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DIY Super-Clean Composting Toilet System

Completely Minimize the Odors…!

After doing much of the same research that many of you have probably done, and after working with a half-dozen different systems (some top name over-the-counter), we always ran into something that made the process either disgusting or problematic. 

As we solved these challenges one at a time, we developed a new system that incorporated the best of others’ ideas along with our own trouble-shooting solutions. Here are…

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Simple Mills Supports Regenerative/Permaculture Farmers

While attending an agroforestry conference recently, Bill was pleasantly surprised to learn that Simple Mills was being referenced as a cutting-edge business doing “all the right things” to encourage environmentally sound, regenerative agriculture.

Katlin Smith – Founder and CEO of Simple Mills

Two years earlier, Simple Mills founder Katlin Smith, was a student in one of our week-long Permaculture Design Courses when the lightbulb moment happened for her!

Buying ‘certified organic’ for her company’s food products was no longer enough. She wanted to support the health of the planet by supporting farmers who not only refuse to use herbicides and pesticides on our food plants, but she also wanted to support farmers who were building topsoil health, holding more water in their soils, caring for wildlife and watersheds, caring for farming communities, and caring for future generations.

She made a decision right then and returned to the Simple Mills corporate offices with a mandate:

Let’s find and buy our food stuffs from regenerative/permaculture farmers. And if we can’t find them, let’s help create them!

Katlin visiting one or her new Regenerative/Permaculture farmers who is embracing new farming methods, and in return, earning the guarantee-purchase-contracts Simple Mills is offering.

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Building of Permaculture Earth-Shelter Cabin

Picture Summary: Clay-slip Straw Cabin Build

The cabin is available for overnight stays through our HipCamp listing. Enjoy the cabin and visit this Midwest Permaculture design site at CSC in Stelle, IL. Tours available.

Our First Cabin is Done – Completed 2020
We guided the design and construction of the first of several cabins on the CSC’s 8.7 acre design project. The cabins are part of a long-term sustainability plan for this land.

Why is it called an ‘Earth Shelter?’  Because it is made from the earth right beneath our feet here, just 50′ from the cabin. Continue reading “Building of Permaculture Earth-Shelter Cabin”

Bending Oak PDC Picture Summary

Jas showing fellow students propagation techniques

This past June of 2021, we presented our first in-person PDC in over a year. It was an intimate course of 8 compared to the 24 person online courses we had been administering over the winter and spring. The change of pace was wonderful. We had the joy of hosting this course at Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, and I think the functionally and beautifully designed environment there made the experience even more impactful.

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Pond Muck Berm Project

Building Raised Beds on Contour
When our community pond became stagnant from silt runoff and the build-up of plant detritus over 40 years, it needed some serious rehabilitation and excavation. In 2018 we hired a contractor to help us with the job (a nearby friend and neighbor of the community) but what to do with all of the muck?  Not knowing how much muck there would be we marked off two long contour lines in the field above the pond and had them dump truck-load after truck-load along side of our markers.
The goal? To build raised beds on contour. 

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Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, Design-Element Permaculture Posters

We recently visited a long-term project of ours, Bending Oak Permaculture farm in Youngstown, Ohio. We have been designing and implementing for this demonstrative site for over seven years, and to see it transform from a plot of barren land into an abundant, regenerative ecosystem has been incredibly rewarding.

To help share what we are creating and learning with others, we set up an 18-Stop Self-guided Tour with posters like this at each point.

Click on Poster to View in Full Resolution – 8 More detailed posters in this post below.
Here is a quick look at the map you will find at the Welcome Center at Bending Oak, Youngstown, OH. Check out the Bending Oak website to learn about the tours, workshops and overnight accommodations.

We created these Design-Element Permaculture (DEP) Posters to explain the inner workings of the farm. Read more to learn about Bending Oak and why we created these posters. Continue reading “Bending Oak Permaculture Farm, Design-Element Permaculture Posters”

Living Woven-Willow Brush Fence

Another Experiment at Midwest Permaculture
How one can attractively store woody brush to give it time to break down.

Our intern Meg trimming some of the new growth off the austree-willow posts in this willow-brush fence.

Hello permaculture friends. We wanted to give something a try. We have not seen this exact design in the literature or on YouTube (although it certainly could be out there) but the idea is to use our yard brush while also building a sturdy fence. Continue reading “Living Woven-Willow Brush Fence”