Essential Permaculture Weekend Training
Designed with Transition in Mind                                                  Pricing & Schedule Below

Why we Created this Training
The standard 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course is an excellent training, yet it does require a substantial commitment in time (8-14 days) and resources.

Our 2-day  Essential Permaculture training shares some of the basics of the PDC course and gives participants a start in the concepts of permaculture design along with practical & useful ideas for everyday application.

Our goal is for students to leave this training seeing the world through a new pair of eyes and possessing the confidence, know-how and inspiration to begin their own projects. 

Trainings Hosted at Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL, tour Bill and Becky’s Permaculture Yard

Our Permaculture Students are of All Ages and All Walks of Life

What is Covered over these Two Days?
- What Permaculture is All About.
- How to Minimize Work, Increase Beauty and Yields, Restore the Environment.
- A Handful of Permaculture Projects & Ideas for Home, Farmette, Apartment and/or Neighborhood.
- Using Permaculture Thinking to Transition our Towns.

- The foundations of permaculture living and thinking
- The jobs and business opportunities of the future
- The heart of creating authentic community
- And some of the best permaculture projects we know…such as:

  • Rain gardens
  • Rain tanks
  • Grey water harvesting techniques
  • Digging swales
  • Growing food on concrete, on rooftops, in our yards and in apartments
  • Backyard aquaponics systems
  • Simple greenhouse ideas
  • Hugelkultur
  • Energy generation from biomass
  • And more.

Come Away With:
Besides a deeper understanding of permaculture, we will provide a generous number of handouts and links that will assist in anchoring the training and help to facilitate one’s continuing education.

Permaculture Aquaponics Learn about Backyard and Apartment Sized Aquaponics Systems

We feel that this 2-day training is our most comprehensive, insightful, and practical introduction to permaculture yet.

It was also created for those involved in Transition Town Initiatives so that they might better understand the foundations of the movement.

This training is for those who want to deeply understand this life affirming way of thinking and designing in as short a time period as possible. This will certainly be a concentrated learning experience.

Essential Permaculture Weekend Training May 2013 at Stelle

Essential Permaculture Weekend in Stelle – Folks from Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois – May 2013



Picture Summaries – Previous Trainings

Kalamazoo – August 2012

Chicago – Lake Shore Drive – October 2011

Omaha – February 2011



Lead Instructor – Bill Wilson
Bill is the lead instructor and permaculture designer for Midwest Permaculture.

As cofounders of Midwest Permaculture with his wife/partner Becky have hosted over 45 PDC courses and many other shorter trainings.

Bill and Becky have lived the last 35 years in a sustainably oriented community, and have been intimately involved in its daily life and in its various transitions.

More on Bill


“My mind has been working overtime thinking about permaculture! I have learned so much this weekend. I will use it the rest of my life.  Thank You Bill…!!!”

Ashleigh B. of Detroit

Additional Trainers

Milton Dixon of Midwest Permaculture
Milton Dixon

Milton Dixon holds a PDC and an Advanced Training certificate in Teaching Permaculture.  Besides being Midwest Permaculture’s tech support, he is an avid urban permaculturist.  If we’re lucky, he will share some of his homemade wine with us.   More on Milton…

Becky Wilson is co-founder of Midwest Permaculture and will offer her insights throughout the week. She is the lead designer for the Midwest Permaculture’s property (our home), has her PDC & Teacher Training certificate, and is active in community and the Transition Town Initiative.   More on Becky…

Becky Wilson of Midwest PermacultureBecky Wilson

“I want to thank you. I came looking to learn something new and I went away changed. I think about permaculture a lot now.”

Bill K., Naperville, IL

A Great Book

Gaia’s Garden

The New Edition by Toby Hemenway

(Handed out at the Training – Included as Part of Tuition)

Toby does a great job on explaining the basics of permaculture, especially as it relates to suburban and urban landscapes.

Gaia’s Garden goes into great detail on specific permaculture techniques, such as: organizing your garden in to “zones”, creating and maintaining your fertile soil, and explanations about companion planting and permaculture plant guilds.

It is one of our favorite permaculture books.

Gaia's Garden

Other Details about the Essential Permaculture Training

The details about each specific training can be found in the descriptions at the bottom of this page, but in general, one can expect a classroom/auditorium learning environment that includes presentations, videos, exercises and discussion.

Lunch may or may not be provided. See the individual training description below. If it is included, we will attempt to source the food from local farmers/vendors.

How to Prepare?
There are no prerequisites for the training.  Any interested in permaculture will benefit from this training.  Students will receive a few study materials sent via email a couple of weeks before the training.


