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Permaculture subsistence in the suburbs and beyond (a weekend course in Daylesford)

A two-day intensive with Artist as Family – May 18 & 19 at Tree Elbow University

Come and spend two days with Artist as Family at our home, Tree Elbow, in Central Victoria, in beautiful Djaara Country.

Share our harvest abundance, learn our alternative economic lifeways, experience our processes and observe the many relationships we’ve cultivated in order to turn our backs on industrial capitalism, while leaning ever further into what we call, ‘a flow of gifts economy.’

Artist as Family is just 20% reliant on the monetary economy. This weekend is offered for you to understand how we’ve crafted such a radical, economic-freeing lifeway for nearly two decades.

These knowledges are what we ordinarily share with our volunteers over the duration of a week, however this course is for people who are more time restricted; people who are looking to dive deep into the many knowledges and actions we employ to practice subsistence permaculture. While most of our teaching is non-monetary, we are offering this course to those with money who are looking to transition away from full money dependency, to become more economically resilient.

Over the weekend you will learn about biointensive food gardening, temperate food forestry,  walked-for food, medicine and energy, custodial forest practices, gift economy relating, managed herbivory, animal-centric poultry and bee systems, simple engineering, dynamic composting and grey water systems, salvaging and repair practices, community sufficiency, and most importantly our relationship with Mother Country.

The course runs from 9am Saturday 18 May to 4pm Sunday 19 May. All meals provided. Please note, this is not a residential course; you will need to find your own accommodation for Saturday night. There are many short term accommodation options in this region. We are experienced guerrilla campers, so if camping is your preference, we know of many spots you can pitch a tent nearby.

While with us, you will need only a backpack, water bottle, journal, pen, and camera. If you need to bring your phone, please keep it on silent during the weekend or better yet, use the time as a digital detox.

The course is designed for adults but older teenagers are welcome too. There are three scholarship places available for young adults (under 30 years of age), so please get in touch to learn more.

The food you will be eating over the weekend will be Artist as Family’s neopeasant produce, therefore mostly a locavore, organic diet. It will mainly cater to gluten free and vegetarian diets, though there will be animal fats, meat and spelt sourdough options too.

At dinner on Saturday night, we will be joined by permaculture elders David Holmgren and Su Dennett, and you’ll be able to yarn around the fire with them.

The course is suited to anyone wishing to transform their cultural and economic paradigm, those who are curious about alternative economic models that are lived not just theorised, and anyone who wants to deepen their permaculture knowledges.

The course costs $250 and includes all meals.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to book your place or find out more.

We look forward to sharing our home, life and learnings with you,

Meg, Patrick, Woody and Zero

(Above images of Meg and Patrick teaching by Jordan Osmond – thanks Jordan!)


  1. Kate Beveridge says:

    This looks fantastic. Such a wonderful opportunity. I would love to attend but it just doesn’t work for me at the moment. I’ll share it with my friends.

    1. Thanks Kate, we so appreciate that. Hoping all is well on the farm xx

      1. Kate Beveridge says:

        Yep all is well, the farm community is growing and we are all good

    2. Yonah says:

      Will there be hunting in the course?

      1. Hello Yonah, thanks for your Q. Yes, hunting will be covered theoretically, but it’s not practical for all of us to go hunting.

  2. Claire says:

    How I wish I could participate, wrong end of the land, however look forward to seeing/ reading about it hopefully

    1. Thanks Claire, We’re heading north in winter, so might end up in the right end of the land and we could share a cuppa.

      1. Ninna says:

        Hi guys! I would love to attend! Is someone going from the southern-bay suburbs of Melbourne, I will need a lift😀🌻✨🫶🏾

        1. Thanks for getting in touch, Ninna. We’re so glad you’ll be joining us. We’ve sent you a message with the booking deets and suggestions for car-pooling.

  3. Lottie Goodlet says:

    So wish I could attend….but I live in Scotland …so there it is….I’ll continue to learn and be inspired by your posts.

    1. Thanks Lottie, we’d like to offer an online house and garden tour and we’re working on that. When it is available we’ll post here to let people know. Part of our family has Scottish roots. We love your home place. So beautiful!

  4. Kate says:

    This looks great, I came to a house and garden tour 5 years ago and it was so inspiring. I stayed in the permie love shack last time, is that still available I would need to stay for 2 nights as I would be coming from NSW.

    1. Thanks so much Kate, we have messaged you with some suggestions of accom. Looking forward to seeing you again.

  5. Samantha Wittenberg says:

    it sounds wonderful!!!

    1. We’re so looking forward to it. There is sweet energy brewing into it.

  6. Cari Taylor says:

    uughhhhh would love to be there – what a wonderful experience – I will share and keep the potential open

  7. Alex says:

    Hello! I would love to book a slot. I tried to email you Patrick but I got a mailbox full error from your side. Warm regards, Alex

    1. Thanks for the heads up about that, Alex. The inbox is sorted. Be great to have you join the course.

  8. Gerda says:

    Agh would’ve love to have been there, to learn from you. But alas I am on the other side of the globe. I am in South Africa.

    1. Good to hear from you, Gerda. Thanks for stopping by and reading these posts. Hopefully we can keep inspiring with our writing, though we accept it’s nothing like being in place, inside the thrum of Mother Country, communing with others and sharing stories, unscripted.

  9. Clare says:

    Would it be possible to use a wheelchair in the space? I’m very interested.

    1. Hello Clare, the course is between garden and forest ecologies, therefore not very accessible in a municipal sense. However, people can make the terrain accessible, so if you’d like assistance we can make that happen. The people care aspect is strong in the course, for everyone and all abilities. Our local shire has a Trailrider wheelchair, which we could see whether we can borrow for the weekend. Would that be helpful?

  10. Cláudia Varino says:

    Oh my, this sounds great! Wish I was near you guys! 😊

    1. Thanks Cláudia, this little planet is indeed a big place. Sending love to your neck of the woods.

      1. Cláudia Varino says:


  11. Patrick says:

    I hope you cover the tricky question of how one acquires a little piece of land to use in a relatively benign environment with access to irrigation 😉

    1. Yep, we love tricky questions.

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