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 “Permaculture Jobs”
It 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 “Closing Wishes for 2013”
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.
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.
Click Here for Picture Summary of the Building of Earth-Shelter #1
Ground breaking has begun for EarthCamp Village which is part of our 8.7 acre permaculture design for Center for Sustainable Community here in Stelle, IL. We started working on Earth-Shelter #1 on July 15, 2013. All updates related to this one cabin will be posted here. Feel free to leave messages, ideas or comments. Let’s learn about this together.
I’d like to invite you to take a walk with me around our yard at Midwest Permaculture. None of these plants existed 5 years ago when we started experimenting with perennial plants, trees and shrubs.
And all off this was produced with almost NO WORK on our part this year!!!
Other than caring for the general area, the plants surrounding these productive crops are doing the majority of the work of keeping ‘weeds’ down, fertilizing the area and holding in moisture.
We are really experiencing the benefits and yields of permaculture designing with the use of perennial plants!
10 Perennial Crops at Midwest Permaculture – July 2013
1 – Peach
Above is one of 4 peach trees we have on our property. The tree is locate on the back of a berm that we constructed which holds overflow water from our rain tank and side yard. With little extra watering it has grown to this size in 3 years. It was a two year tree when we planted it. We had to knock off half of the peaches this year because there were just too many but we estimate there are still 300 on this one tree. The peaches should be ripe and ready to pick soon.
While the city of Chicago was shutting down due to too much rain last week just 60 miles north of us, the swales, ponds, berms and rain gardens we have put in around our home and in Stelle did their job of filling up and holding water back from the creeks. Over several days they will slowly release that water into the water table rather than let it run down into our creeks and rivers all at once.
Is taking a Permaculture Course Worth It? When I think back on my own experiences of taking a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) and look at the knowledge, skills and path that I am now on as a result, I would have to say that taking a permaculture course is absolutely a worthwhile experience. It has propelled me to where I am today and I would highly recommend it to most anyone.
First it’s useful to step back for a moment and look at the larger picture. When we take the systems that are available in the mainstream today for providing for ourselves , we can easily recognize that they are not caring for the planet, people, or the future. In fact, the situation is getting worse. These systems which manifest as the standard strategies for providing for oneself — such as going to college, getting a job, buying a house, driving a car and even shopping for necessary items — are breaking down. The price of college far outpaces inflation and for most isn’t an option without taking on crushing student debt. The economy is shedding jobs, manufacturing has followed cheap labor across the seas, government and business are paring down to the bone, and millions are unemployed and have given up looking for work. The housing market has crashed and threatens to collapse much further with the inventory of empty homes that no one can afford. The price of owning a car is climbing, with gasoline alone tripling in price in the last decade. Long supply chains, easily disrupted, bring us all the things around us, most of it is unnecessary junk or designed to fail in less than two years. The quality and safety of our food is highly doubtful. And the list goes on.
What is needed is not to trash the systems that are still providing for us, but instead to enable each person to establish other systems capable of taking up the slack, ensure that they are ethical, resilient, robust, and that most of all they meet the needs of people without being a detriment to the planet or the future. This is where the Permaculture Design Course comes in.
My name is Russell Thompson; I was born in the United Arab Emirates (that’s in the Middle East) with Spina Bifida (a birth defect that causes spinal cord malformation). The doctors there didn’t treat infants until they were three months old, so they told my parents they would leave me in a corner to die, but I believe and was always told that God had other plans for me, and so did my parents. My father’s company arranged our flight out of there and we arrived in Texas within 48 hours of my birth where I received surgeries to save my life. Since then I’ve grown up in a loving Christian family; my father works for an oil company and because of this we have lived in Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Scotland, Turkey and Texas.
I thought nothing about sustainable living or health until my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (aka MS, a disease that deteriorates the nervous system) She started treating it conventionally with interferon shots, but she just knew there had to be a better way. Her research has led the whole family to take a closer look at holistic health and sustainable living. She has been living without any symptoms of MS for 7 years now. Continue reading “Introducing Rusty, Midwest Permaculture Intern Summer/Fall 2012”