Wheaton Labs

wheaton labs allerton abbey, natural building growing food, eating as a community

A place of permaculture experimentation and home to many Mad Scientists!

Paul wheaton leading and teaching people

Why Wheaton Labs?

Wheaton Labs is called that because in it abides the lead mad scientist, Paul Wheaton. He's always experimenting and leading experiments to gain world domination....with world domination meaning a world full of permaculture!

Experiments at Wheaton Labs:

There's a lot going on all year at Wheaton Labs, with new knowledge and technologies created all the time. Here's some of our ongoing experiments

  • Permaculture Design Course -- Two weeks of intensive study to understand the science and art of permaculture design.
  • Permaculture Technology Jamboree -- Two weeks of skill building and innovation to discover how to appropriately use energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • SKIP: Skills to Inherit Property -- A program to learn and be certified in homesteading and permaculture skills. Instead of learning through courses or books, it's learned by creating and doing a bunch of cool stuff!
  • Permaculture Bootcamp  is a way to learn and earn an acre at wheaton labs in about 24 months. And, you'll gain a bunch of skills in the process!
  • Ant Village. This is the main community on the lab where "Ants" each rent an acre on which to build their own home(s) and food systems.
pernaculture design course at wheaton labs montana alan booker

A proper Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has a well-defined syllabus. Most PDCs are crafted for beginners - and a lot of professionals get bored. Our PDC assumes that the student is desiring a course with a bit more substance and grit. This PDC is designed for scientists, engineers, educators or people with a lot of current knowledge of permaculture.

In terms of Mad Scientists, this is the course to take to give you a firm, in-depth understanding of the science of permaculture. Even if you have a lot of practical experience in various aspects of homesteading already, this PDC will move you past simply thinking in terms of isolated systems and into designing integrated, whole landscapes

permaculture tecnhology course wheaton labs montana

What says Mad Scientist more than technological innovation? The PTJ (Permaculture Technology Jamboree) is a place for: 

  • collaboration, experimentation and innovation to move permaculture technology forward
  • experiences for people new to permaculture technology
  • building homesteading skills

Attendees can wander among all TEN of the tracks and participate or observe as much or as little as they like. They can take part in the science, or learn by watching. The mad scientists (i.e. the instructors) will see a project to completion either with or without help.

This is the event to be on the front lines of permaculture innovation, from rocket ovens to earth sheltered greenhouses to innovations in natural building to solar technology. 

skip skills to inherit property wheaton labs montana

SKIP is a curriculum of experiences you can complete to prove you can do permaculture.  While a PDC  teaches you how to do permaculture design and analysis, SKIP is hands-on.  You are making things.

When you complete several things, you earn a badge.  Sixteen badges will make you PEP1 certified.  After several years of progress, you can be PEP3 or PEP4 certified.  At that point you are basically self-sufficient and can prove it.  Many older homesteaders don't want their property to turn into a strip mall or subdivision.  This program will connect qualified candidates with those landowners so you can skip the rat race and skip the debt.

garden master course at wheaton labs people learning gardening

Most Master Garden courses offered by state universities include large sections about pesticide use and safety and non-organic approaches to gardening. Not so with this course!

With the Certified Garden Master course, you will learn organic, veganic, no-till, and permaculture gardening knowledge and skills. This course will focus on soil and habitat-building for beneficial organisms and systems thinking for gardeners and farmers: how to manage relationships rather than just crops.

Our goal is to understand ecological functions and interactions within plant, soil, microorganism, and insect communities. You will learn how to identify and manage all the relationships that make up a healthy farm-garden-ecosystem--one that does not require pesticides or large off-farm fertilizer inputs.

bootcamp wheaton labs people shoveling, working, sawing, pealing wood, natural plaster

Want to be a mad scientist at Wheaton Labs? Want to learn how build and grow in a permaculture way? Bootcamp might be an option for you! Bootcamp is like WWOOFing with benefits. It's a way to take part in epic--and not so epic--homesteading and permaculture activities. And, if you stick around, you get your own plot of land to build and grow on!

This Program is For:

  • folks that wish to build hands on knowledge and experience
  • folks that have experience with other rural programs and like this style better
  • folks that long for community living
  • folks that are done with the rat race and wish to live here for a while, or maybe forever
  • folks that have a dream of homesteading someday, but they would like to get a feel of whether it is really for them
  • folks that have a powerful need to hang out and do permaculture/homesteading stuff with like minded folks for a while
  • folks that are bonkers about permaculture and want to build good things rather than be angry at bad guys
  • folks that know about what all we are trying to do here, and wish to throw their shoulder in to see it happen

Mad Scientists

Paul Wheaton

Lead Mad Scientist

Paul Wheaton, The Duke of Permaculture, is an author, producer, and certified advanced master gardener. He has created hundreds of youtube videos, hundreds of podcasts, multiple DVDs, and written dozens of articles and a book. As the lead mad scientist at Wheaton Labs, he's conducted experiments resulting in rocket stoves and ovens, massive earthworks, solar dehydrators and much more. 

better world book, paul wheaton ted talk, rocket stove and oven DVDs, permaculture cards, World Domination Gardening

Fred Tyler

Leader of Bootcamp

Fred has led the Bootcamp at Wheaton Labs for three years now. He's directed and taught skills ranging from organic gardening to woodworking to natural building. He is the coordinator of roundwood timberframe projects and food growing systems.

couch balcony rocket stove willowwanka

Lara Bigotti

Rental Manager

Lara became interested in Permaculture while living and teaching English in Japan. She worked on an organic vegetable farm in her hometown for two years after returning to the U.S., and then fulfilled her longtime dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. After participating in Wheaton Labs Bootcamp in September 2020, she returned to Missoula in February 2021 to take on the role of Event Coordinator and Rental Manager for Wheaton Labs. She is excited to learn more about gardening, natural medicine, photography & videography, and building.

Lara Bigotti

Josiah Kobernik

Assistant bootcamp leader / videographer

Josiah wheaton Labs

Josiah cobbled together a diverse background in commercial agriculture, horticulture, market gardening, raising livestock, homesteading, and other general build/fix skills before landing at Wheaton Labs in 2019. Since moving to the labs, he has taken to working with roundwood timber framing, earthen plasters, videography, rocket contraptions, and any other inventions he can get his hands on.

market garden, rocket stove, cob, earth-sheltered house

Jennifer Richardson

Assistant bootcamp leader

Jennifer Wheaton Labs

Jennifer Richardson is a former cattle rancher and current resident of Wheaton Labs. She helped build Allerton Abbey, the first wofati, and is now testing the thermal inertia of the structure. You can find out more about her recent activities on her permies.com thread.

rocket stove, natural floor and siding, small wood table crochet

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where exactly is Wheaton Labs? 

If I really love it at Wheaton Labs, can I stick around?

Can I bring my kids &/or spouse? Do I have to pay extra for them?

What about my dog?

Smokes?  Booze?  420 friendly?

What other things are nearby?

What should I wear/bring?

More questions?

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