The Last Resort

Photos by David Hoffman, Jim Wilson, Todd Selby, Jo Farb Hernández and Emily Hagopian.

Please tell your friends and neighbors.  Support preservation of The Last Resort.

After decades of tacit county approval for the artistic and innovative building practices at The Last Resort––and despite the Marin County Architectural Commission unanimously voting a “designation of architectural significance for the site in its totality, including all 36 structures, to preserve its intrinsic artistic value as a site of local importance to the history and culture of unincorporated Marin County” –– The Last Resort is now threatened with demolition.

The Last Resort is the last remaining integrated ecological environment, all others having already been destroyed or taken down.  Since 2012 Marin County has been aggressively seeking to take down David’s visionary innovations.  At the County’s request the Marin County Superior Court appointed a receiver to oversee the property, and on May 21, 2021, the Judge overseeing the case, Hon. Paul M. Haakenson, issued an order instructing the receiver to secure sales of The Last Resort to “a buyer acceptable to the County.”   Although David has been challenging the validity of the May 21 Order through the court system, there is a substantial risk that the County and its receiver will soon be able to raze the site, resulting in permanent loss of David’s art, architecture and integrated ecological environment.

“We feel that David is a visionary who, during the past 40 years, has created solutions to climate change issues that we face as a global community. These solutions lie in the very structures and systems that stand to be destroyed if the Commission’s unanimous ruling continues to be discounted or ignored. We believe the demolition of his work would severely endanger the health, safety, beauty and tranquility of Marin County – and the potential for large-scale solutions that David’s innovation provides.”

Please support the future of The Last Resort by regularly checking our blog or following us on social media, where we will post calls to action when needed.

The mission of THE LAST RESORT in Lagunitas, California, is to discover and perfect sustainable environmental solutions for waste management, water reuse, and food security.

THE LAST RESORT is a unique architectural wonder – a self-sustaining amalgam of over 25 highly original structures known for their beauty and functionality. For over 40 years, David Lee Hoffman has built and designed a series of handcrafted structures utilizing high quality recycled materials. His peaceful village-like compound reflects the natural world and is ‘built to last for centuries’. He has incorporated the use of stone, masonry, wood, bamboo, and earth in his construction that has been influenced by years of traveling the world. “It’s an important and significant example of east-west Folk Art” according to sustainable architect Sim Van der Ryn, who was appointed California State Architect by California Governor Jerry Brown, and is on the architecture faculty at the University of California Berkeley. Many consider this work to be a one of a kind quintessential ‘living history’ – a testimony to the do-it-yourself, back to the land, respect Mother Earth ethos of the 1960’s put into practice.

In the spirit of “waste is not waste until it’s wasted”, THE LAST RESORT is an environmental model of sustainable and harmonious living. It attempts to assimilate both natural methods from the past with modern know-how to create a living system that effectively demonstrates possibilities of thriving in a non-polluting healthy environment. Its mission is to discover and perfect practical low-cost sustainable methods for waste management, water re-use, and food security.

To this end, a unique INTEGRATED BIO-MANAGEMENT SYSTEM has been successfully developed. Visionary use of vermiculture, composting, and healthy grey water systems have produced a valuable fertilizer to create superior soil and grow high grade organic food. Many useful discoveries and insights have emerged along the way that indeed may prove very beneficial in our challenged changing world.


The Grey Water System – It all starts and ends in the kitchen. The journey begins at the kitchen sink. All wash/waste water, and small food scraps go down the drain and, by gravity, enter THE WORM PALACE —a continuous feeding system for vermicompostitng and bio-filtration of household organic waste and recycling. The “PALACE” itself is a small self- contained environment which contains a rich community of life (emphasis on earthworms Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellus and a host of other micro- and macro- organisms) designed to bio-digest the solid food and filter the ‘waste’ water. What results is the creation of ‘nature’s finest fertilizer’– i.e. wormcasts, as well as healthy nutritious life-giving water. The water that comes out and goes into the upper moat is now chock full of life giving nutrients. This is evidenced by the richness of the flora growing directly out of the water in the moat, even without the presence of soil, as well as the myriad of critters that live and thrive in this environment (frogs, salamanders, snakes,water beetles, dragonflies, birds, etc).

The water then leaves the upper moat through a micro- wetland into the lower moat system. At the opposite end of the lower moat is the Solar Power Shower Tower where the shower water filters through another bio-wetland filter and ultimately merges with the kitchen sink water. Finally it enters a large holding tank, after passing through, yet another bio-filter, where the water is stored until needed for garden use, fruit tree irrigation, and for the chickens. And the cycle is completed by harvesting the delicious nutritious food and eggs to be prepared in the kitchen! All this is accomplished without the use of electricity plus the physical environment celebrates beauty and a reverence for life giving life. And it’s a joy.

THE LAST RESORT has been written about in many publications including the New York Times and NBC News. THE LAST RESORT has inspired visitors from all over the world to go forth with new hope and to participate in creating positive environmental solutions.