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Cob Oven Build

July 22, 2023 - July 23, 2023


Build it with Earth: The Cob Pizza Oven

Complete Oven Build & Pizza Party

Be the Change Project Urban Homestead
Reno, NV July 22 & 23 (Saturday and Sunday)

Number of Students: up to 10

Cost: $320

The Building Project

A two-day complete oven build from the foundation all the way to the finish plaster. We’ll build a new oven at our neighbor’s place and re-plaster our existing oven at the Be the Change Project.

After this weekend, participants will have the knowledge and skills to build an earthen oven on their own. Oven builds are great for learning so many of the basic natural building techniques that are transferable to other projects: cob, light straw clay, fix-all plaster, brown coat, and finish plasters and sculpting.

While at our homestead, participants will get to experience the other examples of natural building and appropriate technologies on site including earthen cabins, garden walls, solar wall heaters, a root cellar with a green roof, a solar PV system, and more.

Each participant will receive Kyle’s book, “Build it with Earth: the Cob Pizza Oven” in the mail prior to the course.

The course concludes with a pizza party on Sunday night.

About the Site

The Be the Change Project is a Reno-based nonprofit, centered on our half-acre urban homestead where we have offered classes, tours, and workshops since 2011. That year we were able to buy what was a run down and neglected house on a half-acre through fundraising and crowdfunding. Since then we have enjoyed living an alternative and off-the-grid lifestyle while transforming the property into a verdant oasis. It has become a center for neighborhood uplift as well as a model for simpler living in the urban/suburban context. We were a Mother Earth News Magazine Homestead of the Year in 2013.

Reno is in the high desert on the western edge of the Great Basin. The weather in May and June is usually warm, clear, and sunny during the days with much cooler nights. It can get hot, and rain is unlikely.

We’ve developed and use many systems for living more sustainably in town which you’ll get to know and use during the workshop:

  • Solar cooking and wall heaters

  • Small scale solar PV

  • Wood stove  and solar thermosiphon water heating

  • Composting – vermicomposting and conventional aerobic piles

  • Alternative septic system – the Watson Wick

  • Basic principles and practices of Permaculture

  • Organic small plot intensive gardening including season extenders like hoop houses,  root cellaring and solar dehydrating

  • ScAvenging! – upcycling and salvaging materials from the urban waste stream

  • Living with little electricity and fossil fuels

  • Wood-fired hot tub


We have a variety of lodging options including cob cabins, rooms, tent sites, and parking for camper vans.

Registration, Payment, & Refunds

This workshop requires a $100 deposit to hold your space. When a deposit is made, Kyle will reach out to you, welcome you to the course, and get you in the email loop with all the details.

Go here to make a Venmo deposit or send a check for $100 made out to “Cobitat” and mailed to 2055 McCloud Avenue, Reno, NV 89512. Full payments are also gladly accepted.

Deposit is refundable (minus $20 for books and mailing cost if it’s already been shipped to you) until six weeks before the start of the class. If you cancel with less than six weeks before the start of the class and your spot can be filled, we will issue a refund minus book costs. If it can’t be filled, your deposit will not be refunded.

Full payment is requested by two weeks before the start of each class.

The Daily Schedule

We are aware that students make a big investment in a workshop such as this. We honor your time and do the best we can to share our knowledge and experience. Expect two full days with lots of building and learning. We always strive to make the workshop itself a comfortable, memorable and fun experience.

7:30 breakfast

8:30 building session one

1:00 lunch

3:00-6:00 building session two: other techniques, lectures, and oven building

7:00 Dinner

Delicious home-cooked meals are provided and will be vegetarian with occasional meat options.


Lead instructor Kyle Isacksen has been building with earth since 2010 and teaching natural building since 2011 with House Alive and the Be the Change Project. Kyle has a background in construction, teaching, and simple living.  He’s worked as a framer, carpenter, and commercial roofer and recently finished building a “green” conventional house in his neighborhood in Reno. He was a science teacher for 7 years, is a frequent speaker on sustainable living, and is a contributing writer for Mother Earth News magazine and blog. Kyle enjoys basketball, hiking, reading, and martial arts.

Katy Chandler is the co-founder of the Be the Change Project and has lived in and played with natural building materials for many years. She is a prolific gardener, certified permaculture designer, urban garlic farmer, and former math teacher and school designer.  She loves to dance, laugh, and pore over seed catalogs while cozied up to the wood stove on long winter nights. Kyle and Katy also have two teenage sons.


July 22, 2023
July 23, 2023
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Be the Change Project
2055 McCloud Avenue
Reno, NV 89512 United States
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