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, businesses, 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 35 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 for more on Stelle)
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, there have always been two fundamental questions in the back of our minds:
- Is there not a way that we as humans, all humans, can live abundantly well on this planet without polluting, consuming or degrading it?
- 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.
Two decades ago we were introduced to The Permaculture Activist Magazine (now called ‘Permaculture Design Magazine‘) 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 since then precious little has left our property.
Since we stated Midwest Permaculture we have been transforming our lot into a permaculture home. We feel that we still have a good distance to go before we arrive at a high level of demonstration, production and beauty, but we are learning as we go and so too are many of our students when they come and take a PDC with us here in Stelle. The walk of our yard is always an enlightening journey and not just for students. Some of our students bring their own insights to us as well.
Here is a photo summary of our permaculture-yard transformation over the first 10 years. Our design includes rain gardens, berms, plant guilds and our 425 gallon rain tank.
A Bit About You – Our Future Students
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 potentially unpopular solutions. In their family or circles they are often the ‘odd one’, the ‘black sheep’, the ‘tree hugger’.
If this describes you then we think you will likely enjoy a training with us. If you never take one of our trainings we wish to thank you for being who you are anyway. It will take a lot of us to see through the changes that need to come about.
Bill & Becky Wilson
15th Year – 85+ PDC Courses – 1650+ Graduates
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.”
– – – – –
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“For what is the use of a house,
If you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
Henry David Thoreau
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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.
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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
– Henry David Thoreau
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The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.
– Masanobu Fukuoka
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“Lord, help me be the person my dog thinks I am.”
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“All men were made brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. ”
“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”
– Chief Joseph
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We have four children (all sons – and all grown now) and six grandchildren. It has been a delight to raise our family in the arms of the supportive community of Stelle. It has definitely been a living foundation for the understanding of just what a permanent-culture (permaculture) could be like. The work of Midwest Permaculture is in honor of our friends, family, neighbors and students 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 located in the NE portion of Illinois, in farming country, about half way between Chicago and Champaign/Urbana. The vision of the community was to experiment with the creation of a more aware, loving and positive culture.
As with most beginning-intentional communities, holding the vision and talking about a more-ideal culture 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), the early residents of Stelle decided to end the closed-intentionality of the 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 a solar-powered community wide WiFi system), a windmill-assisted fresh-water treatment facility, Illinois’ first straw-bale home, probably the first clay-slip constructed cabin, and more.
If you would like to know more about the community, visit our community website:
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Stelle. It’s fairly accurate even though it talks more about the early days of Stelle (irrelevant now) rather than what is here now.