Permaculture Bootcamp

Learn permaculture skills through a little hard work...

permaculture bootcamp 2023
wheaton labs horizon

We have 220 acres.

We spend our days gardening and building stuff to our standards. In the winter we heat our buildings with rocket mass heaters (we have more than a dozen).  We are the host for the annual "Permaculture Technology Jamboree" - and in a way, the bootcamp builds those same things all year.  We even get quite a few experts stopping by from time-to-time.

We have a different way we do things.  Our gardens feature a lot of hugelkultur. The homes we build are made of logs and mud (  zero cement, zero paint and zero glue).

People come to hang out in the bootcamp for a week or two to immerse themselves in this form of living.  Some come for months.  Some come for years.  

permaculture bootcamp
wheaton labs permaculture bootcamp

Let's make sure you are in the right place:

permaculture bootcamp: immerse yourself in 40 hours a week for a few weeks or months. Get a warm bunk and organic food with your gardening and natural building experiences. This web page is for you!

the sepper program: Rent a humble cabin for a few days or weeks. Participate in the bootcamp as much or as little as you like. Maybe you do some online work. Maybe you come as a couple and one person works while the other is in the bootcamp. For more information click here.

ant village: rent an acre for a year. Build your own humble home and garden. For more information
click here.

Take a glimpse in to the daily life of a boot:

Some boots come for a couple of weeks and end up staying much longer ...

2+ years at Wheaton Labs

1.5+ years at Wheaton Labs

1+ year at Wheaton Labs

1+ year at Wheaton Labs

Natural Building


Permaculture technology

Cooking, foraging, preserving, and eatin'

Days off, hanging around in town

Organising and attending workshops and events

    Come for just a week...  

Build your permaculture skills to the point that you can build your own shelter and create your own permaculture paradise.

For people joining the bootcamp now, we are offering some additional incentives!

  ...or stay for a while!

  • eight weeks in the permaculture bootcamp to get a ticket to our Permaculture Design Course or some of our other events.

  • four months in the permaculture bootcamp to get more than a year of rent in Ant Village

  • two years in the permaculture bootcamp to get  "deep roots" - a lifetime of rent on an acre

Experiences include:

Growing food: organic and better

Using techniques that replace irrigation, petroleum dependence, and other gick with permaculture techniques, like:

  • hugelkultur
  • mulching
  • polyculture
  • lots of taprooted species started from seed (instead of transplanting)
  • building rich soil
  • raising humidity for more morning dew
  • terraces, berms, swales, TEFA
  • diversity and edge
  • strategic shade
  • food forests and perennial systems
  • earthworks, ponds, water management

Food preservation

  • solar dehydration
  • fermentation
  • canning
hugelkultur bed illustration

Hugelkultur beds use buried wood to create a garden that is self-tilling, self-watering, and super fertile! 

terraces and berms at wheaton labs permaculture bootcamp

Berms, terraces, and swales add texture to the landscape, allowing for the strategic harnessing of wind, water, and sun.

Natural building

wofati at wheaton labs permaculture bootcamp

One of Paul Wheaton's own feats of eco-building genius, Wofatis are contructed almost entirely from sustainably harvested materials from the surrounding woodland, and they are able to store enough thermal mass to heat or cool the structure year-round! 

composting toilet outhouse at wheaton labs permaculture bootcamp

Willow Feeders are moveable structures containing composting toilets, used to produce compost for deep-feeding willow trees. Why waste "waste"?

Alternative energy

  • rocket mass heaters (we currently have 12 operating rocket mass heaters)

  • solar: photovoltaic, using 12v and inverter systems

  • solar: food dehydrator, cookers

  • haybox cooker

  • rocket stoves, rocket cooktops, rocket griddles, rocket ovens, rocket kiln and slow cooker

...And Much, much more!! 

rocket kiln permaculture bootcamp

Rocket technologies (heaters, stoves, ovens, kilns, forges, etc.) use about 10% of the wood that their conventional counterparts would.


Here are some of our recent projects:

take a quick stroll through the labs with paul, to see all that we have going on:

Permaculture Bootcamp Schedule:

Five Days a Week:


    7:00amEverybody starts making breakfast.
    7:50am Tummies are full and kitchen is clean.
    8:00amMorning work begins.
    NoonEverybody makes lunch.
    12:50pmTummies are re-filled and kitchen is once again, clean.
    1:00pmAfternoon work begins.
    5:00pmEverybody starts making dinner.
    7:00pmDinner is complete and kitchen is fabulously, spotlessly clean.

