About Midwest Permaculture
The purpose of our work is to support the transition of our society
from a culture of consumption,
into a culture of creation.
Our work as permaculture teachers is to guide our students in how to develop the observational skills, the knowledge, and the practical information to create sustainable gardens, homes, landscapes, farms, relationships, and communities – in essence – how to develop a more permanent-culture.
We explore how we as humans and designers can provide all of the goods and services we need to live abundantly well — and do it in such a way that we leave the planet in better condition than we arrived on it. If each successive generation had left the planet in better condition, we would be living in a very amazing world today.
Why We Have Chosen to make Permaculture our Life
Midwest Permaculture appears to be the culmination of our life’s work — of everything we hold dear and have been working on for over 30 years.
We are Becky and Bill Wilson and have lived in the small and somewhat unique community of Stelle, IL, over these years. (see below)
What gets us out of bed in the morning is the desire to do our part to create a world, or a culture, that we know is possible. A culture that cares for people and the planet as one in the same.
In our small town, the two of us have started or been involved in numerous cooperatives and have served in just about every capacity possible – school committees, community government, event coordinators, community planners, not-for-profit board members, gardeners, teachers, and more.
The experience and insights about life, people and community that we have gained from this volunteer service has far outweighed our time and energy invested.
For us, the fundamental questions have always been,,,
Is there not a way that we as humans, all humans, can live abundantly well on this planet without polluting, consuming or degrading it?
And can we find a way to peacefully coexist while we co-create this culture?
Through our life work, and as importantly, through our study of permaculture we have answered these questions for ourselves with a resounding YES…!!!
It is this clarity that motivated us to start Midwest Permaculture in Jan. 2007.
20 years ago we were introduced to The Permaculture Activist Magazine (thank you Peter Bane and Keith Johnson) and in it Becky read an article about a woman who made the decision to never let a leaf, a twig, a branch or any grass clippings leave her property. That was her organic matter and she was going to turn all of it into humus to help nurture her soil and thus, to be able to grow more healthy food. Becky took this to heart and for 20 years now, nothing has left our property.
Over the last 7 years we have begun to transform our lot into a permaculture home. We feel that we still have a good distance to go before we arrive at a reasonable level of sustainability, but many are learning from our own experience and touring our yard is a key event during out trainings.
Here are some photos of our permaculture yard transformation in the early years. These include rain gardens, berms and our 425 gallon rain tank.
It is our experience that by the time a person has begun to look into permaculture, at what it is, and at what its possibilities are, that person has already gone through some measure of meaningful transition in their own life.
The culture we are surrounded by does not reward someone for looking into alternatives to the status quo. Many who take our trainings are individuals who are willing to look outside the box, to ask the more difficult questions, and are willing to look at the unpopular solutions. In their family or circles they are often the ‘odd one’, the ‘black sheep’, the ‘tree hugger’.
If this describes you, then Welcome…! We thank you for being who you are.
Bill & Becky Wilson
Some of our Favorite Quotes…
“The significant problems we face today
cannot be solved
at the same level of thinking we were at
when we created them.”
- – - – -
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.”
- – - – -
“For what is the use of a house,
If you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
Henry David Thoreau
- – - – -
for the awakening of a new reverence for life,
the firm resolve to achieve sustainability,
the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace,
and the joyful celebration of life.
Closing words from the Earth Charter…
- – - – -
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
Henry David Thoreau
We have four children (all sons – and all grown now) and four young grandchildren. It has been a delight to raise our family in the arms of the supportive community of Stelle. It has definitely been a base for the understanding of just what a permanent-culture (permaculture) is all about. The work of Midwest Permaculture is in honor of our friends, family, and neighbors who are willing to ask and pursue the important questions in life.
|A Bit About Stelle, Illinois
Stelle (rhymes with ‘well’) started as an intentional community in the early 70’s and is located in the NE portion of Illinois, about half way between Chicago and Champaign/Urbana.
As with most beginning-intentional communities, the vision of creating an ideal community and talking about it proved to be much easier than the actual creation of it. After 10-years of much work and some struggle (some fabulous experiences and times as well), we as a community decided to end the closed, intentionality of our community and in 1982 we opened our doors to anyone who wanted to live here. Our governing body is a board of directors elected from the residents. Our community is now a simple homeowners’ association.
So since 1982, Stelle has simply been a small town that anyone can live in.
Over all these years however there have always been some portion of the community interested in diverse aspects of sustainable living. Because of this and because of the advantages of being a small community (pop. 110), the efforts of 2-3 dozen active residents has resulted in an organic garden co-op, community tool co-op, a dinner co-op, a solar-powered telephone company (which includes solar-powered, community wide WiFi), a windmill-assisted fresh-water treatment facility, Illinois’ first straw-bale home, and more.
Stelle Wind Generator
If you would like to know more about the community, visit our community website:
Stelle Community Association
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Stelle. It’s fairly accurate really even though it talks more about the early days of Stelle (irrelevant now) rather than what is here now.