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Spring Permaculture Design Course: What you can expect when… Taking Your PDC in Stelle

What you can expect when… Taking Your PDC in 

  These are the PDC Courses Hosted in Stelle - See our Schedule of all Trainings for Additional

Dates 2013   Click Below to Register Extended Work/Study Internships
April 27-May 4 Spring  Open -    $1,295   Stay on 5 weeks for $1,080 more 
June 25-July 2 Summer Open $1,195 before 4/25      Stay on 3 weeks for    $590 more
July 30 - Aug.9 Hands-on PDC Open - $1,590 before 5/30
  Stay on 4 weeks for    $790 more
Sept. 21-28 Fall Open $1,195 before 7/21   No Extended Internship offered
Jan.25-Feb.1,2014 Winter Reg. opens in September 2013   No Extended Internship offered

What you can expect are great people (local residents and fellow students), well-crafted classroom presentations, hands-on exercises, a close up look at many permaculture applications and installations, design exercises, demonstrations, great discussions, wonderful meals (mostly organic and local), starry nights, and more.  Read on for a quick picture summary…


About the Internationally Recognize PDC Course – What is Taught
How we Deliver this Powerful Training Experience – Regardless of Where we Teach
What to Expect at our PDC Courses in Stelle, IL 
Keep Viewing…or go to the bottom of the page for the written detail summary.


Our classroom is comfortable, light and airy.


Classroom Work is Broke Up with Various Exercises – This improves the Ability to Learn and Retain Information.


Weather permitting, we will take the classroom outside for some segments of the course.


We’ll take several trips to look at the many facets of permaculture design that make up the Midwest Permaculture site….Bill and Becky’s home.


For example, our front yard used to be mostly lawn. Now we have over 45 edible or other useful plants right here.

For example, our front yard used to be mostly lawn. Now we have over 45 edible/useful species of plants.  We walk everyone through and answer all questions.


  “This training had a relaxed and informal approach 
yet we learned so much. 
My husband and I loved it.” 
Carolyn - Public School Teacher for 16 years


And Where is Stelle, IL, Located?  (Click Here for Google Map)

Island of Stelle

We are located in Northeast Illinois in the heart of industrial agriculture. Stelle is the green rectangular island in the middle of what are typically empty fields for 8-9 months of the year.


Stelle and CSC 8.7 Acres

A closer look of the aerial view shows our streets, the location of Midwest Permaculture, and in the upper left corner is the acreage owned and managed by our local non-profit, Center for Sustainable Community. This is the property that we are implementing a permaculture design upon.

 Click on Image Below to view Permaculture Design in Early Stages of Development

CSC Design

Here is a quick aerial view of the design on this 8.7 acres. Every student taking a course with us will gain an intimate look and understanding of the full design and will even help to make a contribution to bettering this land.  Click on Picture to access the design as the elements of it are being described and progress made.


Addition Features of Every Training 


Free Camping Within the Community and Close to Heated Showers and Bathrooms




Three Meals per-day made from mostly Organic and Locally Sourced Foods – Vegetarian Options – Vegan too when Requested


 “I really enjoyed the content of the training, the hospitality,
and the sense of community we created.” 
Talia – College Graduate and First Year Medical School Student 


Nancy Lee Bentley - Truly Cultured

We have 3-5 different cooks – great chefs all – who prepare our meals. Nancy Lee Bentley lives in Stelle and is the author of Truly Cultured. Do you know that the least expensive and most healthful way to preserve food is by culturing it?

You can Check Out Nancy’s Book – Available on Amazon



Every student learns how to make, calibrate, and use an A-frame for marking contours for swales, ponds, roads and more.


Sight Level

We teach students to use a sight level (dumpy level) as well.


 “Doing the hands-on parts of the training really allowed me to fully understand
the permaculture concepts. “

Gina – (45) College Professor


After learning how to measure, mark and build a swale, we then DO IT…! This one will become a hugelkultured swale.


