Spring Rains Fill Our Earthworks Multiple Times

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.  

In this hugelkultured swale, both the ditch and the wood in the berm are holding rain water.

In this hugelkultured swale, both the ditch and the wood in the berm are holding rain water.

The water we are holding back will eventually make it to our creeks and rivers anyway, but it will do so slowly… and over a long period of time… thus trickle-feeding our creeks and rivers all year round.  This is the way a normal hydrological cycle works. Continue reading “Spring Rains Fill Our Earthworks Multiple Times”

A Cal-Earth Permaculture Course Picture Summary

Post Update (Oct. 2017)
Our 7th Annual Combined
Super-Adobe and Permaculture-Design Certificate Courses

Oct. 16-28, 2017

Oct. 16-20 Super Adobe Core Curriculum Workshop
Oct.21-28 Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Sorry – This Course is Now Full
Please Check Back for Next Year’s Dates


— About the world renowned Permaculture Design Certificate Course here.
— How Midwest Permaculture delivers this comprehensive training (regardless of the location) here.
— Download a .PDF of the PDC course curriculum outline here.

Below is a picture summary from a previous joint training to give you an idea of how full and rich this combined training is. 
Please Note: Geoff and Nadia’s visit was a one-time event. They are not expected to join us this year (2017).

Cal-Earth Interior

Interior View of ‘Triple-Vault’– A Super-Adobe Structure at Cal-Earth   –   Students will learn the basics of how to build structures like this and how to design the total environment surrounding it at this combined training.

 

Blog Post of Previous Combined Course
Pictures and Text by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

For a second year we co-delivered with the Cal-Earth teaching staff a combined Superadobe Earth Building and Permaculture Design Certificate Course.  At the close of our training we were pleased to host Geoff and Nadia Lawton of PRI-Australia who shared their work in desert environments with us while they were in the USA for a brief visit.  This workshop was also opened to the general public seen here at the end of a really great day of learning.

Our 2012 Cal-Earth PDC on Guest Day with Geoff and Nadia Lawton – Picture taken on one of the Cal-Earth buildings.

Continue reading “A Cal-Earth Permaculture Course Picture Summary”

Pictures from our July 2012 Hands-on Permaculture Course

You can see and read more about this course in an awesome blog post by one of the students in this course: These Light Footsteps – Hands-on Permaculture.

 

Classroom Panorama

  Continue reading “Pictures from our July 2012 Hands-on Permaculture Course”

Pictures From our June 2012, Stelle PDC Course

 Pictures by Milton Dixon and Bill Wilson – Captions by Bill

Day 1 in the Classroom – The World Map on the Wall is a Nice Addition to any Learning space. – Becky Wilson Teaching

“Thank you Bill and Becky for such an incredible, life-altering week.”
Jody T. – Community Organizer

Continue reading “Pictures From our June 2012, Stelle PDC Course”

Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales

In this design we will be planting linear-food forests all along the downhill side of each of three hugelkultured swales.   What is a hugelkultured swale?

 

While the tress and shrubs are in the early stages of growing (small) we will use the open space to grow some of our annual vegetables. We will also plant some nitrogen fixing ground covers and dynamic accumulators to help build the soil.

Continue reading “Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales”

Connect Africa Hub – A Permaculture Design

Illustration of the Final Design

Permaculture Design Course Graduates – Summer 2011 – Stelle, IL

 Context:

Grant Shadden took his PDC Training with us – summer 2011.  While here, he shared about his upcoming 2-month trip to Africa to support the work of the Connect Africa hub. 

We were all moved by the work of this organization and by Grant’s, and his wife Paige’s, devotion to assist in the work there.  Grant was actually taking this training in order to come up with a design for this organization and a 20-acre site they want to develop.  

As such, we made the decision to assist him by making it one of the final design projects for the PDC Course.  4 other students self-selected themselves to work on this design with Grant. 

Continue reading “Connect Africa Hub – A Permaculture Design”

6-Day Family Friendly Training

6-day “Hands-on” Training – August 2011
Held at Midwest Permaculture in our Sustainably Oriented Community of Stelle, IL
We expect to be offering a ‘family friendly’ training every summer.  See Here for Details

 This Training is also Stage 2 or our 3-Stage PDC Certificate Course 
6 Students stayed on for the 5-day PDC Completion Training and earned their permaculture certificate.

This was our first training that fully welcomed families with children. Four families joined us along with 12 other individuals. Bottom-line... it worked out really well!

 

 “I so appreciated having families and their children in the course. 
It really added to the wonderful dynamic.” 
Kate – College Student 

 

Continue reading “6-Day Family Friendly Training”

Cal-Earth – The PDC Portion of the Combined Earth Building and Permaculture Training

Week 2 – The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course.
(Click here for Photos of Week 1)

 
We not only taught this course to 24 students from around the world (Europe, Middle East, Africa) but we also trained 7 of Cal-Earth’s staff. and 2 of their interns. Nader Khalili was just months away from hosting the first PDC course at Cal-Earth when he unexpectedly passed in 2008. To honor their father and the 20th anniversary of Cal-Earth, Dastan and Sheefteh Khalili, Nader’s children, invited us to deliver our PDC course.  As Ian Lodge (director at Cal-Earth) told us , “the hard work of proving the viability of superadobe structures is done.  It’s now time to look at the total environment, to see how much better the buildings and the land around them can function together to benefit the people living in them.”

Continue reading “Cal-Earth – The PDC Portion of the Combined Earth Building and Permaculture Training”

Hugelkultur Video

Check out this time lapse video we made of the construction of a hugelkultur bed…

Hugelkultur is a raised bed filled with wood. As the wood decomposes it slowly releases nutrients to the plants in the bed. It also acts like a sponge, holding more water for the plants to access in between rains. We built this bed in Bill & Becky Wilson’s yard as a part of our Hands-On Permaculture Training this past August. 

6-Day Family Friendly Permaculture Training

 

 

Greetings from Stelle, IL. We are in the midst of a ‘permaculture training for families’ and took this photo in front of a hugelkultur bed that we built today in Bill and Becky’s back yard. This bed will now hold water and produce it’s own fertility for 5 years to come.  

We also want to say hello to all the folks visiting from The Survival Podcast. Bill skipped lunch yesterday to have a chat with Jack Spirko and returned to class, energized by their conversations. 

Permaculture is about a lot more than just gardening and growing things, it is about creating ways of living that care for people and the earth at the same time. We’re all having a really great week.  And what fun having young ones and families involved. 

The next 6-day hands-on training by Bill will be in California in early October.  With the experience of this training, Bill and Becky are planning to host another family training next summer.