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Information about PermCoursePictures

Published on December 28, 2007

Author: Boyce


Permaculture Design-Certification Course Oct. 21-28, 2006 Stelle, IL:  Permaculture Design-Certification Course Oct. 21-28, 2006 Stelle, IL © by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture – Pictures by various students of the course. Thanks Everyone…! Slide2:  This is a pictorial summary of the design course hosted in Stelle, IL, by the Center for Sustainable Community and co-created by: Wayne Weiseman Bill Wilson & Mark Shepard …. of Midwest Permaculture. Slide3:  In the three weeks prior to our 37 students’ arrival in Stelle, they participated in six, 2-hour webinars (Sunday and Wednesday evenings). Students accessed the webinar portal at prescheduled times and were able to listen to Mark or Wayne’s live instruction while viewing the accompanying photos, graphs, or illustrations they had prepared. Students could ask questions verbally by “requesting the mic” or by typing into the “chat” area on the screen. We had 4 students who participated in the webinars but not in the full course. Course began with 6 live webinars, accessible via the internet. Why the webinars? Certification training requires 72 hours of instruction. By completing 12 hours of instruction before the course, we were able to reduce the typical number of days for on-site instruction from 11-14 days (typical of most courses) to only 7. The days were extremely full (as you will see), but by offering the bulk of the training in only one week, it made it possible for many of our students to attend. Arrival:  Arrival Our students came from Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Iowa and many points in between. Encouraged to car-pool, they arrived Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, giving themselves time to set up their tents (2/3 camped), participate in some work parties, or just relax around Stelle. Slide5:  The on-site portion of the course began promptly, following lunch on Saturday. It consisted of an orientation to the community of Stelle, by yours truly, Bill Wilson. I am a 28-year resident of Stelle and the coordinator of the course. I included a quick tour of our unique town, with stops at the Center for Sustainable Community (CSC -- used as the students’ lounge), the Stelle Telephone Company, and other sites. Me giving orientation talk. Students in front of CSC. Stelle’s, solar-powered, telephone switch and high-speed-internet-service building. Course Work:  Course Work Mark and Wayne shared the instruction on a daily basis, with one of them usually taking the lead on a specific subject, while the other added in, from time to time, with his experience or knowledge. The depth of understanding between the two of them clearly enhanced the educational experience for all of us. Course Subject Areas Principals and Ethics of Permaculture Observations and Patterns Soils, Plants, and Trees Guilds and Polycultures Cont… Wayne, “emphasizing the fundamentals.” “This was an intensive, information-packed week with lots of fun thrown in. Mark and Wayne have complimentary teaching styles, and their sense of humor meant there was never a dull moment. This week was one of the most productive and all-around best I've spent in 50 years.” (Kasandra Ireland) Slide7:  Course Subject Areas cont…. Water and Earthworks Climates and Micro-climates Succession Eco-Building Zones and Sector Analysis Aquaculture Planning the Homestead Bio-Fuels Economics Niche Marketing Urban and Suburban Permaculture Garden Management Small-Farm Strategies Large-Farm Possibilities International Implications More…. Mark often discussed further details with curious students, following a lecture. “Mark and Wayne are a terrific team!” Judy Speer Guest Speakers:  Guest Speakers To deepen the educational experience of our students, we invited two intriguing individuals to share some of their life experiences as they relate to permaculture. Neris Gonzales Neris shared with us the heart-wrenching story of her years in civil-war-ravaged El Salvador (late ‘70's until early ‘90's).   