Video Below Explains what a Hugelkultured Swale is and how it Benefits the Environment


Swale (4)

And when Designed, Measured, Marked and Dug Properly….these Swales Really do Hold Rain Water…!!!


Meet Wayne and Bev Malchow and learn how they built their thermal mass rocket stove, their earth friendly home, a strawbale garage, and more. If the weather is cool enough they’ll fire-up the stove.


Cob Making

Students will make cob too. By learning to make cob one cannot only learn to build a thermal mass rocket stove, but a home and other structures as well. And it’s made will clay, sand, straw and water.


Rocket Stove

We’ll build a model rocket stove and fire it up to help understand the concepts and experience the ‘rocket’ sound first hand.


top-down view of rocket stove

A top-down look into the rocket stove – no smoke – lots of heat – very little wood = a great design. As a student, you will be involved in building it, and firing it.


Milton teaching the grafting workshop. Everyone makes a graft.


 “Stelle is a wonderful and welcoming place to hold this training.“ 
Catherine – Mom and Non-profit Business Administrator 



Student are invited to assist with the chicken duties and gain some first-hand experience with them.


Stelle Pond

Our Pond – We’ll learn a bit about pond building, pond ecology, aquaculture and the many benefits that ponds posses. This is also where we will be building our chinampas.


Click on Image to Learn More About Chinampas

Image of Chinampas

Learn about Chinampas – said to have been the most agriculturally productive system ever developed by humans (Mexico 1200 A.D.)



Willow grove

Explore the Black Willow Grove


Over the bridge

The Bridge Over our Creek. — Kelly Creek is part of the headwaters of the Vermillion river watershed. You’ll learn about this and how to find your own water shed.


Permaculture class in the orchard - Bill Wilson teaching

Hold Class During a Walk in the Orchard


 “I really appreciated the atmosphere that the teachers 
and students created together. “

Grant - Foreign Aid Worker from Africa


Wind Generator in Stelle

The Wind Generator the helps power the Stelle Water Treatment Plant


Hot air solar panels

Stelle has been called the solar capital of the Midwest because of all of the solar panels in town. But not all are for generating electricity. These hot air solar panels do an excellent job in the winter on this south facing wall.



Brew Sampling

If we are lucky, Milton will share some of his home brewed wines, mead, and beer.


Students doing design work

Throughout the training students will be involved in individual and group design projects. Doing permaculture design work is learning permaculture design work.


Another guest teacher is one of our PDC and Teacher Training graduates, Ernest. One of his interests is aquaponics.


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

PDC Graduation Day

Training Ends when Students Receive their PDC Certificate on Graduation Day


Details About our Trainings Hosted in Stelle 

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 with two other people. He learned much about farming and as much about working with others.

Bill was also the community garden coordinator for several years in the small, sustainably oriented community or Stelle, IL, where he has lived for over 34 years.

Now, as co-founder of Midwest Permaculture, he holds two PDC Certificates and two Advanced Certificates, one in Design and the other in Teaching.

He and Becky have hosted and taught at 40 PDC courses and dozens of other permaculture workshops.

More on Bill

 Bill Wilson of
Midwest Permaculture
Stelle, Illinois

 Additional Instructors

Milton Dixon of Midwest PermacultureMilton Dixon More… 


Milton Dixon holds a PDC and earned his Permaculture Teaching Certificate from David Jacke, author of the books, Edible Forest Gardens.  Besides being Midwest Permaculture’s tech support he is an avid urban permaculturist.  If we’re lucky, he will share some of his homemade wine with us. 



Becky Wilson is co-founder of Midwest Permaculture and will offer her insights throughout the week.  She is the lead designer for the Midwest Permaculture property (our home), and has her PDC certificate.

She earned her Permaculture Teaching Certificate with Rosemary Morrow, the author of our PDC Course textbook, The Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture




Becky Wilson of Midwest PermacultureBecky Wilson More…


“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 alltogether for me. Thank You.

Amy H. – U of Colorado Grad Student


“Thanks so much Bill, Becky and Milton!! I was so inspired by the course.  I’ve already integrated permaculture into a community project I’m working on.  After 25yrs 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.


