Barn Project


Ionia’s Barn is designed to be a place where therapy and subsistence meet.

The barn will serve three functions: to support the Ionia community and farm; to serve as a local center for learning and practicing traditional crafts using local materials (including natural building and organic growing); and to provide an easy, inexpensive pathway for low income people to build their own small home.


Ionia’s Barn is the largest straw/clay building in this country and perhaps the world. It attracts many volunteers interested in Natural Building with inexpensive, locally sourced materials. The breathable straw/clay walls are a radiating heat mass and have three times the R value of log or conventionally insulated buildings. Most of the materials are sourced from Alaska: quality clay from Kasilof and barley straw from Delta Junction, log beams from Kenai, Rocket mass heaters from Kasilof clay and stone, and cedar siding from Prince of Wales Island. Simple natural building techniques are considered therapeutic here at Ionia and we have developed a large mechanized system for the production of straw/clay insulation which can be adapted for many kinds of construction.


The Ionia Barn Project is funded by matching grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Alaska’s state legislature, USDA Rural Development (planning grant) and Paul G Allen Family Foundation as well as generous private donations.