I want to poke a stick at spending thousands on an earthbag building workshop. For that same money you could do all of the following:
– learn carpentry fundamentals and basic wiring and plumbing through websites, library books and videos;
– buy several books;
– volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and weekend natural building wall raisings in your area (locate with these websites);
– read as much as you can on the Internet: free earthbag Articles;
– take an earth plaster workshop if there’s one nearby (do a Google search);
– build a storage shed and experiment with various techniques;
– talk to people who have already built their house;
– watch free Internet videos;
– start a scrap book of pictures and ideas clipped from design magazines to help visualize your dream home.
This is not intended to put down or denigrate workshops. I’ve heard good things about all of them. But earthbag building is supposed to be low cost and user friendly. Spending thousands of dollars and traveling long distances (burning fuel and time) kind of defeats the whole point in my opinion. The weak link among do-it-yourselfers is not how to fill bags with dirt, but rather on carpentry fundamentals – setting and sealing doors and windows, keeping everything plumb, level, straight and square. This is what I recommend focusing on.