Pictures of Winter PDC in Stelle, IL

Midwest Permaculture Winter PDC Course 2015

Here is a brief picture summary of our
2015 Winter PDC at Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL.
As expected, during a winter course with high temperatures below 32 degrees, we did not spend a lot of time outdoors but we did manage to capture a few pictures of these activities.

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Pictures of PDC at Fox Hollow Farm

Hayden and Bethany

Hayden Wilson and Bethany Gardner of Midwest Permaculture

Hi Friends of Midwest Permaculture.

Bill, Ernest, Hayden and I ( Bethany) are at our farming PDC course here at Fox Hollow Farm in Ohio. Bill is doing most of the teaching while the three of us support the delivery of the course along with the Rickard family (the farmers) and staff.

Bill asked me and Hayden to make a brief photo-log of the course and to drop the pictures here into a single blog post.

We’ll break it down into daily selections which we hope will give you an idea of what happens at a typical PDC course along with the unique aspects of this wonderful farming course.  We’re having a great time.

Hope you enjoy…. Bethany 

 

 

Day 1

Students

On day 1 we toured the farm meeting one of the Rickards horses, Polly. It is a halflinger breed used to pull logs and other heavy items around the farm.

 

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Closing Wishes for 2013

December 31, 2013

Year End Greetings….

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”

Applying Local Resources to Capture Greywater

The harvesting of greywater is an important technique that we often use in permaculture designs. Not only does it utilize what is considered a ‘waste product’,  it helps our gardens grow, reduces the amount of fresh water required for our gardens, remediates this ‘waste water’ better than municipal systems can, recycles nutrients, and it creates a direct connection to where we live. Good greywater design can save us time, money, and improve the environment.

We met Candace Vanderhoff (greywater and rainwater collection practitioner) while we were in So. Calif. last year and have asked her to join us for our permaculture design course and super adobe earth building training (Oct. 8-10, 2012)  

She is a long-time admirer of Cal-Earth’s work and studied under Nadir Khalili (founder of Cal-Earth) while she was earning her masters degree in architecture.   It wasn’t long before she became friends with Nadir and several Cal-Earth staff.  

She will be leading the installation of a greywater system from a washing machine located in the interns house at Cal-Earth to the permaculture/hugelkultur garden system that we will be designing and building during the training. 

Candace Vanderhoff, M.Arch, LEED AP
Founder/CEO RainThanks & Greywater

Candace has a masters degree in architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, is certified as a LEED accredited professional by the US Green Building Council, and is an experienced Permaculture designer.

In 2009, Candace trained with Greywater Action in the Sand Francisco Bay area and also completed the Green Plumber Training for water professionals. 

Her current work with RainThanks is managing, consulting and designing water harvesting systems, sustainable landscapes and water conservation products.

See Pictures of her work below… or by clicking on “Continue reading…”

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Digging Deeper Into Permaculture

See Other Posts about Grant and Paige’s Work

Living in the U.S. can be like living with your eyes closed. There is so much possibility in the world and yet it is not easy to see because of the way we live.  Sometimes it takes a change of scenery to reveal to us the true potential of the world.

Paige with a Mango – Paige and Grand are both Midwest Permaculture PDC Grads and Donate 3 Months each Year to an important Small-Community Project in Africa

My eyes are more open each time we go to Africa.  And now I’m excited (in a brand new way) for next winter when we hope to return.  The new lens I’ll be looking through is completely invigorating to me, as I’ve recently completed a PDC course through Midwest Permaculture! 

Continue reading “Digging Deeper Into Permaculture”

Introducing Hayden (Permaculture, An Alternative To College Education)

Hi, Everyone!

My name is Hayden. For those who have not met me or have not heard of me, I am the son of Bill and Becky Wilson. I will be working with Midwest Permaculture as an intern for at least the next year and contributing here on the blog.

Last year I was a junior in high-school, “the time when I’m SUPPOSED to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.”  Whenever I thought about this, I remember I felt very stressed, as if I was being pulled in many different directions.  At that point in time I had mostly assumed that I HAD to go to college; all my brothers went, and all my friends were planning to, so I figured, “that’s what I SHOULD do too.”  However, I had no specific interest or path that I wanted to pursue in college. Long story short, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I should go to college for, what college I would go to, and ended up beating myself up for not being able to get clear on what I was going to do.

