©2019 Terra Alta Permaculture Education & Research Centre

PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSES
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR 2020

Join the Permaculture movement, gain practical answers and solutions for today's global problems and immerse yourself into a transformative lifestyle that can make a real difference for you, the global community and our planet!

 

COURSE OVERVIEW

Learn at one of the most established Permaculture projects in Europe—the off-the-grid Permaculture education centre, Terra Alta. With 10 years as a permaculture site-in-development, a center for research and education, and with over 20 Permaculture Design Certificate Courses (PDCs) taught, Terra Alta, led by visionary Permaculture teacher Pedro Valdjiu, offers Permaculture education at the highest level. Alongside Permaculture, Terra Alta is committed to bioregionalism, evidenced by the involvement of local guest teachers and by the Waldorf school, "Escola da Terra", that Pedro Valdjiu and his life partner, educator Rita Seixas run which, together with Terra Alta form the nonprofit “Waldorf Association of Sintra”. 

The two-week PDC is an internationally recognized intensive program that equips students with:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the concepts of Permaculture

  • tools and know-how to design your own regenerative projects

  • the basics for land design, and whole-systems thinking tools to better navigate society as well as your own inner landscape

The course is an introduction and stepping stone towards advanced land-design or teacher training programs. That being said, we support students’ continuing education through offering lifetime access to our knowledge base (read more about it below) and by providing recommendations for advanced programs you may want to take after the PDC. Formats vary from locale to locale, tailored to suit the local environment and expertise of the teaching team. Like other PDCs around the world, Terra Alta's PDC has at its core Bill Mollison's 72-hour curriculum. David Holmgren’s seven domains of permaculture action are also paramount in our permaculture teachings. Also in line with other PDCs, ours is designed to reflect the conditions of our locale—the beautiful bioregion of Sintra. Pedro is a certified teacher through the UK Permaculture Association.

The focus of our PDC is to enable students to design regenerative systems that can be applied to all aspects of life through learning-by-doing experiences and is geared towards anyone: from those looking to build intentional communities to those looking to reduce their ecological footprint. Interspersed within the course are hands-on activities like gardening, natural building, zero-waste cosmetics and bread making to create a participatory learning environment that's both fun and empowering for everyone.

 
Upcoming Courses
PDC // 19 July – 2 August 2020
Sun, Jul 19
Terra Alta
Jul 19, 6:00 PM – Aug 02, 12:00 PM
Terra Alta, Ulgueira, 2705-349 Colares, Portugal
Course fee: Early bird: 790 euros // Regular price: 850 euros // Click Register Now and you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 200 euros to secure your spot. This is a deposit and part of the course fee. You just pay the balance in cash when you arrive. We have a refund policy.
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PDC // 9–23 August 2020
Sun, Aug 09
Terra Alta
Aug 09, 6:00 PM – Aug 23, 12:00 PM
Terra Alta, Ulgueira, 2705-349 Colares, Portugal
Course fee: Early bird: 790 euros // Regular price: 850 euros // Click Register Now and you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 200 euros to secure your spot. This is a deposit and part of the course fee. You just pay the balance in cash when you arrive. We have a refund policy.
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PDC // 30 August – 13 September 2020
Sun, Aug 30
Terra Alta
Aug 30, 6:00 PM – Sep 13, 12:00 PM
Terra Alta, Ulgueira, 2705-349 Colares, Portugal
Course fee: Early bird: 790 euros // Regular price: 850 euros // Click Register Now and you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 200 euros to secure your spot. This is a deposit and part of the course fee. You just pay the balance in cash when you arrive. We have a refund policy.
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PROGRAM INFORMATION

COURSE FEE

Regular: 850 euros

Early Bird: 790 euros

This includes food and camping. Upon registering you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 200 euros to secure your spot. This is a deposit and part of the course fee. You just pay the balance when you arrive. We have a refund policy.


COURSE LANGUAGE

All our courses are conducted in English.


ACCOMMODATION

Camping with your own tent - free

1-2 person size tent is 50 euros*

Bell tent is 150 euros* (per availability, we only have 4)

* Total cost for renting for 2 weeks

We provide mats for regular tents but do not provide sleeping bags or pillows for regular tents.

We provide mattresses, bedding (including blanket and pillow) for large tents.

The campsite is a semi-wild area where we have created level terraces among the trees, mushrooms, and stones for people to pitch their tents out of view from the rest of the garden.


FOOD

We serve three vegetarian & vegan meals per day with ingredients sourced from our gardens or from local organic producers. Students are part of the preparation of meals as this experience is a component of the course.

