Course FAQ’s ← Spiral Ridge Permaculture

Course FAQ’s

What is your cancellation/refund policy?

We know life happens.  Sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan and adjustments have to be made last minute.  There are, however, costs incurred for us, even before a course begins.  In an effort to be fair to all parties involved, we offer the following generous policy (many venues keep the full course fee if you cancel late):

We reserve the right to cancel a course, at any time, due to low enrollment or unforeseen circumstances.  If we cancel, all registered participants will receive a full refund of course fees and deposits.  If we have to postpone a course, you will have the option of getting a full refund or the ability to transfer the full fee to the new date.

If you have to drop out of a course, here are the rules…

  • If you notify us more than 14 days in advance, we will refund the full course fee minus the deposit amount for that particular course.  In the absence of a deposit amount (short courses) a 15%  fee will apply.  That deposit or 15% fee can be applied to a future Spiral Ridge course within one year.  We will keep it on our books as credit.  Alternatively, you can send someone in your place.
  • If you notify us less than 14 days in advance we will refund the full course fee minus the deposit amount for that particular course.  In the absence of a deposit amount (short courses) a 15%  fee will apply.  That deposit or 15% fee cannot be applied to a future course with Spiral Ridge and you cannot send someone in your place.

What is the course venue and accommodations like?

Most courses take place at Spiral Ridge Permaculture Homestead.  We have an outdoor classroom setting.  Some courses, during the coldest months, will be held at a nearby school.

We believe in making available the most cutting edge learning opportunities in the fields of permaculture and regenerative agriculture. We have a 9.25 acre off-grid ridge top homestead, that we have been transforming from a logged piece of land to a thriving, abundant ecosystem and permaculture demonstration site.   We integrate appropriate technology, edible annual and perennial gardens, pastured animal systems, water harvesting and distribution, natural building and more.  2016 will mark our 7 th year here.   However, we have been designing, learning and experimenting with permaculture for over 15 years on various farms and land holdings.

Spiral Ridge is our home and we welcome you here.  Our homeschooled kids will be milling about and involved in parts of the course, so expect to see them.

“Spiral Ridge is so inspirational!” – Lindsay Whiteaker, course participant

Spiral Ridge is located in rural Tennessee on the western highland rim.  We live at an altitude of about 1000 feet on a ridge.  We are fortunate to live in an area with a large Amish and farming community.  We are also neighbors with The Farm Community, one of the oldest intentional communities in the country.  Located within The Farm is a passive-solar, democratically run school, The Ecovillage Training Center, a Farm Store carrying many snacks, a beautiful creek-fed swimming hole, hiking trails, nice bike roads, a midwifery center and many small businesses.  If you are here for a longer stay we encourage you to check them out.

Course fees (for courses lasting more than 1 day) include rustic camping with composting toilets, outdoor (but private) showers, and a fire pit. (This does not apply to courses not held at our homestead)

Tennessee in the spring and fall is cool-cold and can be rainy.  Tennessee in the summer is hot, humid and buggy, Oh My!  Please consider housing if you are uncomfortable camping in this environment.  Please come prepared for rain (rain boots, raincoat).   Work boots, bug spray, sunscreen, bathing suit, sunglasses and a coat are all items you may need depending on the season.  There is a store on The Farm that carries many snacks and natural foods.   You must bring your own towels and soaps (biodegradable, if camping).  It is advisable to also bring a flashlight.  Wifi will sometimes be available at our homestead, but is limited.  If you need to get online, The Farm Store has wifi.  Cell phone reception is good.  We are, however, living off-grid, with a small solar system.  If the days are cloudy, there will be limited access to electricity for charging phones/computers, etc.

If camping is not suitable, we have an arrangement with our neighbors, just 10-minutes by bicycle, at The Farm EcoHostel.  They provide a full range of accommodations including dormitories, private rooms with shared bath, and private cabins.    They have free, fast unlimited broadband and plenty of solar electricity for charging your devices.  They even have bikes available to rent.  Spiral Ridge course participants get a 15% discount! For reservations, please contact them directly: inn at thefarm dot org or 931-964-4474. Credit, debit and Paypal accepted.  Their website is

If neither of these options work for you, please contact us for additional low cost options in the area.

What should I bring?

  • Camping gear if camping and tarps for rain protection
  • Towels
  • Insect repellant of choice (we have ticks, chiggers, mosquitos, and gnats)
  • Hat for sun/rain protection.
  • Raincoat and boots and work gloves (if you like to use them)
  • Flashlight!!!
  • Toilet articles – biodegradable preferred
  • Watch and/or travel alarm
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Snacks for between meals. (There is a small store located on The Farm that carries a variety of natural and conventional items for snacking.)
  • Musical instruments for campfire fun
  • A camp chair (if you have one)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Laptop (optional)
  • Thumb drive (recommended so we can share some of our resources)

What will we be eating?

Food offerings differ for each course.  Shorter courses and Weekend format PDC’s have lunch breaks for you to grab lunch nearby or bring your own.  This allows us to offer the courses at a lower cost to you.  Longer, more intense courses will often be fully catered.  This means two large meals per day (brunch and dinner) as well as snacks.  We believe you should be well nourished during your stay so that you may fully participate.  For that reason, when you sign up for a longer course, we will provide nutrient-dense and delicious, home cooked omnivorous meals.  As much as possible, the food is sourced locally and is organic.  We include meats and vegetables from our farm, Pig & Leaf, probiotic rich fermented foods and we only use butter, olive oil, coconut oil or animal fats in our food.  No over processed, GMO laden junk.  We aim to embody the principles we teach about on every level.  Vegetarian?  Gluten-free?  No problem! Let us know ahead of time, and we will do our best to accommodate you.  If you have a very restrictive diet, you may need to bring some of your own food.  We have often been asked for a cookbook at the end of our courses…

“OMG, food was fantastic! I am still waiting for the cookbook.  – Debbie, PDC graduate

“Still waiting for the cookbook.”   – Dutch, PDC graduate    

“The cooking was hearty, healthy,  full of flavor and satisfying.”  – Daniel, PDC graduate

Are children welcome?

We are family friendly.  If you would like to bring your family with you please contact us.  Our children are home schooled and will likely be here on the homestead during many of the courses.  We know how hard it can be to leave family behind and want to support their integration.  However, children must be with the other parent or a caregiver over 18 while the other parent is in class.

If your children want to participate in a course, we will consider it on a case by case basis.  Course participants must be 18 years old to come to a course unaccompanied by an adult.

Note:  If you are coming for a course and do not enjoy the company of children, this may not be the best choice for your learning experience.

Do you have discounts?

We offer a number of different discounts.  Our policy is as follows…

Early registration discounts can be combined with couple/group discounts, coupon codes, or multiple class discounts.

Coupon codes cannot be combined with one another.

Coupon codes cannot be combined couple/group discounts.

Coupon codes can be combined with multiple class discounts.

Spiral Ridge PDC graduate discounts or affiliate fees can be combined with early registration and multiple class discounts, but cannot combine with other coupons.

Discounts for groups vary depending on the course.  If you do not see any information on the registration page, send us an email, we would love to work with you and your group.


How can I contact you?

The best way to contact us is through email.  info@spiralridgepermaculture dot com.  If you would like to speak to us on the phone about a particular course, email first and we will set up a time that is convenient for both parties.

How can I find out about future courses?

Join our mailing list.  Sign up in the blue box on this page.