What is SoulpatchSOULPATCH is an interactive garden space demonstrating a variety of growing methods and natural building techniques. Initially created as engaging interactive educational programming at Summer Camp Music Festival, the development of SOULPATCH was initiated to evolve over time.

The original plan still stands, to complete enough basic infrastructure to transition the once-a-year focus into an outdoor classroom setting that can facilitate weekend workshops and eventually permaculture design courses. The project has arrived at the end of Phase 2, and is now launching Phase 3, inviting neighboring organizations and collaborators from the Midwest region to participate in a range of ways including the expansion of educational offerings.

The SOULPATCH mission is to openly collaborate with educators, organizations and businesses to demonstrate a variety of growing methods, natural building techniques, and permaculture systems. Our mission exists to support a vision of strong communities engaged in the social and economic health of local bioregional food culture.


Over time, SOULPATCH has evolved, building on the success of each previous year. Explore the timeline below and observe the growth and expansion!






SOULPATCH has been developed from the sweat and grit of extremely dedicated individuals and the generosity of many organizations who have tirelessly given their expertise, time and donated vital resources.​

  • Diverse Metamorphosis – Peoria, IL

  • Partners with Nature – Peoria, IL

  • 7 Circles Heritage Center – Edwards, IL

  • Eagle Ridge and Friends – Peoria, IL

  • Wake the Farm Up – Indiana

  • Clear Creek School House – Kentucky

  • ThePOOSH.org – International

  • Hands On Earth Permaculture – Kentucky

  • Cincinnati Permaculture Institute – Ohio

  • Soul Springs – Michigan

  • Permaculture Action Network – California, Michigan, Kentucky

  • Orion Organics – North-Central Illinois

  • The Sun Foundation – Illinois 

  • Mitten Exotics – Grand Rapids Michigan 

  • Sylvatica Forest Farm – Kentucky 

  • Sylvics Forestry & Nursery – Peoria Illinois 

  • Recycled Glass Globe Lights provided by Mack Glass – Champaign, IL

Pallet Materials provided by Community Workshop and Training Center in Peoria, IL.

Media curation, photography and promotions support from Level Up Management. Photography support from Joshua Albanese, Jason Kaczorowski and many more.  

Individuals from across the region including but not limited to: Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois​

And the continued support and trust from Summer Camp Music Festival and Three Sisters Park. 


What is Permaculture?

The term permaculture was developed and coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education’s Department of Environmental Design, and Bill Mollison, senior lecturer in Environmental Psychology at University of Tasmania, in 1978. 

The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture”, as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.

It has many branches that include, but are not limited to:

  • Ecological Design

  • Ecological Engineering

  • Regenerative Design

  • Environmental Design 

  • Architecture

Permaculture also includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions.”

Bill Mollison

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Psychology at University of Tasmania

The 12 principles of permaculture most commonly referred to are first described by David Holmgren in his book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability (2002). They include:

  • Observe and Interact

  • Catch and Store Energy

  • Obtain a Yield

  • Produce No Waste 

  • Design From Patterns to Details

  • Integrate Rather Than Segregate

  • Use Small and Slow Solutions

  • Use and Value Diversity

  • Use Edges and Value the Marginal

  • Creatively Use and Respond to Change

  • Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback

  • Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services


Growing and preparing food is an integral part to the SOULPATCH vision. Back in 2015, as the first permanent gardens were being designed and built, the first earth oven was constructed and nestled under a 10×10 temporary pop-up tent to provide food for the SCMF family during the festival. The oven, the sixth constructed by the group, was built by co-founders of the international natural building network, thePOOSH.org. It was built in four days as part of a Natural Building workshop. After collapsing in 2016 because of prolonged direct rainfall, the oven was rebuilt and has become the warmth, the heart and fire, of the common safe space that SOULPATCH serves as for the festival-goers. 

The oven now resides under a beautiful round-wood timber-framed structure that has quickly become a permanent kitchen space, open for the public during weekends where there are no events scheduled. In the next few years, we hope to harvest organic produce grown on-site at SOULPATCH to prepare and cook in the oven, providing a truly hyper-local and unique food experience.

Since its conception, Leah, Loren, Michael and Joana have come up from the mid-Appalachian foothills of Kentucky to serve local, organic, healthy food from the 100% wood-fired earth oven. The popular pão com chouriço, or “chorizo stuffed bread,” is a traditional street food in Portugal, where Joana immigrated to the USA from. 

Make sure to swing by to get some Portuguese street food and a local herbal iced tea this year!