 
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"Without permanent agriculture, there is no possibility of a stable social order."

Bill Mollison

 

COURSE TOPICS

  • Bill Mollison’s 72h curriculum

  • The seven domains of permaculture action from David Holmgren

  • The principles and ethics of permaculture

  • Permaculture design method for planning a project and designing a homestead

  • Designing from patterns to details

  • Orientation to Terra Alta as home and land resource system

  • Appropriate technology and sustainable energy systems

  • Community and social tools for project and personal development

  • Regenerative landscape design

  • Water retention and regeneration

  • Composting and earthworks

  • Bio-intensive techniques for kitchen and market gardening

  • Sustainable social structures, alternative economy

  • Vermicomposting flush toilet system

  • Introduction to beekeeping (as we’re natural beekeepers, we won’t always get to interact w/ the hives, preferring to leave the bees alone unless we need to do some maintenance or annual honey harvest)

  • Zero Waste strategies: natural cosmetics, soaps, and biogas

  • Introduction to multiple natural buildings techniques 

  • Food harvesting, preservation, and fermentation

  • Food Forest design, management, and implementation

  • Herbalism and seed saving

 

Permacutlure Land Design

Students will be introduced to a Permaculture land design method called "SADIM" which stands for Survey, Analyse, Design, Implement and Maintain. We use our land-based project to illustrate this methodology. See our land plan below. Read more about our land features and history of project developments in each area.

 
 

CONTINUING EDUCATION

KNOWLEDGE BASE

All students will have lifetime access to our easy-to-use online knowledge base which contains information from the core curriculum presentations, plus additional resources (which we update) to enhance students’ post-PDC self-learning path. This content is meant to be used as a complement to students’ notes taken in class.

 

PROGRAM FACILITATORS

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SUITED FOR

  • Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective (our certification can be accredited for university depending on the requirements of your program--please check with your university first)

  • Project developers​

  • Permaculture designers, artists, architects, and landscapers

  • Small landholders

  • Ecologists and restoration workers

  • Activists

  • Designers

  • Landscape architects

  • Land developers

  • Artists

  • Farmers

  • Urban gardeners

  • NGO-members

  • Community members

  • People in urban and settlement planning

  • Social workers

  • Environmental educators

  • School teachers

  • People looking for nature connection

 

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

We treat Terra Alta's off-the-grid site as a teacher in its own right as students get to experience Permaculture daily, learning from our existing projects and being part of our intentional community by helping shape it further through co-designing their final projects. This hands-on, holistic learning environment is complemented by the collaborative methods of hosting we use. We employ Open Space Technology as this cooperative, solution-oriented technique effectively demonstrates the design principle "integrate rather than segregate" as students co-create solutions based on in situ challenges they identify together, utilizing everyone's unique knowledge. Facilitators also use the World Cafe (WC) method to host discussions of course topics. WC helps identify what the collective thought surrounding key issues are by encouraging participants to find patterns and connections among their shared experiences, putting into practice the "observe and interact" principle of Permaculture design. Other learning methods include: action learning, site visits, lecture, walk and talk, games, movies, group work, think and listen, and participatory art.

 
 

STUDENT TESTIMONIALS

 

The time at Terra Alta was incredibly valuable to me. Being a bit insecure in the beginning I opened up to the people and found that they were all wonderful, without exceptions. It felt very good to meet so many people who are open-minded and who deeply care about the Earth. The teachings were great, easy to follow and accessible, regardless of the present level of knowledge you have.

Jan-Hendrik Pfleging

ABOUT THE LOCATION

Terra Alta is an off-the-grid holistic-education host site where students and visitors alike get to see all 12 Principles of Permaculture in action. It’s located in between Almoçageme and Ulgueira, two quaint sea-side villages with easy access to amazing beaches and is relatively simple to reach from Lisbon and Sintra. The following Permaculture elements and functions are on display amongst others:

  • Small-scale earthworks to capitalize on impervious surface runoff

  • Extensive food forest of subtropical, temperate, and Mediterranean species corresponding with the earthworks

  • Hot & cold composting (vermiculture) systems for boosting soil life, picking up on waste streams, and cycling nutrients

  • Food preservation and supporting the local economy of food production

  • Small intentional community focused on adult education through permaculture courses but more importantly holistic, Waldorf and permaculture inspired education for the children of the local area

  • Natural building techniques utilized for dwellings, outdoor cooking, and social spaces

  • Renewable energy technology featuring solar panels – we provide charging only for mobile phones due to the limited amount of energy

  • Internet available (limited)