Archive for the ‘Simple Living’ Category

The Kirksville Permaculture Education Center has arrived!

By this point, most of us are aware that we have been on the wrong track, environmentally speaking, for many years and are still charging full speed ahead into the great incinerator of doom. Obviously, we need a new system.

For those of us who want to unplug from the machine, Permaculture offers an answer. It’s a comprehensive system designed to create agricultural and lifestyle systems that can ecologically sustain themselves. Indefinitely.

An answer to our crisis, according to Permaculture, would involve creating systems of human life that replicate the self-sustaining systems of nature. Relying upon the city to bring you water, a supermarket to sell you food, and electricity to produce your power means there are a lot of external environmental costs you don’t see on the surface. Meanwhile, you could catch your own rainwater—treating and reusing it, grow your own food from a garden and/or livestock (or buy locally) and produce your own renewable power—or don’t product it at all.

There are three elements to Permaculture (according to Wikipedia) are:

  • Earthcare – recognizing the Earth is the source of all life, that Earth is our valuable home, and that we are a part of Earth, not apart from it.
  • Peoplecare – supporting and helping each other to change to ways of living that do not harm ourselves or the planet, and to develop healthy societies.
  • Fairshare (or placing limits on consumption) – ensuring that Earth’s limited resources are used in ways that are equitable and wise.

Now, a few kind folks called Jerry and Michelle have started the first ever Kirksville Permaculture Education Center! They are still getting their feet off the ground, but they plan to offer free classes, give tours, and offer knowledge and support for anyone interested in Permaculture and sustainable living.

I worked at KPEC a few weeks ago doing some digging, and they live in a lovely house out by HyVee with a salvaged piano and a lively little kid named Oliver. They even fed me a delicious lunch! If you have some free time, hit them up and get your hands dirty:

These guys are run entirely run out of pocket and by donation. Donate here. If you want to help out and do some gardening, look here for jobs.


Ten Unique Ideas for Sunshine Merriment!

If you ever lived through the biting winds, icy shivers, and numb-fingered winters of the Midwest, then you know how to appreciate these newfound spring days. With the air newly abloom with sacred warmth, I thought I would conjure up a few adventurous ideas to inspire your spontaneous side to rise to the challenge of having fun outdoors! We’re done watching movies and drinking hot chocolate inside. ‘Tis time to rise up and embrace the sunshine!

Outdoor fun not only offers us a way to reconnect with nature. It proves that we don’t need to buy our way into having fun. We can begin to become self-reliant by creating our OWN wonderful times!

  1. Climb a tree. You could read a book up there, or maybe you could bring a notebook and do some people-watching.
  2. Meditate or do yoga under a tree (I find these activities immensely easier when I’m outside). Or in a pasture. If you want to take a slightly different route, hold an outdoor séance with a few friends.
  3. Go CAMPING. Try to find someplace slightly uncrowded. Personally, I think crowded campsites kind of ruin the atmosphere. Fall asleep under the stars. If some people have instruments, a music session would be in good taste. (…outdoor dance party, perhaps…?)
  4. Grab some chalk. If you’re above the law, perhaps a can of spray paint although it’s probably not the most eco-friendly option. Head to an abandoned part of town. Make SURE it’s abandoned, because graffiti-ing on someone’s property would probably be rude. Make a stencil beforehand if you want to ensure your art’s splendid-ness. Or, if you’re not one to plan ahead, just freestyle!
  5. Play Tag, Hide-and-seek, or Sardines in the dark with some friends. Or my favorite, lava monster. (that’s when everyone runs around on a playset except one person on the ground who tags someone who then becomes the next lava monster)
  6. Sit in the grass and read a book out loud to a friend or two. I find Harry Potter books ideal for this, because the Dursleys’ voices have fantastic potential for imitation, especially because of the British accents.
  7. Work in a garden. (For Kirksville-ians, I’d recommend looking into the Kirksville Permaculture Education Center or the Communiversity Garden, which meets Thursdays in MG 1096 and generally does garden work on Saturday mornings/early afternoons)
  8. Grab some paints (or make your own milk paint to avoid chemical vapors), brushes, a surface of some sort, and find a sunny hilltop.
  9. Search around for some abandoned buildings. Enter at your own risk. This will ensure an adventure, if only for the fear-factor adrenaline rush.
  10. Visit an intentional community or eco-village in your area. With the sun out, they are now in visitor-accepting mode and will probably give you a tour over a weekend if you call ahead. Lean about alternative and sustainable living. For Kirksville, look into the Possibility Alliance or Dancing Rabbit. Here’s a directory of all the communities in Missouri.

Any ideas to add? Comment!

Want to learn how to do some things?

Haven’t you always wanted to learn how to can your own food so you can have organic, locally grown tomatoes even in the middle of winter? How about how to build your own house out of adobe or cob? Fix your bike? Make cheese and sourdough bread?

I present to you the Possibility Alliance‘s schedule for spring, summer, and autumn classes. If you haven’t heard of the Possibility Alliance, they call themselves  “an educational center practicing simplicity, self-reliance, service and gratitude.” In a nutshell, it’s a homesteading experiment in La Plata that values sustainability and service to the community. The home runs on no electricity and they make almost everything they use, down to their candlewax. These people have hosted thousands of visitors at their home who wanted to learn from them. Their guiding statement is to live so that all life can thrive. Simple and powerful. If you haven’t visited, I’d highly recommend it. They are very down to earth and enthusiastic about their mission. But just a warning-your overall perception and values might shift a little!

In addition to these classes, which last just a few hours each, you can also head over for a tour on the second Saturday of each month starting in April and ending in November. And if you want to spend some time learning hands-on, come by on the last Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a Volunteer Day. Remember to call the folks at the Alliance for registration and to pack a bagged lunch.

Here you are, mark your calendars because the first classes are starting within the next week or two!


There you are. Feel free to print this out if you want to reference it later! I will leave you with the passionate words of Ethan Hughes, who runs the Possibility Alliance with his wife Sarah.

“I know that if [the roof] fell on me right now, I would be content. I feel like I’m living my life to the fullest, and I go to bed feeling very content. I see that what a lot of people are lacking is not food, shelter or clothing. I have friends who have their Ph.D’s, and they’re not content. I think content means living everything that’s in our heart, no matter what the risk.”

For more info on the Possibility Alliance, check out the following links:

“Radical Simplicity”
Testimonial from a former resident
My Index article
Ethan Hughes audio interview
The Superheroes (The Alliances serves as headquarters for a volunteer group of bikeriders who ride around the country to do free service)

You can also contact the Possibility Alliance at:



28408 Frontier Ln. La Plata, MO 63549