The PDC Course
At Midwest Permaculture

Begin Now with Foundations of Permaculture Pre-Training Webinar Series

Then 8-days here in Stelle, IL


What Is Included?

The Classroom in our Community Center

What to Expect from a PDC Course in Stelle?

A Personal Experience

The subject of permaculture attracts an incredible variety of individuals with a meaningful collection of common interests. Sharing meals, space, and conversation lends to creating a rich learning environment and a palpable sense of community among participants. Our students bring as much to the experience as we do and naturally end up sharing some from their diverse areas of expertise and knowledge. Most participants leave our courses feeling personally enriched.

Students queuing up for a meal at an in person course in Stelle, IL
Well-rounded meals are served with care for most dietary restrictions

Get a Lasting Impression from Hands-On Learning

For many people, endless reading and lectures can be difficult to absorb. We fully understand this and have crafted our in-person courses to be peppered with active learning experiences. We take time to tour Stelle, learn how to use helpful equipment, break off into groups for discussion and exercises, and work on tackling site-specific projects like earthworks, harvesting, identifying plants, inoculating mushroom logs, or other engaging activities. In Stelle, where there are so many examples of permaculture in action, you bet we are going outside to see how they look and work first-hand!

Students making cob at our in person PDC.
Our neighbor/teacher, Wayne (sun glasses), shares how he made the cob for his thermal-mass rocket stove.
Digging a Hugelkultured Swale
Students making cob bricks at our in person PDC.
Cob Brick Making
Bill Teaching the Rocket Stove Fundamentals
From a bare cornfield (as seen in the surroundings), the community of Stelle grew based on the ethics of resilience and cooperation and with the idea that we can become more responsible citizens of earth.

In the Heart of Community

Stelle, Illinois is the long-term residence of Bill and Becky. This small suburb of approximately 100-residents is an oasis among the miles and miles of corn and soybean fields that surround it. It is located about an hour and a half south of downtown Chicago and an hour north of Champaign/Urbana. It is where Bill and Becky found their love for permaculture, land stewardship, and as importantly, the art of building meaningful community.

The Home of Midwest Permaculture

Bill and Becky have been working on the design of their home in Stelle for the past 15+ years and take time during every course to tour students through their yard. They will answer any questions and share the challenges, joys, and learning experiences they’ve gained from “walking the talk” of permaculture design. 

Over time, the home of Midwest Permaculture has been completely transformed from your average suburban parcel into a beautiful, productive, and ecologically friendly oasis that preserves rainwater, supports native pollinators, provides a wide variety of foods, and builds soil in the process. Seeing this property up-close and understanding its design intricacies is a great benefit to taking a PDC in Stelle.

Center for Sustainable Community (CSC) Design

Midwest Permaculture has also been very involved in a permaculture land design for CSC, Stelle’s local nonprofit that owns 8.7 acres adjacent to the community. Here we have been implementing larger-scale design elements such as ponds, swales, food forests, larger scale gardening, livestock raising, and natural building.

CSC’s design is a great example of how a permaculture vision can change over the years as it matures and what a lot of concepts we cover in the course look like in action. We spend quite a bit of time exploring the land and share the design process we have been through thus far.

While walking this project site, students will get to see applications in their early state as well as more mature systems. 

Becky and Bill are 2 of the 6 founding members of CSC, and Becky currently serves as CSC’s president. 

We will learn about and interact with...

Thermal Mass Rocket Heaters & their Function in a Home Setting

Goats being rotationally grazed by Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL

Soil Building Techniques in our Food Forests using Animals, Chop and Drop Methods, & Foliar Sprays

Bill Wilson with scythe cutting down weeds along a swale

Composting Toilets & Vermicompost Techniques

Bulding the earth shelter cabin - second layer of slip

The Building Process of our Earth Shelter Cabin, a Structure Made of Natural and/or Recycled Materials

...And more.


Saturday – 1:00pm


Saturday – Noon

Arrival and Registration

From 9:30-12:30 in the morning

Course starts promptly at 1:00 p.m. A light lunch will be offered around noon.

Once the course starts we will be full-on for the entire week so arrive on the early side, get setup  and relax a bit before this permaculture adventure begins.   (More details regarding being at the course will be sent to registered students 3-4 weeks before the training dates.)

Daily Schedule

  • Breakfast 7:15
  • Class 8:15
  • Lunch Break 12:15
  • Class 2:00
  • Dinner Break 5:00
  • Class 7:00
  • End 9:00

As you can see, these are very-full days.  But because we break up the class-time with videos, exercises, discussions and more, students enjoy going into the evenings without feeling fatigued.

“Bill, I was concerned coming in that I would not be able to learn anything by the evening sessions. Not so. With the long meal breaks and the way that you and your team kept the material so interesting, I was fully engaged all day. Great job. I didn’t want the week to end.”

Students enjoying a meal at our in person PDC.

Meals & Open Camping Included

The basic registration price includes all your meals beginning with lunch on the first Saturday. The meals are prepared with many organic and locally sourced foods, and we’ll always have a vegetarian option. Are you vegan or gluten-free? Just let us know when you register, and we will gladly accommodate your diet. 

