Our Winter PDC Course – March 7-14, 2020
Location: Midwest Permaculture – Stelle, IL
This was a Great Course!
Hope you can join us in 2021.
Foundations of Permaculture Webinar Series
14 Hrs. of Webinars
Textbook – Study Guide – Resources
A Special 4-hour Webinar Recording, of a conversation we had with Tom Galazen of
North Wind Organic Farms.
30+ Years of Homesteading, Growing Fruits and Vegetables for a living!
You May Begin the Webinar Series at Anytime
Learn from Multiple Permaculturists and Farmers over 8 Days
In Person – Over the Internet – In the Webinar Series
Wondering about missing some hands-on activities at our Winter PDC compared to a summer course?
Most all of the hands-on activities we undertake at our regular PDC courses we can also do at our winter courses. These include:
- Learning to use the A-frame and sight level.
- Building a dry-brick rocket stove and firing it up.
- Making a clay model of a landscape to learn about swales, keylining, and ponds.
- Touring Midwest Permaculture’s yard and the CSC land
- Doing fruit tree grafting
- Making cob from clay, sand and straw
- and touring the Malchow’s (our neighbors) permaculture home to fire-up their thermal mass rocket stove couch/bench.
The one thing we cannot do because of the frozen ground is continue to work on the hugel-swale we are constructing for CSC. This consists of digging a section of a ditch, putting logs in, and then covering them up. We’ll show some pictures of the details related to this so you’ll get the information without the tactile experience.
Special to this Winter PDC
The one thing we do extra for this course is focus a bit more on the growing of food and what it takes to create a successful farming/growing/permaculture operation.
Many people want to make part or even all of their annual income from growing food. This is certainly possible but it requires quite a bit of knowledge and then real practical experience. Our objective through this training is to save you years of time and money by giving you some critical information and fresh insights.
To help anchor this learning experience we’ll be taking an extra field-trip over to Spence Farm in Fairbury, IL, to meet Will and Marty Travis who are doing pioneering work in these areas.
If the timing works for you to attend this winter course we are confident that you will not leave feeling like you missed any hands-on activities. It’s an amazing and very-full 8 days like all of our other PDC Courses.
1. Delivering the full PDC curriculum.
2. Learning how to transform back yards, city lots, roof tops and community commons areas into bountiful & beautiful gardens.
3. Making the business of food growing economically profitable, socially responsible and environmentally sound.
4. Looking at the serious alternatives to industrial farming.
|“The ambition for broad acres leads to poor farming,|
even with men of energy.
I scarcely ever knew a mammoth farm to sustain itself…”
Visit to Spence Farm:
Will and Marty Travis’s farm is a bustling center of activity with a wide array of heirloom and native crops, heritage animals, and a large diversity of agricultural opportunities on 160 acres.
Will, Marty and his wife Kris, are committed to finding ways to make a living with a wide variety of farm crops and products and are amazing and creative farmers. For example, they found leeks growing wild in their woodlot and in one month sold over $20,000 worth.
Kris and Marty started “Stewards of Land” about 9 years ago and have helped over 3-dozen other sustainable farmers become more economically viable.
The work they are doing on their farm is admirable enough, but the work they are doing to build a community of farmers that can share costs, risk, marketing efforts and education/experience is their real gift.
They will share with us how RELATIONSHIP, between people and business and plants and animals and the land (read permaculture), is the most important aspect of farming, family and community.
Bonus: 4-hour Webinar with Tom Galazen
We hosted a live webinar a few years back with Tom Galazen of North Wind Organic Farm. A two-hour webinar turned into 4 hours. Students of this course will receive a bonus link to this interview that includes much information about Tom’s homesteading style of low energy consumption, how he approaches fruit growing and what varieties he highly recommends for different species of fruit.
