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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2022 Course Schedule is Released!

Now that we have our course schedule finalized for 2022, we wanted to share a little highlight of what taking a Permaculture Design Certificate course with us is really like.

We believe there is much more to permaculture than what is in the designer’s manual. As its founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren stressed, the initial concept of permaculture was meant to expand, and over the years there have been great strides in exploring what can be accomplished by designing human systems with the ethics of permaculture at the base of our intent. Continue reading “2022 Course Schedule is Released!”

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”

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”

Tribute to Larry Korn

Larry Korn 1948-2019
Free Webinar posted as a Tribute to Larry

We are saddened by the recent passing of our friend, Larry Korn. He is best known for being the translator/editor of one of the most influential books to touch the lives of scores of natural farmers and permaculturists,  The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Why is this book so influential?
The Middle East and Northern Africa were once very fertile areas. With widespread annual tilling/plowing, a civilization will always end up losing it’s topsoil and become arid. One-half of the topsoil has now be washed away on the North American continent. The One-Straw Revolution shows us how annual grain growing can be done without tillage so that we can grow food WHILE building topsoil!

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Permaculture Design for Community Garden Project

The folks at Smart Farm in Barrington, IL, invited us to work with them on a permaculture design for a new 10-acre parcel they were gifted with.

The biggest challenge?  This was the low ground in the area and after a good rain, 5 of the 10 acres was under water, including many of their annual gardening beds.

So we designed in some rain gardens and bioswales to move the water in the direction we wanted through the property. Once the deep rooted prairie plants are established we will actually end up holding more water on the land while also keeping their annual beds dryer. Here is the conceptual design. We’ll post the ‘as-built’ design once it’s completed.

Click Here for Full View / Higher Resolution

Permaculture Work-traders Finish EarthShelter

It has been a real boon to have Embry Jansen and Sky Pisarski assisting us over the past couple of weeks as permaculture work-traders.  They are trading their time for one of our upcoming PDC courses. They have been assisting us with a wide variety of unfinished activities related to our CSC 8.7-acre Permaculture Land Project here in Stelle.

The Team
Work-Trade Intern team of Sky and Embry
Our 2019 Permaculture Work-Trade Intern Team: Sky (seated) from Northern Illinois and Embry from Berea, KY.
The Challenge – Mortar in the Patio Limestones

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