Seeking refuge and personal recovery in Chicago, she discovered that many in her new neighborhood needed some of the same things as her Salvadorian kinsmen -- nutrition, purpose, and sustainability skills. She established the non-profit, educational organization, Ecovida, to address these needs, using permaculture as a foundational piece. Her presence at the course drove home the importance of average citizens all over the world having the skills to provide the basic necessities for themselves and future generations.. Neris, with interpreter and fellow board member of Ecovida, Luis Bocaletti. A playful moment. Click Here for more on Neris Larry Korn – Translator of One-Straw Revolution:  Larry Korn – Translator of One-Straw Revolution Larry Korn joined us on our first weekend to share his fascinating history with Masanobu Fukuoka (author of the book, One-Straw Revolution). Larry spent 5 years in Japan, two of those with Masanobu on his farm in southern Japan. He lived in one of the mud-walled huts in Fukuoka’s orchard and performed farm chores with the other students. Larry translated Fukuoka’s classic book into English, which was then translated into twelve other languages, including French, Dutch, Italian, Hindi, and Spanish. Masanobu Fukuoka Slide10:  Larry with Masanobu in the mid-’70’s The book was published by J. I. Rodale (Organic Gardening fame) after Larry spent several years massaging the manuscript with the assistance of Wendell Berry, who felt that the information contained in the book “needed to get out there.” On two occasions, Larry toured Masanobu around the States, introducing him to Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Bill Mollison, Rodale, Gary Snyder, and many farmers and students interested in his philosophy of natural-farming techniques. Click here for more on Larry and his impressions of Masanobu Fukuoka and his work. Gary Snyder J. I. Rodale Bill Mollison Wendell Berry Wes Jackson Slide11:  Larry (a soil biologist) lead our in-depth discussion on soils during the course. On Sunday evening he shared a slide show of his experience with Fukuoka, as well as some great stories about serving as a translator and guide for Fukuoka on his two trips to the United States. Wayne and Larry walking the Stelle property. Slide12:  Six Site Tours As knowledgeable as Wayne and Mark are, we knew that the average student could not sit in class for 7 straight days, 9 hours a day, and absorb everything (even if they could stay awake). Therefore, we did our best to break up the days with some short trips to visit other very-talented individuals who have implemented different aspects of permaculture into their own lives and businesses. It is one thing to understand an idea or concept. It is another to actually see it in action. Sun. Mon. Stelle Garden, Pond, & Orchard Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast Haeme Strawbale Home AquaRanch Greenhouse Spence (Polyculture) Farm Mint Creek Organic Sheep Farm Tues. Wed. Wed. Thurs. Slide13:  Sunday: Community Garden, Pond, and Orchard On Sunday, Mark and Wayne broke the class up into two groups to explore different aspects of the property. Here Mark starts outside the classroom building to explore what is referred to in permaculture as “Zone 1.” On the way to the gardens a few students stopped to explore how our community windmill is anchored and supported against high winds. This is the wind generator that supplies our water-treatment facility with a portion of its electrical needs. Slide14:  Sunday: Community Garden, Pond, and Orchard Neris and other students examining some sweet-potato roots at the garden. An important part of the course is to explore what is happening below the surface of the soil. Fritz discussing his thoughts on the state of our “wildlife” pond, surrounded by cattails. Taking whatever exists and turning it into an asset is a fundamental approach of permaculture. Slide15:  Sunday: Community Garden, Pond, and Orchard The orchard, although never commercially developed, has provided an abundance of fruit for 30 years now. Students discovered a whole range of resources, not the least of which is the greenhouse skeleton abandoned two decades previously. Slide16:  Sunday: Community Garden, Pond, and Orchard Also discovered in the orchard were some beautiful lichens and a freshly built beaver dam. What could a permaculture designer do with these resources? Unfortunately, we hit a cool, cloudy, and sometimes rainy week for the course. We heard almost no complaining, even from our campers. Courtney found a way to take notes with scarf and gloves. Slide17:  Monday: Hoffmans’ Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast Living just two miles away are our close friends, Mark and Guia Hoffman. Now that the kids are gone, they have transformed a plain, two-acre farmstead, into a garden Mecca. Mark is the one who introduced the rest of us in Stelle to the concepts of permaculture. He has been slowly implementing different design features onto their home and land. Guia is a trained chef and caterer, and hosted all of us for several meals during the week. We were totally spoiled! Click here for their website. Slide18:  Monday: Hoffmans’ Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast Mark explained how he now integrates many features of his homestead operation to net a generous bounty of edibles for themselves and their B&B business. He shared with us that by using permaculture principles, he has significantly changed the way he looks at his surrounding resources and has learned to produce