Bulldozer Digging Swales

The Design

We have been invited by a family in Southern Missouri to assist with the design of a 320-acre farm.  They want to transition the land into a permaculture landscape capable of producing a wide range of perennial foods (nuts, vegetables, herbs, fruit, etc.) as well as livestock (beef and goats).

 

Over generations, rain has slowly degraded this sloping landscape with a loss of nutrients and topsoil. It is not uncommon for a million gallons of water to wash off this landscape with a 1-inch rain. Continue reading

Pictures of PDC at Fox Hollow Farm

IMG 20131014 005629 Pictures of PDC at Fox Hollow Farm

Hayden Wilson and Bethany Gardner of Midwest Permaculture

Hi Friends of Midwest Permaculture.

Bill, Ernest, Hayden and I ( Bethany) are at our farming PDC course here at Fox Hollow Farm in Ohio. Bill is doing most of the teaching while the three of us support the delivery of the course along with the Rickard family (the farmers) and staff.

Bill asked me and Hayden to make a brief photo-log of the course and to drop the pictures here into a single blog post.

We’ll break it down into daily selections which we hope will give you an idea of what happens at a typical PDC course along with the unique aspects of this wonderful farming course.  We’re having a great time.

Hope you enjoy…. Bethany 

 

 

Day 1

Students Pictures of PDC at Fox Hollow Farm

On day 1 we toured the farm meeting one of the Rickards horses, Polly. It is a halflinger breed used to pull logs and other heavy items around the farm.

 

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1000+ PDC Graduates

Over the last 7-plus years, Becky and I and our Midwest Permaculture team have hosted 49 PDC Courses.  Course #49 graduated today (July 13, 2014) and with it our 1000th student earned their PDC Certificate.

Midwest Permacultures 49th PDC Course and Student 1000 July 2014 1000+ PDC Graduates

Midwest Permaculture Course #49 — Students Posing on the Hugelkultured Swale They Built — There were people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  Permaculture is appealing to many regardless of political, racial, religious or socioeconomic differences.

As most of you know, Midwest Permaculture was started on a shoestring with the belief that permaculture was an ethical-based design tool that could be applied to most challenges facing us in the 21st century.  We felt that this brilliant approach to creating security and abundance on our planet needed to be shared with the larger culture. Continue reading

Our Webinar Series Delivered Live at the MREA Energy Fair

June 20-22, 2014 — Custer, WI

25thEnergyFairLogo640 Our Webinar Series Delivered Live at the MREA Energy Fair

New This Year… MREA Fair Special.

The Foundations of Permaculture
Webinar Series

…offered live… 

Friday: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Saturday: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 1:00pm

9 Hours Total
Fee: $150 (Portion goes to support the MREA)

Students return home with the Full Webinar Series as well.
(DVD & Text -$195 Value)

An 8-day Completion Training Immediately Follows just 3 Hours down the Road
June 23-30, 2014

Register for the Prescott, WI, PDC Course and receive the webinar series now so you can prepare for the course ahead of time. You can still enjoy the live presentations at the MREA as part of your training free.

Teaching at the MREA Energy Fair Our Webinar Series Delivered Live at the MREA Energy Fair

Click Here to Register

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Season Extenders

Why Season Extenders are part of This Permaculture Design

For those of us who garden in a temperate climate (freezes in winter), we know only too well the disappointment when, for example, our indeterminate tomato plants are full of tomatoes in the fall, they are producing wonderfully, and then the first frost hits. The tomato season is now over and the plants were producing so well for the last 4 weeks.

Now, suppose we created a very simple cold frame or low tunnel to start our tomato plants earlier in the spring so that they had a 4-week earlier start.  That would mean that we would now get 8 weeks of tomatoes by the time the fall frost came calling.  We just doubled our production from 4 to 8 weeks with a little protection in the spring.

But what if we constructed some kind of added protection in the fall as well, before the frost hit, and ended up getting yet another 4 weeks of production?  We just tripled our yield with a little help from our season extenders. 

Our Objective:
To include in this permaculture design a variety of hoop-houses, cold-frames and other frost/wind protection techniques with the goal of increasing our yields while minimizing the work typically required to get those yields.  This is a primary permaculture design principle.

Season Extenders1 Season Extenders

 

Season Extenders Explained

Here is an introduction to various options–some traditional, some creative.