There is plenty of camping space right next to the community. Campers will have open access to our community center 24/7, which has Wifi, two bathrooms, a shower, and coin-op laundry. You must bring your own tent and sleeping gear but need no cooking ware. All of your meals are provided from Saturday lunch on the first day through Saturday lunch on day 8.

Camping site in the Stelle Orchard
Plenty of Free Camping Space
One of the lodging options at our in person PDC.
Rent Spare Bedroom in Friends Home in Stelle

Lodging Options
If having a roof over your head is more your style we will have several rooms available to rent from our community center or from local residents/friends who love hosting a student in their spare bedroom. If you are interested in this, there is a place on the registration link to request this option. The cost is only $150-$300 for the week depending upon room amenities. These are offered on a first-registered / first-choice basis in the month before class starts. 

Community Center in Stelle, IL
Rent a room in our Community Center
Former students posing in front of our earth sheltered cabin.
Rent the CSC Earth Shelter Cabin

There is also CSC’s earth-shelter cabin. More details on this as an option will be posted once we have pricing from CSC. Will probably fall between $400-$500.
And finally, there is always the option of renting a motel room anywhere in the surrounding area. There are several decent motels within a 20-35 minute drive from Stelle. 

Feel free to call or email Becky if you have questions about lodging or anything else about the course. 

Phone: 815-216-4124

Students during a design exercise at one of our in person PDCs

The Final Design Projects

Participation in a final design project is a requirement of certification. We typically divide students up into groups of 2-4 persons, all working on one of the student’s own design projects.

Want to work on your Own Design Project?
Depending upon the number of students with projects, it is likely your project could be selected or you will be able to work on a project very similar to yours. If you want your project to be considered, bring the following:

 Our instructors determine the final design project selection, but students’ preferences are strongly considered.

You Can Begin Your PDC Course Now with the

Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series

This permaculture course actually begins upon registration when you receive a welcome email with links to our Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series which includes:

(The book is snail-mailed and should arrive within a week following your registration.)

What to Pack & Other Details

About 4 weeks before the on-site training begins, students will receive more information concerning what to pack, when and where to arrive and other details. No big surprises here. Just the usual stuff.


Students who complete this design course will receive a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from Midwest Permaculture, which in the permaculture tradition, allows them to use the word ‘permaculture’ in the promotion of their work or business. Graduates may offer workshops, lectures and design services.

Continuing Support Following Graduation

Students who have completed a Midwest Permaculture design certification course (PDC) are then invited to become part of our growing network of graduates. There are three ways we work to support our graduates:

Our objective is to support our students for as long as they need it or want it, and to encourage them to support each other.

Price: $1595

$1450 -- The Early Registration Price 60-days out

Pay in Full or Make a Deposit

If starting with a $350 deposit works best for you, choose that option. It will reserve your seat in the course, you’ll receive the Foundations of Permaculture webinar series right away, and you will be invoiced for the balance either before the early registration period ends (if you’ve registered well before this) or shortly before the course begins.

Groups (Families, Couples, Friends)

If you have a family member or friend who would also like to take this course we offer a $300 discount for this person. And you can invite more than one additional person at this price.

$1595 first person/$1450 early registration

$1295 for each additional person/$1150 early registration when registering as a group in the same course.

Registration for groups or couples.
Each member of a group registers separately with a $350 deposit. Note in the comment section the name of the person you are registering with. After we receive your deposit you will receive an invoice from us for the balance at the group rate divided equally among participants. The balance needs to be paid before your course begins. 

When you register separately, you will each receive your own access to the online course materials.

Should My Spouse/Partner/Close Friend/Family Member take the course with me?

If there is someone(s) who is intimately involved in whatever project you are undertaking, our students have repeatedly told us that it really made a difference when all parties involved took the PDC together.

Going through one of our PDC courses tends to create a mind and heart shift in most people that cannot be transferred by conversation later on to others. Most people leaving the course never look at land the same way, and the concepts and ideas they now have can be fundamentally different than when they began. How does one explain this to their loved one(s)?

All we can tell you is that most people experience an inner shift by the conclusion of the training and to be able to experience this with those you will be working closely with is priceless. If there is any way the other(s) involved with your project can join you, we, and most all of our students, highly recommend it.

Already A Permaculture Design Course Graduate?

We offer a 33% discount to students who have already earned their PDC Certification from another recognized teacher (from anywhere in the world) who wish to take one of our courses as a refresher. Please call or email us for details.

Low Risk Cancellation and Refund Policy

Should a student have to cancel their enrollment in the course up to 30-days before the on-site portion of the course begins, there is a full refund less $350. You do however retain access to the Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series ($195 value), keep the course handouts and text-book, and receive a full $350 credit toward another PDC course within 3 years.

If a student cancels within the 30-day period before the course there will be a full refund less $450 and the student still receives a $350 credit toward a future design course. The credit is good for up to three years.

There are no refunds for cancellations or for withdrawals once the course begins. However, in certain circumstances, we may extend partial or full credit towards a future design course.

We would love to have you join us.

The experience of taking a PDC course in person is almost always deeply impactful. As teachers, we feel it is our job to deliver the best quality training we know how to our students, and we take this responsibility seriously. This subject is too brilliant to share in a ho-hum way. We see the course as a journey into wonderment, self-confidence, and endless possibilities.