significant results with, oftentimes, less work. Slide19:  Tuesday: The Haemes’ Strawbale Home About 10 years ago, Jon and June Haeme built the first strawbale home in Illinois. They built it debt-free by using their savings, and with a year’s worth of Jon’s time, using his construction skills. Click here for Home Power magazine story. Slide20:  Tuesday: The Haemes’ Strawbale Home Jon explained to the class how he prepared the site, and then demonstrated how the strawbales were stacked and pinned together to form a very solid structure. He went into enough detail to give everyone a sense of what is involved, should they ever decide to consider building this way. He enumerated all of the pros and cons that he had discovered. Slide21:  Tuesday: The Haemes’ Strawbale Home The walls are almost two feet thick and have a rounded feel to them. The home is incredibly energy-efficient with its south-facing windows that let in light and heat in the winter. Only 1,500 sq .ft., it still feels spacious. Slide22:  Tuesday: The Haemes’ Strawbale Home The small windmill and PV panels provide most of their electrical needs. Jon spent some time explaining how the inverter and batteries tie everything together. Slide23:  Tuesday: The Haemes’ Strawbale Home One of the biggest energy drains in any home is the demand for hot, running water. Jon slashed that expense by installing a solar hot-water panel, which he tied into their already existing LP-gas system. When all is said and done, Jon and June use almost 90% less electricity from the grid than the average American home. They accomplished this first with energy conservation (without feeling a sense of loss or bleakness), accompanied with the use of the available sun and wind surrounding them. This is an example of an effective permaculture (permanent-culture) design. Slide24:  Wednesday: The Aqua Ranch (aquaponics) On Wednesday we toured two businesses that were a little farther from Stelle. The first was Myles Harston’s Aqua Ranch in Flanagan, IL. Myles has been experimenting for years on how to create a closed-loop fish/greenhouse system (that is as trouble-free as possible). “Fascinating stop! Inspiring small-business story. And with some permaculture design work, we can help Myles yield some great energy savings, as well.” Mark Shepard Slide25:  Wednesday: The Aqua Ranch (aquaponics) The fish Myles grows to maturity come from his own breeding stock. He raises them to be 2-4 pounds in size before selling them to a variety of markets. Because of the high concentration of fish, the water they live in can become uninhabitable within an hour’s time, so Myles pumps the water continuously out of the large fish tanks and into the greenhouse. Slide26:  Wednesday: The AquaRanch (aquaponics) In the greenhouse are rows and rows of 4-foot-wide beds (long tanks, actually) that hold about 12 inches of slow-moving water from the fish tanks. On top of the water float 1-inch Styrofoam boards. The basil that Myles grows starts from small plugs that are seated into matching-sized holes in the foam, their roots soaking up the nutrient-rich water, thus cleaning it for the fish. Click here for more on the AquaRanch Slide27:  Wednesday: Spence Farm Just 30 minutes down the road from Myles’ place lies Kris and Marty Travis’, Spence Farm. They are unique farmers these days, in that they derive their income from many different sources. In this picture you can see their prairie meadow, their tilled vegetable-farming ground, and their woodlot. They are harvesting crops from each of these areas. Slide28:  A bit of their story: Their predecessors followed the course of 20th-Century agriculture, adopting the industrial approach from the ‘50’s through the ‘90’s, losing fertility and profitability over the years. Now that it is Kris and Marty’s turn to care for the family farm, they are in the early process of returning it to a widely versatile, organic, and sustainable operation. While in these early years of rebuilding fertility in the fields, they have turned their attention to observing what is growing naturally around them and finding niche markets for these items. This year they sold over $20,000 in wild leeks, lambsquarters, amaranth (pig weed), stinging nettles, and wild-flower seed. Wednesday: Spence Farm What they ended up doing was finding a market for these products and going out and harvesting them! No tilling, weeding, watering, fertilizing, or spraying -- just harvesting. Their creativity and concern for a sustainable way of living were deeply inspiring to almost everyone in the course. Thanks, Kris and Marty, for blazing a trail we can follow. Neris coaxing the chickens & ducks Click here for the Spence Farm website. Slide29:  Thursday: Mint Creek Farm Surrounding Stelle to the south and west lies the farm ground newly-acquired by one of Stelle’s long-time residents, Harry