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Summer 2019 PDCs at Terra Alta Portugal | 1st Course July, 2nd Course August

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Location: Portugal
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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-style school, "Escola da Terra", founded by Pedro Valdjiu and his life partner 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.

Course Dates
1st PDC: July 14-28, 2019
2nd PDC: August 4-18, 2019

Location: Terra Alta, Sintra, Portugal
Course fee (includes food and camping):
Early bird - 790 euros
Regular - 850 euros
Registration Fee - 150 Euros
^The registration fee is equal to a deposit. This amount is part of the apprenticeship fee and not extra, so you are just required to pay the balance when you arrive. We have a refund policy (please read our FAQ page).

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. Apprentices will be responsible for preparing food which includes three vegetarian meals per day, with ingredients sourced from our gardens or from local organic producers. 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.

Reserve your spot by visiting the courses page and selecting the PDC you wish to attend here.

Course Topics
  • Bill Mollison’s 72h curriculum
  • The Seven domains of permaculture from David Holmgren
  • Learning the Principles and Ethics of permaculture
  • 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
  • Zero Waste Strategies and Bio Gas
  • Building with natural materials​
  • Sustainable social structures, alternative economy
  • Urban permaculture
  • Food preservation, fermentation​
  • Essential marketing tools for permaculture businesses
  • Digital literacy and the future of the permaculture movement
  • Building your personal brand within the field of Permaculture

  • 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.

    Suited for
  • Project developers
  • Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective
  • Permaculture Designers, artists, architects, landscapers
  • Small landholders
  • Ecologists and Restoration Worker
  • Activist
  • 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

  • For more information including full list of course facilitators, visit the Permaculture Courses page:

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