Typical Weekend Schedule
For Public Trainings
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Sunday:   9am – 3pm
Training Fee: See Individually Posted Trainings
Typical Weekday Schedule
Businesses or Organizations
Day 1: 9-4
Day 2: 9-4
Training Fee: Contact for Quote


$100 Credit Towards a PDC Training
Should a student of this “Essential Permaculture” weekend decide to take a Midwest Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course at some point, they will receive a $100 credit toward the training of their choice. This credit is good for up to three years.


Price of Training – $195 +/-
The price may vary from training to training (see each scheduled training below) but in general this is a $195 training which includes:
- pre-training study materials (not too much);
- a copy of Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway, handed out at the training;
- access to valuable post-training resources;
- and possibly lunch on both days.

There are often early registration discounts too. See individual trainings.


Further Details …

Why This Training?
Our world cities and suburbs are drivers.  Not only are they the major consumer of the worlds goods, thus driving our current-world economies, they are also the collecting place of genius, creativity, science, the arts, education and more. Our cities and suburbs have value and advantages but they are also incredibly dependent upon support from the outside.  Except for the air and sun, possibly water, almost every other need is generated and collected elsewhere and brought into the cities and suburbs, everything from food, to clothing, to building materials, to power, to transportation…everything.  Within the coming generation (coming years possibly) the imbalances we have created in the world economies, the supply systems and the natural world will become even more apparent, more immediate. There are stresses everywhere in our culture with peak oil, peak water, peak soil and climate change pushing us even more.

Bottom Line
The time has arrived for us as urban dwellers to build some resiliency back into our communities.  As a culture we have become de-skilled on a monumental basis.  100 years ago everyone knew how to grow food – today it is likely less than 10% of us.  What we must have to live securely is good food, clean water and enough energy for heating and cooling (for ourselves, our homes, our food). And whether we know it or not, we need each other too. We need community… an authentic connection with each other.

How Permaculture Fits In
Permaculture is about relationship – our relationship to everything and everyone around us.  It is a design approach to creating living systems that mimic the patterns found in nature.  One idea is to integrate the surrounding natural areas with our homes, apartments and other buildings — to produce an abundance of food, shelter, energy and other services with a minimum of work.

Once a permaculturally designed system is set up and functioning, the effort involved to maintain it should feel more like recreation then work.

But permaculture thinking looks even deeper than the physical world.  It looks at how we relate to one another in community.  Do our relationships with each other create cooperation and sharing, or competition and separation? One produces long term contentment and security, the other, not.

Who is this Training For?
This two day training is designed to make available to the everyday suburban or urban dweller a solid understanding of permaculture design and techniques so that they can implement this life enhancing knowledge into their immediate and local surroundings.

Even Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are taught to leave a campsite in better condition than when they found it.  As a culture, imagine if every generation left their part of the world in better condition than they found it.

Is it Possible?
This is not hard to do.  This training will make that perfectly clear.  We can create a culture and a way of living on this planet that is bountiful rather than consumptive, that creates healthy soil, water and air instead of pollution, that creates beauty everywhere instead of just a few places.

We can live in abundance while still improving the planet for future generations.  That is what this training is all about.  How do we learn to observe what is truly going on?  How do we use the natural abundance that surrounds us to provide for our needs?  How do we do it in such a way as to create no pollution or waste?

We can create abundance, beauty and healthfulness everywhere on the planet and for everyone.  It all comes down to desire and design.

Think of the amazing things we as humans have created with our science and technology in the last few generations.  We have gone from the horse and buggy to space travel.  There is no reason that we cannot use the same creativity and ingenuity to redesign the way we supply or food, water, clothing, buildings, education, health care, and more.

And even better, permaculture is relatively simple and based on common sense.  It’s not rocket science.

And it is work that we as individuals can do, and do now.  We can be the change.

Bill Wilson
Midwest Permaculture


“This training was like a breath of fresh air. I knew that there had to be a way out of the energy and societal challenges before us, and now I see it.
Very inspiring and hopeful…!”

Cathy P.

“Essential Permaculture” Trainings

Trainings will be Posted as they are Scheduled

Please Check Back


Picture Summary of Kalamazoo Weekend – Aug.2012



“The big picture, loads of ideas,
and the community piece of permaculture were all covered.  
I am so inspired.  Thank you Bill and Becky.” 
- Kathy T.

Picture Summary of Chicago Weekend Along Lake Shore Drive – Oct.2011


To receive notice of these trainings as they are scheduled,
Sign-up for our Monthly Educational Emails