Carr, and his family. Harry, being a city boy, got the “bug” to try his luck at farming, and 12 years later, has made some impressive headway. “Cutting his teeth” on a small farm not far from Stelle, he is now seeing what he can do to repair the land right next to our community and bring it back into productive fertility. Walking Harry’s fields. Stelle in the background. Harry Carr (It was wet and muddy, so Harry gave students plastic bags and string to tie around their feet to keep them dry. I thought you might be wondering what those were.) Slide30:  Thursday: Mint Creek Farm Harry is using 500 head of sheep and a variety of different grasses and legumes to bring his fields back to life. One of the challenges that Harry faced when taking over this land, was the poor condition that the fields were in. Not only was the soil highly eroded but the organic content was below levels capable of sustaining any crop. Only the toughest weeds could survive without chemical input. Please Note: In the large photo, the folks along the old fence line, to the left, are standing at the original soil level. The students in the field are a full 2 feet below them. Where did two feet of topsoil go? (Answer: Down the Mississippi.) Slide31:  Thursday: Mint Creek Farm One of the joys on this tour was our participation in moving the sheep into a newly fenced-in paddock. In this case, the grass was greener on the other side. Harry’s dogs do an amazing job of protecting the sheep from coyotes. He has 3 Great Pyrenees. Click Below For: Article by Harry & Gwen More on Mint Creek Farm Slide32:  Other Aspects of the Course Meals Three meals per day were served with the use of organic, and often times, locally-raised foods. When asked to evaluate the different aspects of the course on a scale of 1-10, the food got a “12”…! Becky coordinated the entire food service and pulled it off with the help of students and other community residents. Snapping the Organic Green Beans We Took Time for Some Relaxing Breaks Slide33:  Other Aspects of the Course Design Work In order to anchor the information discussed throughout the course, students were involved in discussing what they would include in several actual permaculture designs. They did design work on the Stelle orchard and the AquaRanch. Students were asked to share their suggestions and Mark and Wayne added their own. It seemed that everyone benefited from this open discussion. “The course has been a life-changing, invigorating, and integrative experience for me.” Kathy C. Slide34:  Other Aspects of the Course… Design Work Laura, with Husband Jake and Daughter Isabela One of our students, Laura, brought her husband and 21 month old daughter along to the course. The two kept themselves busy while ‘mommy’ was in class. Laura and Jake have an interesting piece of property they wish to ‘permaculturalize’ so Wayne had Laura bring topographical and soils maps along with aerial photographs of the land, and the class used this information to discuss design possibilities. “Wonderful, positive, uplifting course. I feel like I came away not only with knowledge, but also with a network of people that would support me and be supported by me.” Laura M. Slide35:  Other Aspects of the Course… Final Night (Friday) Talent Show To celebrate a week of hard work and newly formed friendships, everyone was encouraged to share something at our Friday night talent show. There were skits, music, stories and more… L to R: Bruce, Karl, Fritz, Ryan, Ron, Victor, Lance and Llen. Inset: Lori H. was the first student to enroll in this course (January 06). “This course was fabulous, warm, intelligent, thorough, fascinating, exciting, and fun.” Llen M. Slide36:  Final Night Talent Show Kelvin telling his tale. One of Mark Shepard’s many talents – hamming it up…! “This course has been life-changing for me. Thank you for the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people!” Beth R. Behind, L to R: Kathy, Dave, Kevin, Beth, Kasandra, Susan, Mari and Donna. Slide37:  Final Night Talent Show John K. Bruce H. Trevor J. Chip M. Alice Helen D. “The Stelle experience has changed me forever. I am so grateful.” Alice Helen D. Slide38:  Final Night Talent Show Mari W. with Patrick R. Wayne Weiseman is not only an experienced permaculturist, he is a professional musician, as singer and guitarist, for the band MAJNUN. They have toured Europe for the past 3 summers. “An extraordinary event. Inspiring, helpful, very informative. Thank you so much.” Peter L. “ This was a very practical, life-giving and life-receiving course, taught by knowledgeable, fun-loving people, who are passionate about making a change.” Mari W. Slide39:  A Few More of our Students and Their Thoughts Our Course Videographer, Joyce Olinga Jerry S. Judy S. “From what I've heard about other courses, this one was unique. Don't change the