North Wind Organic Farm
Tom has been raising a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on this farm for over 35 years. As much a homesteader as a farmer, he built most of the buildings on his farm and is off the grid. His specialty is in the growing and selling of a wide variety of fruits which are fitting for his location just a few miles from Lake Superior. Tom gets top-dollar for his produce through a local CSA and by retailing his goods right from the farm. Students receive access to download this interview upon registering for this training.
Uncommon Ground Restaurant – Chicago
Helen and her husband Michael had been restaurateurs for 19 years. Then they decided to open a second location for their successful restaurant and chose a building with a large flat roof. Helen wanted to grow at least some of the food and herbs that they serve to their customers. In the process, they decided to become organically certified and as a result became the first roof-top certified organic ‘farm’ in the United States.
Our interview with Helen Cameron is in the
“Foundations of Permaculture” webinar series
Robyn Streeter (L) and Donna Smith
Your Backyard Farmer
Donna and Robyn are the first we have heard of who run their farming operation from other peoples back yards. They have 53 ‘mini-farms’. And they don’t rent peoples back yards, they charge the homeowners yearly to have much of their families food grown for them right in their own backyards. Robyn and Donna visit each home once a week, attending to all that is necessary, leaving a full basket of produce on the residents doorstep when the little farm starts producing.Homeowners can also learn how to grow their own food from these innovative and successful farmers.
An insightful interview with Donna and Robyn is in one of your sessions from the “Foundations of Permaculture” webinar series.
Depending up availability, there may be an additional grower or two that will share their experience with us.
View Photo Summary of a Winter PDC Course at Bottom of page
“In this Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) Course we want students to learn the skills of viewing a piece of property through a permaculture lens to be able to better see its gifts and challenges. From there a permaculture design can manifest.
We will look honestly at the practical and financial realities of small-scale-sustainable farming and urban-food growing.
Bill Wilson – Midwest Permaculture
Lead Instructor for Training Bill Wilson
As a younger man, Bill cut his teeth in farming when he started a ‘pick-your-own’ berry business in Kentucky. He learned much about farming and as much about working with people. Bill was also the community garden coordinator for several years in the small, sustainably oriented community of Stelle, IL, where he has lived for over 40 years.
He and his wife/partner Becky have hosted and taught over 85 PDC courses and dozens of other permaculture workshops.
“Bill, this was unequivocally the best educational experience of my life. You and the others made permaculture completely understandable and I am so inspired to implement this work. This training has tied it all together for me. Thank You.
Amy H. – Small Farm Manager
“Thanks so much for all your work!! I was so inspired by the course. I’ve already integrated permaculture into a community project I’m working on. After 25-yrs of landscaping, I needed that boost of BLISS!”
Catherine R. – Landscape Architect
Description of our Full, Permaculture-Design-Certification Courses
If you landed on this page and happened to have missed the full description of the training, you might still be wondering what is actually covered in a certification course. If so, Click Here.
Further Details of the Course
Begin The Training Now with Pre-Course Studies
This permaculture course actually begins shortly after registration when the student receives a welcome email that contains:
- access to our Foundations of Permaculture webinar series,
- links to over 3-dozen resources
- and the 150-Question Study Guide.
Within a week or so students receive the course textbook, via US Mail.
Included with the price of Registration
‘Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture’
by Rosemary Morrow
This gem of a text, shipped to students upon registration, is written by Rosemary Morrow, an Australian, that has taught permaculture around the world for decades.
The book is straightforward and loaded with illustrations and substance. It covers theory and also focuses on the practical aspects of how to create and implement a permaculture design.
This book is a must read for the serious permaculturist and is a requirement for students of our design certification courses.
150-Question Study Guide
Start and End Times – And Very Full Days
The on-site portion of the course begins on Saturday, March 7th at 1:00pm and ends the following Saturday, March 14th at noon. Even though students will have already completed up to 20-hours of certification studies through the webinars, there are still 52+ hours of training ahead. To fit the balance of the curriculum into only 8 days along with meeting all of the farmers, the on-site portion of the course starts at 8:15am each morning and runs all the way through 9pm. There are long breaks for lunch and dinner… but students need to come prepared for a very full week of learning, designing, and fun.
