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.

When we first started offering PDC courses in 2006-2007, there were only a handful of other courses,  books and videos offered in the entire US.  Today, there is a bountiful abundance of  all including a growing number of experienced permaculturists sharing their wisdom, design skills and teaching abilities.   This is really good news.

Bill with PDC Course Students and Now Teachers 300x210 1000+ PDC Graduates

Bill at the MREA Energy Fair With Our Students Who are Now Teaching Too

In 2004 we offered our first workshop on the subject of permaculture at the MREA Energy Fair up in Custer, WI.  The fair offers over 200 workshops on sustainable topics over a three-day period each year.   Since then the number of permaculture workshops has risen.  This year we counted over 30 permaculture workshops listed and over half of those were offered by us or by graduates of ours.  This is really good news as well.

Though the word ‘permaculture’ is not a household word yet, it is becoming more known in the greater culture.  There are mainstream horticulturists, gardeners and farmers who are starting to embrace permaculture thinking and designing as a  clear alternative to many of the established methods of growing.  The results of permaculturally designed plant systems are providing demonstrative yields without pollution and degradation to soil and land.

At a recent PDC course we taught up in Prescott, WI, we had 3 people who had earned their PhD’s  and another 3 with their Masters Degree.  We also had householders, retirees, college students, teachers and a motorcycle mechanic.  All got along beautifully and enjoyed their training immensely. 

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Young Penny – 2 Months Old

Permaculture is the great equalizing language that cuts across so many divisions in our culture.  If you are a person that cares about other people, about the condition of our planet, and about the future, then it matters little the reasons or the way you have come to those values.

In the same course we can have students of opposite political and religious views, different ethnic, social and economic backgrounds, and people of all ages.  Together we quickly find the common ground of what it is we need to do to live abundantly well while also leaving the planet in better condition than when we arrived on it.

At the Prescott PDC Course we had a young father who asked if his wife and new baby daughter could join us.  Certainly.  Penny’s mom would whisk her up if she started to get noisy but otherwise she was a very welcomed part of the training.  Everyone felt Penny added a valuable dimension to the course.  I was not able to grant her a PDC Certificate as she slept through almost all of my lectures (if you can believe that) but I very much hope to see her in a future PDC Course in about 15 years.  I expect to be here.

Cheers…. Bill Wilson

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

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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 Back

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.

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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

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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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Old Greenhouse into Multi-Purpose Structure

Originally constructed as an industrial sized greenhouse, this structure has been exposed and empty for the last 30 years. Located in the CSC apple orchard, it had been a popular roosting site for our orchard turkeys. Unfortunately for them we were determined to get some use out of the Buckminster Fuller inspired geodesic frame.

IMG 6445 Old Greenhouse into Multi Purpose Structure Continue reading

EarthCamp Village

Why ‘EarthCamp’ Village is part of This Permaculture Design

In William McDonough’s book, Cradle-to-Cradle, he talks about the importance for us as humans to reexamine the way we build our homes and other structures/buildings.  The big question is, how much waste and pollution is generated while building, maintaining and finally demolishing our structures?  It is about 40% of the entire waste stream of “civilized” cultures.

Our objective in building EarthCamp Village is to see how close we can get to creating structures that last a very-long time but create and generate very-little waste or CO2.

Intern Village EarthCamp Village


Timber Framing Done EarthCamp Village Aug.2013 640x426 EarthCamp Village

The timber framing for the cob cabin is up…!!!   The first structure for EarthCamp Village

Click Here for Picture Summary of the Building of Earth-Shelter #1

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