Meet the Terra Alta 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.
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 societal changes need 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.
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.
Communications Coordinator and Co-Host
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, through numerous fire circle discussions.
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 spread knowledge about Permaculture.
Since joining the project in 2015, with her qualities of continuous reflection, precise systems thinking and a unique passion for holistic education, Maria represents a completion for Terra Alta as a future model for sustainability and regeneration.
With her eagerness of absorbing new ideas and knowledge and her great joy of nurturing the growth and development of children and young adults, Maria manages Terra Alta's teenager, project-based, an educational program that started in September 2016.
Furthermore, she is a gifted artist, painter and a student of traditional Chinese medicine.
Berlin-based biology student, Annika loves everything about the wild outdoors, having discovered Permaculture in Tasmania while adventuring there recently. Her love for food is coupled by her love for the surf - and during her time here in Sintra, arriving first as an Apprentice in June and then becoming our kitchen coordinator, she has been able to dive deeper into both, exploring new ways of making nutritious meals by combining her intuition as a passionate vegan home-cook with the seasonal veggies and zero-waste cooking approach we have on the land.