    9:30pm - 6amAll quiet for sleepy time.

That's 40 hours per week working on projects. Most of this work will be interesting to people who like Permaculture. 

life at permaculture bootcamp

Fiddly Details:

Food staples will be provided, consisting of a combination of organic-or-better store-bought staples and food provided by the garden systems developed in the Permaculture Bootcamp. 


Either party can end this arrangement at any time. There is no obligation to stay.


The 40 hours per week is called "project labor." All boots are expected to chip in to do the cooking for one another and cleaning up after one another.  Plus four to eight hours per week of "nest labor," that would include shoveling snow, deep cleaning, maintenance, garden harvesting  -  things of short term benefit to the boots community.  (Planting a garden to feed people months into the future falls into "project labor." Harvesting from a garden to feed yourself and other boots in the next few days falls into "nest labor.")

How to Join the Permaculture Bootcamp...

Part with the processing fee and then we will get the conversation going about "when do you wanna come out?" and "what do you want to learn while you're here?" and stuff like that. We'll then give you a list of upcoming dates to pick from, or you can just wait until you're ready - but the processing part is all done and out of the way!

(Reminder, this is a drug and tobacco free campus.)

Still have questions? Check out the

Bootcamp Fee for One Person

Bootcamp Fee for Two people

About Us:




Magdalene joined the Bootcamp in May 2021.  Although she had little experience with this type of work when joining, she is now pretty much the boss of everything. Check out what she is up to at her Bootcamp Journal.

magdalene permaculture bootcamp experience

Dez Choi



Dez has been a boot at Wheaton labs for almost two years!  He worked on the round wood wofati greenhouse and the solarium.  He helped to build the rock patio between the library and the Fisher Price House and the rolly shelves. Dez says "I do my best showing up with a smile and a water bottle, because attitude and hydration are keys to anything in this game."  Check out what Dez is up to on his Bootcamp Journal.

dez permaculture bootcamp experience

Paul Wheaton

Duke of Permaculture

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 feature-length movies, and written dozens of articles and two books. As the lead mad scientist at Wheaton Labs, he's conducted experiments resulting in rocket stoves and ovens, massive earthworks, earthen homes (called wofatis), solar dehydrators, a truly passive solar greenhouse, and much more. Get to know Paul a bit on his podcast or at his pseudo blog on Permies.

paul-wheaton's ted talk, books, movies, playing card

Fred Tyler

Bootcamp Leader Emeritus

Fred Tyler has led the bootcamp at Wheaton Labs for several years now. He's directed and taught skills ranging from organic gardening to woodworking to natural building. He is the supreme coordinator for roundwood timber framing projects and food growing systems.  See Wheaton Labs through Fred's lens.

permaculture bootcamp snippets

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where exactly is Wheaton Labs? 

Waiiiit, how many months do I need to be in Bootcamp to get land?

Will I get a luxuriant room, with a private bathroom that includes a jacuzzi tub and a personal valet named Jeeves?

Can I stay in my camper or RV?

7:00 in the morning is a little too early.  Can we start a little later?

I'm just really not a morning person.   I would prefer that we start at a time more like 10 or 11.  Surely we can do that and it can all be worked out??

Can I bring my kids?

What about my dog?

Smokes?  Booze?  420 friendly?

What should I wear/bring?

Can I pay the $100 now and hold a spot for the future?

If I come out and decide I don't like it, can I leave?

Can I get a ride from the airport (or bus station)?

When I am there, can I use a vehicle sometimes?

If I'm there working as a boot, can I hang out for the workshops?

What's this about a work trade for attending events?

Can you tell me more about the food?

Are there animal systems there now?

I heard that Paul is a monstrous douchbag asshole, so why on earth would I want to subject myself to that?

Is this an internship or apprenticeship?

How does this compare to the WWOOF program?

Are there ways to earn some money?

Can I call you and talk to you for a few hours about my mom's cat, Miss Stephanie?

How about if I call you and talk to you about being a boot and I don't mention the cat?

Can I go home for the holidays and keep my spot?

Will I get PEP BBs while in the bootcamp?

Why don't you just pay people to do this work?

More Questions?

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