1) Common Seasonal Hoop House

Picture1 Season Extenders Continue reading

Bill to Teach a Farming-Focused PDC in Michigan

Josh and Brian Shultz Bill to Teach a Farming Focused PDC in Michigan

Josh & Brian Shultz

This was a great Course
We are Considering Repeating it in 2015
Please Check our Schedule

Training was May 6 – 13, 2014
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute – Hastings, MI
Start 1-pm May 6 —  End 3-pm May 13

I am very much looking forward to teaching this upcoming PDC with fellow permaculture designers/farmers, Josh and Brian Shultz. Both are Midwest Permaculture PDC Graduates but had been doing advanced permaculture work long before that.

PierceCedarCreek Bill to Teach a Farming Focused PDC in Michigan

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Starting off however, the training, meals and lodging will be hosted at the beautiful PCC Institute.  Be sure to check out these pictures of this wonderful location.

While there, we will learn about the work they are doing on behalf of the environment and how they are teaching ‘care of earth’ to school students and the general public.  The people at PCCI are walking the talk every day.  We will be in great hands and at a great location for this training.

Bill and Bloomingdale the cat Bill to Teach a Farming Focused PDC in Michigan

Me (Bill) with Bloomingdale the cat.

And when it is time to get out of the classroom and learn by doing and seeing I will be taking everyone over to Josh and Brian’s combined endeavors, Fair Lake Farm and Cedar Creek Permaculture Farm (see picture summary below).  They have both done amazing work in various fields and I know that as students, you will be learning a great deal by examining what they have accomplished and are planning to do.

To be clear, since this will be a PDC course I will be teaching the full PDC Curriculum including urban, suburban and residential permaculture applications.  We will be looking at how to design for various climates and for unusual circumstances.

Students will also be invited to bring their own design projects for we will set aside an entire evening to do nothing but explore the real-life design challenges of those who have a specific project.  Not everyone will or is expected to bring a project but we will all learn by exploring those projects that are brought to the table.  This is going to be a fabulous training and I am looking forward to meeting many new permaculture minds and hearts.

Continue reading

Chris Marron’s Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System

Permaculture Greenhouse
A Friend of ours has been working on this greenhouse design for several years. We wanted to share it with others visiting our website.
What do you think? Is this a ‘Permaculture’ greenhouse?

Overview  –   Description -   Profit Potential Flow Chart (PDF)

Chris Marron’s…… 

Perpetual Harvest
Greenhouse System

 Overview by Bill Wilson

 Chris Marrons Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System
Chris

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Permaculture Jobs

Permaculture Jobs -
Creating a Secure Future

How to Approach Securing Satisfying Work

Investing years of study and large amounts of money towards college degrees in our institutions of higher learning hold less and less of a guarantee of future employment, income or satisfying work.

Learning practical life and people skills may not make someone rich, but they will make them a valued and treasured part of most families, neighborhoods and communities.

So, what activities are required to create a sustainable culture?
Below is the list of activities, occupations and design approaches that David Holmgren believes will be critical in the foreseeable future if we are to maintain some sort of familiar way of living, but a way of living that is sustainable for future generations too. Continue reading

Closing Wishes for 2013

December 31, 2013

Year End Greetings….

 Closing Wishes for 2013It has been a very full (fulfilling) year for us at Midwest Permaculture. So much so, that I have not been able to communicate in these emails on a monthly basis as I have done in the past and I miss that. It is my intention to do a better job of keeping those of you who are interested updated as our project of ‘leaving the planet in better condition than we found it’ continues to unfold. Midwest Permaculture, as of today, has just completed its 7th year and we have hosted 45 PDC courses over this time.  We loved every single one of them and look forward to many more as the people who take these courses are some of the most wonderful on the planet today.  Continue reading

Year-Round Greenhouse

Why A Year-Round Greenhouse is part of This Permaculture Design

It doesn’t take much for those of us in temperate climate zones to imagine the allure for year-round greenhouses. Fresh tomatoes in January are compelling! A more controlled and protected environment in spring, summer and fall has real advantages as well.  And from a small business perspective, what if we could produce enough fresh produce for ourselves and a handful of our neighbors 52 weeks of the year?

In a good permaculture design for an urban residence, a homestead or a farm, the first thing we seek to accomplish is the efficient storage of summer crops through root cellaring, drying, fermentation and other forms of preserving.  But once we accomplish this… few things beat fresh produce in the middle of winter. 

To get this done we need to design for the two major demands of plants that are in short supply during the winter months: heat and light

Permaculture Greenhouse Year Round Greenhouse

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