Group and Personal Design projects
For all PDC trainings, students work on several short design projects in small groups to quickly develop their permaculture design skills.
Personal Design Project Invitation: If one of the reasons you as a student might be taking this training is to learn the skills necessary to create a permaculture design for your own home or property there will be some time over the 8-days to make significant progress. We will show you how to locate topographical, soil, wind and watershed information from the internet and how to create your basemap.
All meals, snacks, coffee, tea and water will be provided as part of the course tuition and will be served beginning with dinner on the first Saturday evening through lunch a week later. Meals will be prepared from mostly organic and locally raised foods and will include vegetarian and meat options.
Free Winter Camping
As part of the price of tuition, free camping space will be made available with toilets and showers nearby in heated spaces. This is a winter course however and one must be a very hearty and capable camper to deal with the cold and potentially stormy weather. We have relatively protective spaces for any campers should that be of any consolation. Remember, students will only be sleeping in their tents as all food is provided. The rest of the time will be spent in the classroom or on site tours. If you have a good sleeping bag and are familiar with winter camping, you’ll be fine.
Rooms in Stelle – $150 for the Week
Some of our fellow residents in Stelle are delighted to rent out their guest rooms for a modest fee for the whole week. All are a short walking distance from the classroom. Students can reserve a room when they register for the training. Questions? Please email Becky or call 815-216-4124.
What to Pack & Other Details
About 4 weeks before this training begins, students receive more information regarding what to expect, arrival details, what to pack, access to maps, etc.
Students who complete this design course will receive a ‘Certificate of Completion’ from Midwest Permaculture which in the permaculture tradition, allows one to use the word ‘permaculture’ in the promotion of their work or business. Graduates may offer workshops, lectures and design services. Click here for more on certification.
Previous Winter Course Graduates
Course Fee & Registration: $1,395
(Plus $150 for lodging or $0 if camping)
Early Registration Price (by day’s end, Jan. 1, 2020): $1,245
Online Registration Here
Price Includes ‘Foundations of Permaculture’ webinar series, 8-days of training, organically prepared meals, camping (oh boy…!!!), loads of permaculture related resources, and the networking site.
Group Registrations – Save $100 per Person
2 or more may register as a group and receive a $100 discount each. We’ve had friends, family members or couples register together and in the weeks before the course, bring in several more friends, everyone saving $100 each.
Students: $995 (Registered in educational institution and taking full hours – 2 slots available)
Seniors: $995 (Over 62 and on fixed income – 2 slots available)
Low Risk Cancellation and Refund Policy
If a student cancels their registration 30-days before the on-site portion a course begins they receive a full refund less $250. The student retains full access to all of the webinars, keeps the course resource links and text book, and receives a $195 credit towards any future Midwest Permaculture design certification course, good for up to 3-years.
If a student cancels their registration in the 30-days before the course there will be a full refund less $350 and the student still receives the webinars and a $195 credit towards our design courses in the future. 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 credit toward a future design course.
Continuing Support Following Graduation
Students who have completed a Midwest Permaculture design course are then invited to become part of our growing network of graduates. There are two ways we work to support our students:
- We have a separate website where all graduates can connect, share ideas and look for some assistance from each other.
- Graduates may audit any future PDC courses at half price (provided space is available).
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.
Already A Permaculture Design Course Graduate?
We offer a 33% discount to students who have already graduated from another recognized course (from anywhere in the world) who wish to take a Midwest Permaculture course as a refresher. Please email for details.
Still Have Questions?
You are welcome to email us or call Becky at 815-216-4124.
|Keep an eye on our schedule for this and other future trainings.|
We had a wonderful week together.
Hope you can join us some year!
… Hayden W.