can see her artwork here.
2012- Bea and Zac decided to start a life together and purchase land outside of Asheville, NC. They purchase Sparklebark, a beautiful piece of property formerly owned by the once longest married couple in North Carolina! The home and barn those folks built and the grape vines they planted are still growing there today, abundantly producing delicious fruit.
2012-2015- A time of collective living, epic building, garden and infrastructure projects, where many loving hands worked hard to lay the foundation and establish the deeply personal and storied energy that surrounds the land. A revolving cast of herbalists, artists, makers, activists, cousins, aunts and friends swirled about exchanging a couple hours of hard labor for a delicious meal and a laugh.
2014- Beatriz proposed to Zac, and he said YES! Friends gather together to collectively raise a circus tent for the wildest and most magical wedding you can imagine. Instead of renting porta-potties, Zac and Beatriz decided to build beautiful composting toilets and hatched the plan to use this an opportunity to build rental infrastructure and make a long term investment that allowed for the construction of future guest spaces.
2015- Zac Singer and Friends build Relaxing Bedroom in the Trees and add the first outdoor shower to the worlds fanciest compost toilet - it is their first season on airbnb!
2016- Beatriz finds out she is pregnant! Zac and Beatriz remodel an old school bus and list it as Romantic Bus in the Forest. This is a magical summer, Bea and Southerners on New Ground co host an artists residency for queer artists of color from across the south. Zac and Bea and friends build an outdoor kitchen to enhance the feasting. In August, Santiago Sol Singer was born. A baby as stubborn and creative as his mother, and as imaginative and construction-minded as his father. An overwhelming joy to everyone he meets.
2017 - Zac and Beatriz acquire and remodel a 1960's Avion Trailer - Zac designs and builds a deck, another custom composting toilet and outdoor shower. Bea and Santi help to decorate and by August its listed as Vintage Camper on Organic Farm with Stunning View - it really does have a stunning view! Zac and Bea collaborate with their friend Natalie Bogwalker of Wild Abundance and decide to design and build a Tiny House on wheels to become their first year round guest space. Natalie hosts a tiny house workshop that frames the space.
Fall 2017 -When Santi was just one year old, Beatriz was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Bea and Zac were forced to leave the land and home she loved to seek treatment. First in New York city, and later in Miami.
Spring 2018- Zachary and Evan move to Sparklebark to manage operations in Bea and Zac's absence. In the midst of Bea's illness the Tiny House falls out of priority - by Spring of 2018 however Zac and Natalie decide to resume work and hire trusted and skilled friends to complete the work. Zac continues creating construction drawings and material choices, and makes routine trips to ready the site, install utilities, and put on the finishing touches.
September 2018- Bea, Zac and Santi return to her beloved home one last time. Bea chooses the art to hang in the Tiny House and gets to visit the mountain streams and ridge tops around Sparklebark.
November 2018 - Bea’s life ends in a way very much consistent with the person she was, surrounded by family and friends, song and sacredness, flowers and detritus, and most of all, intentionality and authenticity.
December 2018 - Weeks after Bea's death Elegant Tiny House on Organic Farm opens to guests.