Hearts Center Radio Interviews

Bill Wilson on How Permaculture Enlivens a New Culture

Bill Wilson on How Permaculture Enlivens a New Culture

Bill Wilson shares his expertise as a permaculture designer, a Permaculture Design Certification Course teacher and a Teacher Certification trainer, who has lived for 30 years with his wife Rebecca in the uniquely sustainable little community of Stelle, IL. Starting with the basics of permaculture, Bill shares why he co-founded Midwest Permaculture with Becky and relates stories of his transformative direct experiences and spiritual insights on greening and transforming our world. Bill offers a philosophy and practical examples for co creating a culture that cares for people and the planet as one in the same. Learn from Bill, his staff and students who have been willing to look into alternatives to the status quo, ask difficult questions and pursue unpopular solutions that worked; and discover how to create sustainable gardens, homes, landscapes, farms, relationships, and communities – in essence – how to develop a more permanent-culture.


Bill Wilson is the lead certifying instructor, designer and co-founder with his wife, Rebecca, of Midwest Permaculture as the culmination of a life’s work — of everything Bill and Becky hold dear and have been working on for over 30 years.  From starting on a shoestring in 2007, the business has grown to now offer an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification Course, The Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate Training, and a host of Permaculture Design Services.


Bill holds two Advanced Permaculture Training Certificates, one in permaculture design and the other in teaching. He took his Permaculture Teacher’s Training with Jude Hobbs of the Permaculture Institute, USA. Jude is a Bill Mollison trained teacher and designer. He and Becky have now hosted and taught over 50 Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) courses. And they have over 1,000 graduates.


Bill and Becky live in the small and somewhat unique community of Stelle, Illinois where some portion of the community has always been interested in diverse aspects of sustainable living. Together they created an organic garden co-op, community tool co-op, a dinner co-op, a solar-powered telephone company (which includes solar-powered, community wide WiFi), a windmill-assisted fresh-water treatment facility, Illinois’ first straw-bale home, and more. Having lived in a sustainably oriented community for 35 years, Bill has had a front row seat in learning what it takes to create authentic-permanent culture. Bill’s full-time work is managing, teaching, speaking, writing, and providing permaculture design services which have him traveling widely from California to Africa.


Our work as permaculture teachers is to guide our students in how to develop the observational skills, the knowledge, and the practical information to create sustainable gardens, homes, landscapes, farms, relationships, and communities – in essence – how to develop a more permanent-culture.  


We explore how we as humans and designers can provide all of the goods and services we need to live abundantly well — and do it in such a way that we leave the planet in better condition than we arrived on it.


If each successive generation had left the planet in better condition, we would be living in a very amazing world today.


The fundamentals, the principles, and how one applies these to every-day living are the key to understanding permaculture at a useful level.


Midwest Permaculture use lectures, design exercises, hands-on experiences, videos and open-frank discussions to help our students anchor their own understanding of this life changing approach to designing an authentic way of living on this planet.  It’s not just about our gardens or homes.  It is about the whole picture.  


Midwest Permaculture was started with the belief that permaculture was an ethical-based design tool that could be applied to most challenges facing us in the 21st century.  We felt that this brilliant approach to creating security and abundance on our planet needed to be shared with the larger culture.


Though the word ‘permaculture’ is not a household word yet, it is becoming more known in the greater culture.  There are mainstream horticulturists, gardeners and farmers who are starting to embrace permaculture thinking and designing as a clear alternative to many of the established methods of growing.  The results of permaculturally designed plant systems are providing demonstrative yields without pollution and degradation to soil and land.


Permaculture is the great equalizing language that cuts across so many divisions in our culture.  If you are a person that cares about other people, about the condition of our planet, and about the future, then it matters little the reasons or the way you have come to those values.


A tip for those who garden in a climate where it freezes in winter: Season extenders, as a part of permaculture design, offer a variety of hoop-houses, cold-frames and other frost/wind protection techniques with the goal of increasing our yields while minimizing the work typically required to get those yields. If we create a very simple cold frame or low tunnel to start plants earlier in the spring. Now we just doubled our production from 4 to 8 weeks with a little protection in the spring. And what if we constructed some kind of added protection in the fall as well, before the frost hit, and ended up getting yet another 4 weeks of production?  We just tripled our yield with a little help from our season extenders.




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