When my junior year was nearly over, after a lot of bruised knuckles and sleepless nights, I had decided that it would be in my best interest to get a Permaculture Designer Certificate under my belt, especially since this was the family business anyway. I had always been around it and had experience doing some permaculture projects and gardening, but I still didn’t have a very strong grasp on the general/basic principles of permaculture. At the very least, I knew I was interested and that I wanted to learn more as well as broaden my knowledge and life skills.

As the date to the training got closer and closer, I began to realize that I was more interested than I had originally thought. Once the PDC training began, from then on, it all clicked for me. I thoroughly enjoyed learning with a group of people who were there by personal choice, rather than societal pressure. I knew that working in permaculture is what I really wanted to do. I finally realized, why go to college when I don’t really know what I want to go for? I knew I could end up wasting time and money, and my heart just wasn’t into it. Instead, I could create an internship with Midwest Permaculture and do something that I love and have the motivation to do.

Throughout the following year, my parents and I brainstormed ideas as to how I could become part of the business and make a significant contribution. My senior year ended up feeling great to me because I could enjoy one last year of high-school while knowing that when it was all over, I had a plan for what I was going to do next.

Now here I am, 3 months after graduation, and I’m ready to kick off the start of a new part of my life. I’m really excited about this internship and I’m looking forward to getting into some fun and interesting permaculture projects. A few days ago I said to myself, “Hayden, you seriously need to start doing some sort of work for your internship” then I took a minute to think about the past 4 weeks and the various permaculture trainings I helped out with here in Stelle, and surprisingly I realized, “wow, Hayden, you have been doing quite a bit work. But it doesn’t seem like it? How can that be? Ohhh… You’re having fun.” 


Permaculture in the New York Times

Permaculture has long been on the fringes, I think for good reason. Why expend the energy and effort to create any kind of comprehensive design when an abundance of cheap energy is available to make up for any deficiencies? Of course, as the price of energy increases, the benefits of that one time investment in design increase to the point where it no longer makes sense to do things the old way. Permaculture, as a way to design our lives, becomes more and more relevant.

I think we have passed that point and the initial investment now pays ever growing dividends.  It’s to the point that even the New York Times is beginning to take notice. And who might appear in this article but none other than one of our instructors, Wayne Weisman of the Pemaculture Project. I think Wayne sums things up quite succinctly:

“We know what’s right,” Mr. Weiseman said. “We know what’s best. We feel this thing in our bones and in our heart. And then we don’t do anything about it. Or we do. And I did. And it’s bearing fruit.”

Check out The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground!

Heating His Home with Compost?


Meet Our Friend Rob Frost from the Milwaukee, WI Area
 

Back in the 1970s, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Pain of built a compost pile from woodchips about the size of a garage. Inside the pile he had coiled around a single, very long hose that he could run clean water through. In the very center of the pile was a very large-sealed-tank holding a slurry of cow manure.

Once the pile started to heat up he was able to run water through the hose at will and extract some of the heat. He had all the hot running water he needed for bathing, washing, and get this…for heating his home…for 18 months…!!! And from the manure tank in the center he extracted enought methane to provide gas to his stove and oven but more impressively, he compressed it into tanks and ran his automobiles from it. And when he was all done, he had a pile of fantastic compost for his gardens.

Our friend Rob Frost is attempting a mini version of this for his suburban home. 
Thanks for the inspiration Rob!

 

 


Rob’s Home Heating Experiment

National Guardsmen Take our Michigan Design Certification Course

What a great surprise to have 4-National Guardsmen join us for our Michigan PDC Course. One of the officers had been exposed to permaculture years earlier while in the Peace Corp and instinctually knew it was the training needed before their deployment to Afghanistan. Part of the mission for these guardsmen will be to help the Afghans rebuild their farming infrastructures which have been largely destroyed by the war. These Guardsmen will bring the expertise and knowledge of their civilian jobs while remaining sensitive to traditional farming methods.In a country with little rainfall and few available resources, permaculture provides a design approach with small-scale intensive systems that will help conserve moisture while providing ample food, shelter and drinking water.

Our 4-National Guardsmen
with Becky and Wayne