Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sept 26th, 2015 - Join me for the Southern Michigan Permaculture Mixer!!!

(Another great poster by Graphic Designer/Forest Gardener PJ Chmiel

Apologies for the sparse blogging lately, but I've been insanely busy in all sorts of great ways. I've been doing Permaculture designs and consultations for several inspiring families who want to start taking responsibility and ownership for their families' food and waste, giving tours a few times a month, giving presentations on Permaculture and forest gardening, and helping to plan the Southern Michigan Permaculture Mixer, which I'll get to in a minute.

Another surprising bit of good news is you. You're actually reading this! At least a few dozen of you are. This blog now has about two dozen subscribers regularly reading, and quite a few finding it every week. It's been featured as a resource on Permaculture and gardening forums and blogs in 3 different languages! So, thanks to all who have encouraged me to keep working on my writing. 

And in any spare free time, we've been harvesting, storing, pickling, fermenting, and drying non-stop from the garden. For the last month, our yard has required less than two hours a week of maintenance on average, mostly mowing, but we could harvest and store food continuously if we had time. This year we're really verifying for ourselves that forest gardening truly is THE lowest-work and most rewarding kind of gardening you can do. We've even been talking about converting more of our annual beds to forest garden. 

So with all that going on, I have a dozen half-written posts that I'm excited to share, including;
My favorite gardening season recipe, "Super Fast Farm-house Pizzas," 
Using Permaculture to Design Aid Programs,
More info about Lillie House and our programs, 
and even more in the series on small ponds, which I'm trying to make the most in-depth and diverse set of perspectives and resources available online. 

(After much research and planning, the pond is now a work-in-progress!)

September 26th I'll be taking a break to attend the Southern Michigan Permaculture Mixer, a free event at the Gibbs House on WMU's campus in Kalamazoo. This great event is being put on by the SoMiPermamixer Planning Collective, Van-Kal Permaculture and the Western Michigan University Office for Sustainability. I've been helping out as one of the planners for the event, and I can say that it's a very exciting event. We'll have tours of the Gibbs House Permaculture Site, a work event, a showing of the film Inhabit, a potluck lunch and presentations on topics including forest gardening, homesteading, social Permaculture ideas, and building support networks. 

Best of all, one of our true Permaculture elders, Peter Bane, will be joining us and even giving a keynote address specifically for our community of Permaculture enthusiasts and professionals. Peter is author of the Permaculture Handbook, former publisher of Permaculture Activist Magazine, and an experienced designer and homesteader. 

Sunday the 27th, Peter will be giving an in-depth workshop here at Lillie House Permaculture Homestead, on Garden Farming: Designing the Permaculture Homestead.

"Long-term economic contraction is well advanced, and Michiganders are in the forefront of adaptation to it, but permaculture brings a powerful lens to developing resilient home economies that can enhance the well-being of people on every rung of the economic ladder. How can we create economic value when money is scarce, build natural and social capital for long-term prosperity, and create and occupy new niches in the emerging subsistence economy? We will look at the patterns, structures, systems, and practices that promote comfort and security for the home and homestead. This workshop, appropriate for rural, suburban, or urban dwellers, will cover the role of food, water, shelter, energy, and exchange in providing support for the family table. In doing so, we will touch on gardens, food storage, home work spaces, building rehab, and a host of technical approaches to water, waste, and energy. We will also examine the role of support networks in creating autonomous spaces amidst the decay of empire. We will undertake design exercises to strengthen our capacity to create resilient homesteads and to weave our own social and economic safety nets."

Peter Bane is the author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country (, and the long-time publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine ( has built a resilient homestead on 2/3 acre in Bloomington, Indiana over the past decade, and is now creating a 10-acre homestead in West Michigan. He serves on the board of the Permaculture Institute of North America (

For more information on both, check out: 

Thanks for again for reading, and I hope to see you at the Mixer. 


  1. The upcoming SoMi Perm events sound great! For those of us who can't attend, will there be any notes or recordings of the workshops available?

    1. Hi Karyn!

      Hopefully yes. We're working on arranging audio or video recordings of some of the sessions, especially Peter's talk. I'll also post some graphics and print-outs from some of the poster presentations.

  2. Fantastic! Thanks for whatever you can pass along!

  3. I wanted to post an update and say that the mixer was a great time and that we have video of Peter, so as soon as I can get access to it, I'll make sure to post a link. It was a great talk. I think we also have video of Paul Thomas, who also gave a great talk.