format. The greatest asset was community and hope. That's what I'll take away from this.” Victor S. “Thank you for this deeply enriching experience.” Judy S. Victor S. Wayne, Mark and I were pleasantly surprised at the wide diversity in the ages and in the life skills & experiences of our students. It helped to make the course such a fascinating experience. Slide40:  A Few More of our Students and Their Thoughts “This is the first time I have participated in a course that so clearly presented the task before us, and so aptly offered the tools we will need to accomplish it.” Neris Gonzalez Dick K. Colin R. Lynn A. Peter L. Slide41:  A Few More of our Students and Their Thoughts Courtney T. Jeff R. Dave Mc. – Lisa A. – Ron N. “The information, design methods, networking, and food were beyond my expectations. Taking this course has re-ignited a fire in me that had been only embers. There is hope for the human species.” Ron N. Jenny C. Slide42:  Graduation Day – Sat. Morning Mollison Official PI Certification All graduates of this course are now registered with Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Institute located in Australia, as having completed one of his accredited, full-design courses. Our graduates may now use the word ‘Permaculture’ in the promotion of their work or business. They have also taken the first step towards becoming certified PI instructors themselves, should they desire that at some point in their future. Slide43:  Graduation Day – Sat. Morning PI Graduation Class of 2006, Stelle, IL Finally got a sunny day…! Slide44:  The food and hospitality were spectacular. (Anon.) Mark, Wayne, Bill, and everyone else who was involved in this week, were truly wonderful. I loved Mark and Wayne's style in teaching--the humor, the way they clicked with each other, the way they adapted the schedule to the ever-changing needs of the group. The gifts that were shared this week have really filled me with hope and gratitude. (Lisa A.) Awesome course! Astounding mix of talents and visions and perspectives, and we all were evolved enough people to honor each other. I am a shy person, nervous about my acceptance by others. I am amazed by how comfortable I felt. The networking, the books, the sources of knowledge that were formally presented and informally communicated--Wow! I will be spending the rest of my life (smile) following these leads! Wow! Thank you! (Lynn A.) Exciting, information-packed, fun, inspiring, and highly motivating! Wonderful mix of presenters and students. Personal interaction between "us" and the presenters was empowering--a unique experience. (Donna G.) Some Closing Thoughts Wayne, Mark and I would like to thank our students for giving their all to this course. We know that many of them felt that this was a life changing experience for them. The truth is, it was for the three of us as well. As we have learned from our studies in permaculture, when everything within a system makes the contribution it was designed to make, not only does the whole system benefit, but a synergistic experience occurs and something else, often time unexpected or totally new, is created. Something during this course was created…! I’m sitting here attempting to label it, but no single word describes it fully for me. What is clear, I am feeling profoundly grateful for being a part of this fascinating experience…. Bill ▼ Courses in 2007 ▼ Slide45:  Thank You Mark, Wayne and I would like to thank Larry Korn and Neris Gonzales for assisting us in this educational and community building experience. We also greatly appreciate all of our site tour hosts for sharing their time and knowledge with us. And thank you Becky, for the coordination of the behemoth task of feeding all of us for a week. The food was filled with nutrition, life and love. Sponsorship We’d also like to thank Center for Sustainable Community for seeing the value and importance of hosting this event, and for all their time and support. If your own group, community or organization would like to sponsor a design course, we would welcome the exploration of this possibility with you. Contact Bill at: ▼ Courses in 2007 ▼ Slide46:  Midwest Community - Permaculture - Sustainability 125 Crescent Lane, Stelle, IL 60919    Email:     Ph:815-256-2214 Monday, June 18 – Sunday, June 24, 2007 Location: Mark Shepard’s… New Forest Farm Viola, Wisconsin This is timed to Immediately follow the MREA Energy Fair in central Wisconsin. Join Wayne, Mark and I at the fair and then we can all caravan out to Mark’s farm. Thank you for viewing this summary. We sincerely hope you can join us at one of our courses in the future. We can all be part of the change that is needed, and possible. Next Course? Additional 2007 Course Dates August 18 – 25 (Stelle Course) Oct.28 – Nov. 3 (to be determined)

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