Start and End Times – And Very Full Days
The on-site portion of our Stelle courses typically begin on a Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and ends the following Saturday at noon.  Even though students will have already completed up to 20-hours of certification studies through the webinar series, there are still 52+ hours of training ahead.  To fit the balance of the curriculum into only 8 days we start each morning 8:30 and run all the way through 9 p.m. There are long breaks for lunch and dinner… but students need to come prepared for a very full week of learning, designing, and fun.


“I thought the longer days would be a challenge for me but with such variety in how the course was delivered I never got stressed or bored.  Everything was so interesting, I didn’t want to miss a single session, even in the evenings.”

Elizabeth M. – Recently Retired Office Admin.

Group and Personal Design projects
For all PDC trainings, students work on various design exercises and projects, individually and in small groups. This is a requirement of certification and important to help anchor the learning experience.

Personal Design Project Invitation: If one of the reasons you as a student might be taking a PDC Course with us is to learn the skills necessary to create a permaculture design for your own home or property, we invite you to bring information about your site to the training.  For example, bring a sketch or map of your property in fairly accurate proportions and/or an aerial view, a plant list of what is on your property now (does not have to be exhaustive – what are the dominant species – place them on the sketch), note the sunny and shady parts of the property and what direction is south, and what your current dreams or visions for the property might be.  There will be some time over the 8-days where individual/personal projects can be explored. 

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 when possible, locally raised foods will include a vegetarian option.  For other dietary needs or preferences, we most often can accommodate but we do need to know well before the course begins and students may be asked to supply some of their own specialty items.

Free Camping
As part of the price of tuition, free camping space is provided with toilets and showers nearby in heated spaces. Remember, students will only be sleeping in their tents.  The rest of the time will be spent in the classroom or community dining room so elaborate camping set-ups are not required.

Rooms in Stelle – $150 for the Week
Some of our fellow residents in Stelle are delighted to rent out their guest rooms for this modest fee for the whole week.  All are a short walking distance from the classroom.  Students can reserve a room when they register for a training directly on our E-Commerce site.  Please email Becky (or call 815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216) if you have questions.

What to Pack & Other Details
About 3-4 weeks before a training begins, students receive more information concerning 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.

2010 Winter Course Graduates 


Begin The Training Now with Pre-Course Studies 

A $250 Deposit holds one’s seat in a training while receiving our Foundations of Permaculture webinar series which includes:

  • 14 Hours of Recorded Webinars
  • The Text: Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture
  • Links to over 3-dozen selected handouts
  • and the 150-Question Study Guide.

To receiver the early registration discount students will then want to pay in full before the early registration period ends.

You may register online (see links below) or Call Becky at 815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216.

  These are the PDC Courses Hosted in Stelle - See our Schedule of all Trainings for Additional

Dates 2013   Click Below to Register Extended Work/Study Internships
April 27-May 4 Spring  Open -    $1,295   Stay on 5 weeks for $1,080 more 
June 25-July 2 Summer Open $1,195 before 4/25      Stay on 3 weeks for    $590 more
July 30 - Aug.9 Hands-on PDC Open - $1,590 before 5/30
  Stay on 4 weeks for    $790 more
Sept. 21-28 Fall Open $1,195 before 7/21   No Extended Internship offered
Jan.25-Feb.1,2014 Winter Reg. opens in September 2013   No Extended Internship offered

Other Discounts:

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: (Registered and taking full hours)             $900
Seniors:    (Over 62 and on fixed income)             $900
We have several slots available for the student and senior discounts in each training.

Call Becky for more information, to set up a group,  or to register (815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216).

  Payment Plan:    If making payments would support you in being able to take a training, call Becky (815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216) to make these arrangements.

 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 handouts 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 begins there will be a full refund less $365 and the student still receives 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 towards 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 three 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.
  • We host occasional permaculture reunions for our graduates and their families.
  • 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 815-256-2215, message or text us at 815-782-2216.

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