MEET THE TEAM
Lead Teacher and Senior Host
An agent of cultural transformation and visionary founder, Pedro Valdjiu’s dream to build a model for regenerative culture began with founding the Terra Alta educational center in 2008. 10 years later, his dream has become a reality: Terra Alta has trained hundreds of people through its Permaculture Design Courses and is a model for off-the-grid living.
Within the Permaculture world, Pedro is a certified Permaculture teacher of the UK Association of Permaculture and a project consultant. A student of "rebel farmer" Sepp Holzer and adherent of the teachings of Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, Pedro hosts and facilitates the PDC's by designing its programs, choosing the team, and giving sessions on the topics he is most passionate about.
He is also the founder of world-renowned band Blasted Mechanism, an award-winning filmmaker, co-founder of Escola da Terra--a Waldorf School that brings a love based education to children in the local community, and father of two beautiful daughters with life long companion Rita Seixas.
Rita Seixas is a dedicated educator and community leader who helps to bring about transformation by nurturing children through a renewed educational context and hosting visitors at Terra Alta with her attention to detail. Founder of Terra Alta and Escola da Terra--a Waldorf school near Terra Alta, she is highly connected to Anthroposophy, a spiritual science created by Rudolf Steiner and the belief system underlying Waldorf education. She is also a skilled artist in the areas of crafting, painting, and drawing--talent that translates into the ability to retrofit spaces to improve both function and aesthetics.
Devoted mother of 2 girls, she is on the cutting edge of education in Portugal, leading a school of 50 children with her full heart and soul.
Co-Facilitator and Co-Host
Henrik Ellerbrock has become an eminent voice in the Permaculture movement after years of working to create societal awareness for global issues, including projects for peace education in Africa, as well as in Berlin high schools using A. Boal's "theatre of the oppressed", where he realized that societal changes needed to grow from within rather than being imposed. In search of a more authentic way of life, he moved to Portugal in 2010 where he met Pedro Valdjiu and his family and joined the Terra Alta project, purchasing the neighboring land.Henrik is a Permaculture facilitator and co-host of the educational center. Committed to bioregionalism, he is driven to create food autonomy through his work as a bio-intensive farmer and market gardener.
Michèle joined the Apprenticeship at Terra Alta in June of 2019 has since become part of the project – this year helping create content and co-facilitate courses. With a degree in Permaculture & Sustainable Horticulture, as well as a background in and passion for activism, having spent months at sea with Sea Shepherd, Michèle has a passion for activism both on land and at sea. She is now completing a Master's degree in Ecology, with a focus on sustainable food systems.
Steve is passionate about simple living in connection with nature and art. Trained as a professional tile mason in the city of Steckborn, Germany, it was after a moment of enlightenment that he realized a more natural and sustainable way of building was his life's calling. After being a nomad in Europe for about a year, he landed in Terra Alta in 2018 where he soon became an active crew member and a detailed and dedicated builder. Steve has been transforming our biointensive Kitchen Gardens this summer in preparation for our educational hands-on garden sessions and to provide students with healthy food during our courses in 2020
While a lot of things have influenced Nadia in joining the Permaculture movement, the most influential have been: the environmentally active groups in Athens, Ohio, her time at Terra Alta, and the amazing life-guidance the principles of Permaculture provide, encouraging many new friendships with other regenerative agents and projects all over the world. She started collaborating with Terra Alta following her volunteership at the August 2018 PDC after connecting with Pedro and the project.
She has a background in digital marketing, having written for two large-company blogs, and is much more fulfilled using her marketing knowledge to help regenerative communities such as Terra Alta.
Inês Barros is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach since 2008 and has been practicing since. She completed the Permaculture Teacher Training with Rosemary Morrow and other teachers include Max Lindegger and Treeyo Permaculture. She studied nutrition towards a healing perspective with Paul Pitchford (author of Healing with Whole Foods) and under the mentorship of Tomio Kikuchi (George Oshawa disciple). Inês holds a degree in Communication Design (MA) by the Lisbon University and has been integrating the ethics, principles, and tools of Permaculture in her work as a holistic chef specializing in fermentation. She has been teaching in different sites, connecting with the concept of Nutrient Dense Food and is a member of the Weston A Price Foundation.
CATARINA RAIZ DE CARVALHO
A practitioner of deep ecology and permaculture with a background in Environmental Engineering, dedicated to zero waste, Catarina runs Raiz d’Oliva in Sintra, a project aimed at sharing a sustainable way of living by educating on traditional uses of local plants, including how to create natural personal care products. She will be teaching us how to create natural cosmetics. Catarina also practices Thai Yoga and abdominal healing massage, having studied massage therapies, magic herbology, and alchemy during her time in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Greece.
Market gardener André runs Sintra-based commercial micro-garden Chão Rico. Moved by the quest to "find the thread at the end of the skein", André left his job as Official Vetrenarian for the Food Standards Agency in the UK to learn about sustainable agricultural production in Portugal, working his way across the country as a volunteer, learning from projects in the Algarve, Aljezur and Lagos. It was after studying Permaculture with Richard Perkins at Ridgedale Permaculture in Sweden that André began directing his work towards regenerative agriculture. His project Chão Rico was born in 2017, conceived with French chef Sébastien Goupillot, in partnership with Ecoaldeia de Janas. From 2018 till present, André has been running his market garden with Henrik Ellerbrock, in partnership with Eugaria Country House.