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PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSES
2020 COURSE DATES TBA

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!

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COURSE OVERVIEW

Learn at one of the most established projects in Permaculture in Europe—the off-the-grid community of Terra Alta. With 10 years as a permaculture site-in-development, an education center, and with over 20 Permaculture Design Certificate Courses (PDCs) taught, Terra Alta, led by visionary Permaculture teacher Pedro Valdjiu, gives students one of the best well-rounded Permaculture educations. Alongside Permaculture, Terra Alta is committed to bioregionalism, evidenced by the involvement and education of local people through community-led regenerative design projects, and by the Waldorf school, "Escola da Terra", founded by Pedro Valdjiu and his life partner, educator Rita Seixas. Those particularly interested in social permaculture, holistic infrastructure development, small intensive systems, food forestry, and bio-intensive farming will find this PDC particularly insightful.

The two-week PDC is an internationally recognized intensive program where students emerge as confident Permaculture designers with the ability to design Permaculture projects for landscapes or personal sustainable living and, most importantly, become part of the worldwide Permaculture network. 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. We are certified through the UK Association of Permaculture.

The focus of our PDC is to enable students to design regenerative systems 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. We use hands-on experiences with various design exercises to create a participatory learning environment that's both fun and empowering for everyone.

 

PROGRAM INFORMATION

COURSE FEE

Regular: 850 euros

This includes food and camping. Upon registering you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 150 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 - 50 euros*

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

* Total cost for renting for 2 weeks

We provide mats for regular tents and mattresses, bedding (including blanket and pillow) for large tents. We do not provide sleeping bags for regular 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 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. If you are celiac, gluten intolerant, or vegan please inform us in the "Anything we should know?" field of the registration form and we provide a special menu for you.

 
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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

  • 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

  • Urban permaculture

  • Introduction to biodynamic farming and small scale wine production

  • CSA Community Supported Agriculture and bioregional strategies for food production 

  • Vermicomposting flush toilet system

  • Introduction to beekeeping

  • 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

  • Introduction to Earth rights, food sovereignty, and native land rights

 
 

PROGRAM FACILITATORS

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SUITED FOR

  • Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective (we offer certification that can be accredited for university)

  • 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, field trips, 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) via hotspot