June Open House: Permaculture Design Tour and Cob Building Intro

What’s it like to live, work, and play every day as a permaculturist?  See our design updates and learn to make some cob!
cob feet 2

This one-day Open House will be on June 8th, 10am-4:00pm.
In the morning, we will take a walking tour of town and show you some of the neighborhood's examples of sustainable living – our wind turbine, rain gardens, and more. This interactive experience allows you to witness firsthand the commitment to environmental stewardship and quality essay. In the afternoon, we will feature an introductory tour highlighting some of our recent work on the CSC landscape, including a cob-making tutorial that exemplifies our dedication to sustainable construction practices.  And . . . stay overnight to take Midwest Permaculture’s Rocket Stove workshop on June 9th!

12:30 pmLUNCH
                              (meet at the Stelle community center)

We appreciate your contributions of $10 for the morning tour and lunch and $15 for the afternoon workshop. If you are coming for just the afternoon workshop, please arrive before the workshop begins.
Space can be limited, so please call or email to reserve a spot.  For more information on how to sign up, please click here.


Afternoon Workshop:
What’s it like to live, work, and play every day as a Permaculturist?
Our introductory tour and cob building intro will give you a glimpse into this world.

IMG_4996Mary-Kate Carter is a current intern who has been working to implement features of the permaculture design on the CSC property.  She will share our progress in the garden, pond, and chicken production, as well as her perspective in the continuing journey of building permaculture systems in the Midwest.  Mary-Kate is using her design skills from Austin Permaculture Guild (as well as Midwest Permaculture) in creating everything from chicken coops to food forests.

Midwest Permaculture’s resident intern Hayden Wilson will join us for the afternoon; Hayden has worked extensively in permaculture design and holds a Permaculture Teaching Certificate (more about Hayden can be found here).  


Get an insider’s perspective on our internship and survey the giant leaps we’ve made in making our design a reality.  

We will tour CSC’s 8.7-acre landscape that adjoins Stelle, focusing on our new developments, including our newly-planted linear food forest, water harvesting via a solar pump, new mobile chicken tractor, and more!  We will also have a hands-on cob-making tutorial to show how we made our earthen oven from the ground beneath our feet!

Stay updated on what our interns are designing & building via our blog.

Integrated Gardening Techniques and the Garden Co-op

This growing season marks the beginning of stepping-up our integrated techniques in the community garden on the CSC property, just west of Stelle.  It is part of our Permaculture Land Design.

Some quick background:  The community garden is a celebrated part of CSC’s history.  Each year, residents of Stelle (and the nearby neighborhood) can choose to become part of CSC’s Community Garden Co-op.  It works differently than most community gardens; rather than renting plots, the garden is planned and managed by a Garden Manager.  

A past year's garden planning meeting, where the

A past year’s garden planning meeting, where the “what to plant” and “who will be planting” is decided.

The Garden Manager holds a yearly garden planning meeting to get interested members’ input on what to grow and how much time they have to work in the garden. Members spend time throughout the season helping to mulch, plant, weed, water, and harvest.  The general rule for the co-op harvest has been:  work a little, take a little; work a lot, take a lot.

It has worked well for some years; however, it is still a lot of work, and plenty of members fizzle out in their volunteer hours when it starts to get scorching hot outside.  What happens?  The un-watered, un-weeded garden starts to give diminishing returns.


Enter:  Integrated Gardening Techniques!  Some dedicated gentlemen (Ernest and Hayden)  have begun to rethink how to get the garden watered and weeded, to apply Permaculture principles to the garden and make it even easier than before to grow more food than before.  We like to call it lazy persons’ gardening.  What, exactly, are they doing? Continue reading

April Open House: Applied Permaculture Demo

165486_10151414058102851_1770827148_nTake an in-depth look at how to build resiliency, one neighborhood at a time.  We will explore both cases of applying permaculture to the landscape–backyard examples as well as community endeavors here in Stelle.  We will demonstrate scaling-up:

  • from individual rain gardens to linear food forests
  • from backyard gardening plots to garden co-operatives
  • from backyard hens to pastured chicken production
  • and more!

In the morning, we will take a walking tour of Stelle and show you some of the neighborhood’s examples of sustainable living–our wind turbine, rain gardens, and more.  After lunch, we will tour CSC’s 8.7-acre property that adjoins Stelle, focusing on its current community use and future design aims, and will also touch upon how to design self-directed work enterprises and foster social permaculture.


This presentation will be a joint program by Rebecca Wilson, co-founder of Midwest Permaculture (shown right), and Ernest Rando, CSC member and permaculturist in Stelle.

12:30 pmLUNCH
We appreciate your contributions of $10 for the morning tour and lunch and $15 for the afternoon workshop.
Join us! For more information on how to sign up, please click here.

November Open House: Sustainable Home Tour

Handmade Thermal Mass Rocket Stove – Finished Concrete Floors

CSC Open House:  November 18th,
Sustainable Home Tour at the Malchows’ 

Come take an in-depth tour of  Wayne and Bev Malchows’ property!  They have implemented numerous sustainable features into their house and yard.  Wayne is a permaculture design course graduate and used his training to improve his home.  Learn how.

We’ll explore:

  • a thermal mass rocket stove (more about these),
  • their garage made of strawbales, 
  • an earthen plastered wall over Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks in the house, 
  • stained and finished concrete floors, 
  • and a permaculture planted yar

A 2 Year Old Willow Hedge – Free from Pond Over-growth

Making Cob for the Rocket Heate

1200 sq/ft. Home, AAC Walls, Weather proof exterior plaster, Earthen plaster on inside