Jodi, Bill Lorch, and I spent the morning capturing a swarm of Italian honey bees. Thanks to my husband Dan for taking the photos!
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!
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.
People have become increasingly concerned with the resiliency of our food, water, energy and economic systems and are looking for personal and community security. This has propelled a global permaculture movement that is permeating the United States and has made its way to the Midwest. Permaculture has traditionally been used to design systems for large land areas, but recently people have discovered how the principles can be applied to any piece of land or living situation.
The suburbs have been maligned for being wasteful with resources, and they are very wasteful, but since we cannot undo the suburbs, we have to figure out how to reduce their resource consumption. Suburban permaculture is the answer! We can apply permaculture ethics, principles, and design concepts to the suburban landscape to transform them into productive self-sustaining communities rich in social capital, and which are economically and environmentally resilient.
The Resiliency Institute is uniquely qualified to educate the suburban population on the application of permaculture, because this is where we live and work! We can help you detox from your lawn addiction, by designing an edible forest garden with a water management feature where you can relax and harvest your delicious fruits, nuts and vegetables. Share your harvest with friends and neighbors, invite them to help you preserve the harvest, and enjoy a harvest meal together - all great ways to foster community. Your children will experience a new environment rich in learning opportunities and may surprise you by eating their veggies.
Visit our course calendar.
The Resiliency Institute offers evening and weekend classes, workshops, and certification courses. Classes are taught by knowledgeable and experienced regional instructors with class sizes ranging from 6 -30 attendees. Whether you are a novice or an expert, you will find a class that is right for you.
Most education courses, unless otherwise noted, are taught at the Clow Education Center on The Conservation Foundation's McDonald Farm at 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road in Naperville, IL.
The word “permaculture” was coined and popularized in the mid 70′s by David Holmgren, a young Australian ecologist, and his associate / professor, Bill Mollison. It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.”
Permaculture is a design system based on observing nature for developing ecological landscapes, lifestyles and communities. "Permaculture is not a discipline in itself but rather a design approach based on connecting different disciplines, strategies, and techniques." (Hemenway, Gaia's Garden)
The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course is a training program that utilizes the teachings of Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Design System. The goal is to achieve a basic working understanding in ecologically-based planning, site design and management. A PDC provides a comprehensive introduction to Permaculture principles, applications and design practices as first set out by Permaculture founder, Bill Mollison. The PDC meets a common international standard as a foundational course for Permaculture practitioners and teachers. At The Resiliency Institute, the course is taught by Peter Bane, Rhonda Baird, & Keith Johnson over 3 extended weekends for a total of 11 days and 88 hrs.
Open your eyes to the world of foraging with our Edible Wild Plants Certificate. Each season a five to six week course is offered to teach you how to identify plants, what edible wild plants to look for, what part of the plant to harvest; how to harvest it, prepare it, and eat it. You will learn to identify over 200 species of edible wild plants from handling actual specimens and from seeing them in their natural environments.
The Edible Wild Plants Certificate courses (Taste the Trees, Graze on Greens, Feast on Flowers, & Sup on Shrubs) are taught both in a classroom and through site visits to various public and private locations to provide a comprehensive experience of the plants. To earn your certificate, you are required to take all four courses and pass four seasonal exams (using your notes and books) to demonstrate that you can identify edible (and poisonous) wild plants successfully. These courses will be offered each year, so if you miss one, you can take it the following year. Certificate courses are open to everyone, whether or not you’re pursuing the certificate.
Students prepare recipes during each course using edible wild plants to demonstrate their new knowledge and to share with classmates. A full year of recipes are compiled into a recipe book and given to each certificate recipient during the annual graduation ceremony.
Reskilling is learning the skills we need to become self-sufficient and resilient as individuals and communities during a time of economic and climatic change. These skills span the spectrum of land management; food production, preservation and preparation; sustainable living; community building; water management; renewable energy; and ecological building. Classes can be viewed by category or date on our course calendar.