Ashram PDC – Frequently Asked Questions


What is a PDC? What topics will be covered?

PDC stands for Permaculture Design Course. This has been the standard format for permaculture training since the 1980s. If you undertake this course you will be joining a body of many thousands of PDC graduates around the globe. The traditional PDC is 72 hours, but most PDCs are now longer – this one is approximately 80 hours of contact time. Our PDC covers all aspects of permaculture design, and participants see permaculture in action at a range of working permaculture sites. In addition to this, our PDC also focuses on exploring how permaculture principles can be applied to all areas of life – not just a block of land.

Why run a residential PDC at an Ashram?

The Rocklyn Ashram is an established working environment of a designed community, actively engaging in many permaculture practices. Reflection, time to practice yoga, and a practical demonstration of frugal self-sustaining hard-working intentional community interwoven with nourishing spiritual practice are some advantages of undertaking a PDC at an Ashram. We ask that you please read the Ashram Lifestyle Information page prior to enrolling.

How much of the PDC does David Holmgren teach? Is he the main tutor or just a guest speaker?

This PDC draws from a wide pool of permaculture talent to bring you a range of tutors who are specialists in various aspects of permaculture. David Holmgren, the co-originator of the permaculture concept, is a major part of this PDC, however given that there is a range of tutors, no single tutor takes many sessions. David will be the main tutor for the equivalent of four days of the course including the visit to Melliodora.

Why is this course so expensive? / Why is this course so cheap?

We get asked both questions regularly… and the answer to both is that we make the course as affordable as we can.

We recognise that the fee is a lot of money for some. We understand that many people will struggle to afford to do this PDC. However for organic home-made food, accommodation, yoga, site visits and tuition, we think our fee is very fair.

Some past participants initially thought that the course was expensive but on reflection recognise the true value of the course.

Please consider applying for a scholarship as ways to reduce your costs.

How do I pay?

When making your payment, our preferred option is the direct bank deposit. Your booking is only complete when the funds arrive in our account.

PLEASE NOTE: If paying via Stripe there is a 3% additional fee to cover the fees.

I’m not in Australia, how do I pay?

Due to COVID-19 we have regretfully decided not to accept students coming from overseas. We’re sorry! 🙁

Is there concession price? Can I get a scholarship?

We do not offer concession prices but we do offer part scholarships on a needs basis via an application process. Please fill in this form before Friday November 27, 2020 to be eligible.

I do not live in the local area – is this PDC going to be useful for me?

We always encourage potential students to explore PDC options in their local area first, however as this is a residential course we do get students from interstate. PDCs in your local area can be particularly useful as the fieldtrips and much of the practical tutor knowledge will be specific to the bioregion – but the principles and understandings of permaculture are applicable anywhere. If there is no PDC in your area, you specifically want to undertake a residential PDC, the idea of combining yoga and permaculture appeals to you, or you are specifically interested in the wider application of permaculture, then this might be the PDC for you.

Please consider the environmental impact associated with flying.

Are there practical activities on this PDC?

The PDC is a mostly theoretical course, and with so much theory to cover there is limited time to get your hands dirty. However students will do a permaculture design in a small group – this is a very practical activity, but not the hands-dirty type!

Can I do this PDC as a non-resident?

Even if you live locally we encourage all participants to stay on site as meals and evening sessions are an integral part of this immersive course. There are no discounts for staying off site. The daily timetable begins at 8:30am (or 6am if you choose to do the early morning yoga) and the evening sessions often continue until 9pm.

What accommodation options are available?

All regular rooms are triple share in men or women’s dormitories.

Camping at the ashram is lovely. You will need to BYO tent and all equipment. If you are a couple, camping is a great option.

If you prefer your own space, there are a limited number of private rooms at an additional cost.

Whether you are camping, staying in a dorm or a private room, you will need to bring all your own bedding. You can borrow tents and bedding from the ashram at an extra cost.

How can I get there?

We encourage and help to facilitate car-pooling and train travel.

Click here for information on transport to and from the ashram.

Click here for Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner.

For those requiring a transfer to the ashram to meet check in after 2pm, we can meet you at Ballan station on Friday and transfer you to Rocklyn.

On completion of the course on Saturday, we can drop you off at Ballan station to catch the train to Melbourne.

If you have to drive to get to the venue, please let us know in the form (sent to you after you have registered), to indicate your willingness to offer a lift to others.

I’ve got special dietary needs can these, be accommodated by the ashram?

The ashram provides ethically sourced vegetarian meals. Gluten free and vegan diets can be catered for but you must advise the ashram in advance.

If you have additional specific dietary requirements click here to see the Ashram’s meal information.

On field trips ethically sourced meat may be included in the meals.

Can I bring some of my own food?

Yes, but please be aware that food is prohibited in bedrooms though a pantry storage room for residents is available. Please also note that there are no participant cooking facilities at the ashram.

Is internet available at the ashram?

Yes, but only in the computer room and at allocated times by prior arrangement with the ashram staff.

Will I have mobile phone coverage?

Mobile coverage is limited to outside the front gate of the ashram. In the case of emergencies you can be contacted via the ashram office. Click here for contact details.

Can my family visit me at the ashram?

Yes on the days when we have half days of classes. If your family wish to stay for meals this must be pre-arranged with the ashram and there will be a cost. Please contact the Ashram for more information.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Sometimes circumstances change and you are unable to attend a course you have paid for. If that’s the case, there are a few options available:If you notify us at least 21 days prior to the course commencement, we will refund your course fee minus a $500 admin fee OR you can apply the full amount as credit towards a future course.If you notify us less than 21 days prior to the course commencement unfortunately we cannot provide a refund, though we are happy for you to send somebody else in your place. Just let us know.Holmgren Design reserves the right to cancel or discontinue advertised courses/tours if there is an insufficient number of attendees or due to unforeseen circumstances. If we are forced to cancel a course, you will receive a full refund.