TRI + Created for More Ministries = Permaculture

The Resiliency Institute is excited to expand our Growing Food Security program by working together with Created for More Ministries on an inspiring “Seeds for Change” Permaculture Garden project at the Illinois Youth Detention Center in Warrenville, IL!

Wheaton College student, Isabella Wollmow, approached The Resiliency Institute about her idea for the project after seeing our Ferry Forest Garden as she passed it on her way to and from volunteering with her Juvenile Justice Ministry at the youth prison, which is right down the street from the garden on Ferry Rd. in Warrenville. We happily jumped on board and the “Seeds for Change” Illinois Youth Center Permaculture Garden Project was born!

Permaculture Design is about systems thinking, integration, and closing loops, so one of the goals of the garden is to include all the systems of the youth center, from the faculty and administrators, to the counselors, to the guards, volunteers, culinary staff, maintenance, visiting families, and the incarcerated youth themselves, so they can all enjoy time in the garden and experience the mental and physical benefits that come with time spent in the outdoors. We plan to include therapeutic and sensory plants, soothing and uplifting herbs, native plants and plants for pollinators, and of course lots of edible, highly nutritious, nurturing food plants in the garden for all who enjoy use of the space. There are an existing gazebo and cookout area in the space that will stay, and we’d love to create an outdoor classroom space to be used for school classes as well as meditation and mindfulness sessions, nature therapy, yoga and more.

TRI Growing Food Security Logo DONATE HERE

One of our favorite times was when clearing out a muddy area and one of the youth was happily relishing his discovery of worms buried in the debris and causing the rest of the youth to scream and recoil in horror–but only for a short while!  After explaining the significance of worms to our food supply, it only took a few minutes for ALL of those in attendance to begin gleefully “rescuing” the worms from the clearing to the raised garden beds from The Growing Works Project last year which we had all just replanted.

The Permaculture garden project not only offers opportunity for learning life skills, job skills, hobbies, nature connection, community connection, and the increased health, independence and food security that comes with growing our own food, but it also offers the opportunity for all involved to learn some Permaculture principles and be inspired by discovering how we can apply them to all areas of our lives, including successful transitions upon completion of time served. Some of the guiding principles of the project that we can apply to our everyday lives in addition to using in the gardening project are:

*Integrate rather than segregate

*Use small and slow solutions

*Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

*Produce no waste (the problem is the solution)

*Use and value diversity

*Use edges and value the marginal

*Creatively use and respond to change

Learn more about the Seeds for Change Permaculture Garden Project and its many potential benefits that Isabella shares in this video. If you’re as excited as we are to support this beneficial project, please consider making a tax-deductible donation toward the project  HERE, and reach out to us or subscribe to our email newsletters for project updates and to watch for future opportunities to support programming in the garden. We are grateful to be part of this work and we appreciate your support for the project, the changes it can inspire in our youth, and the changes they can make in our communities and our future!

Living Seasonally, Observing, and Interacting With Our Yards and Gardens in Winter

January this year seemed to be having a bit of an identity crisis. We had the usual cold, snowy January days, then some extremely cold days, and then, bam! Spring! I was SO excited for spring to be here so soon! I’ve never been a big fan of winter and I usually view it as something I just need to get through. I hunker down and wait it out. I go into my own version of hibernation that involves a lot of hot tea, homemade soup, hoodies or sweaters, fires in the fireplace, and leaving the house as little as possible. I was overjoyed that my winter wait was over! The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and temperatures were in the fifties! I was ready to go hiking or go outside to work in my garden! I was all jump-up-and-down excited inside when I first thought of my garden, but then mild anxiety struck. My garden! I was so behind!

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Suburban Permaculture Garden Walk & Learn

Last Monday we spent the evening with Andrew & Teri Hill at their home in Wheaton along with many fellow suburban permaculturists. The Hill’s suburban home has been transitioning from lawn to permaculture garden since about 2010, soon after they earned their Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) from Wayne Weiseman, Bill Wilson, and Mark Shepard.

Hill Suburban Permaculture garden walk & learn 72114 Hill suburbran permaculture Garden Comfrey Swale

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Forest Garden on McDonald Farm

TCF McDonald Farm signWe are designing and installing the FIRST FOREST GARDEN  in Naperville, IL on The Conservation Foundation McDonald Farm!

A forest garden is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in plants which can include edible, medicinal, fiber, dye, and fuel  producing trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.  Companions or beneficial plants are included as insectaries, pest confusers, dynamic accumulators, nitrogen fixers, and mulch plants. Together they create relationships to form a perennial forest garden ecosystem able to produce high yields of food for human consumption, ultimately with minimal maintenance.

The McDonald Farm forest garden will be a demonstration design for people to interact with and learn from and serve as an inspiration for transforming suburban lawns.   We will also be using this project as a hands-on learning opportunity for our upcoming Permaculture Design Course, Food Forest Workshop, and Homestead Design Workshops.

We welcome volunteers who are interested in supporting this project and are available to donate skills and labor between August and October.

Enjoy the many photos Jodi and Karen took as they were collecting information for the site assessment.

Treeline that will become the forest garden
Treeline that will become the forest garden

Jodi identifying xxx
Jodi identifying goatsbeard

Thistle
Nodding Thistle

Bluebird
Barn Swallow

Treeline from another angle
Treeline from another angle

Rain barrel and rain garden at Clow House
Rain barrel and rain garden at Clow House

Mound of prairie dirt needing to be incorporated into treeline.
Mound of prairie dirt needing to be incorporated into treeline.

Rocks to move and find uses for
Rocks to move and find uses for

Area to be cleared once we get rid of the poison ivy.
Area to be cleared once we get rid of the poison ivy.

Iris growing in the treeline
Iris growing in the treeline

Thistle
Nodding Thistle. Beautiful, but still a THISTLE
Look what Karen found!
Karen found one of the farm residents:  Bufo Americanus

 

From Lawn to Edible Forest Garden

Now those of you who attended our presentation at the Green Earth Fair last Sunday can’t say we don’t practice what we preach.  One side of my Naperville front lawn has been transformed into an edible forest garden!

Michelle's Edible Forest Garden
Michelle’s Edible Forest Garden

It all started in the fall when Jodi needed to complete a landscape design for a class she was taking and I volunteered my front lawn (How nice of me, right?).  She created a beautiful edible design that I was eager to implement.

Late fall, when the City offers free leaf collection, I went around the neighborhood and collected about 40 lawn and leaf bags full of leaves and as much cardboard as I could.  This hung out in the garage (sorry to my husband who had to park in the driveway for a while) until Mama’s Magic Manure delivered 3 cubic yards of composted horse, sheep, goat, duck, geese, chicken manure on December 13th.  On December 14th I spent several hours sheet mulching and let that do its thing until this spring.

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