In 1986, I rode my bicycle from Minneapolis to Macomb, Illinois. In Macomb, I spent a week cleaning stalls at the Pres Oder Stables, and seeing friends. I spent a lot of time thinking about permaculture -- although I didn't know the word -- and the adventure energized me. Back in Minneapolis, I did a comic I called "Altgeld Portfolio" about Altlgeld, a fictional college town which had found a way to thrive in a time when other small towns were dying. (John Peter Altgeld was an Illinois governor who sacrificed his career to behave with integrity toward labor, and toward three condemned activists who were framed for murder.)
I showed this thing all over the Twin Cities energy and environmentalist scene, but the nicest reaction I got was back in Macomb, where Rick Meloan told Joe Alexander that they should get John Long to travel around West Central Illinois buying up derelict VW Bugs, and bring them back to Alexander's farm for rehab.