Permaculture Design Courses July and August 2018 Terra Alta Portugal 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!

Permaculture is a design system for regenerative human settlements based on the principles of natural ecosystems. It provides an ethical framework and creative ways to interact harmoniously with our environment. As a worldwide movement for earth-based living and bioregional economy, it brings together a broad set of methods, technologies, and approaches for community-oriented solutions to the challenges our planet is facing today. The Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC) is an internationally-recognized 72-hour course that provides the basic understanding, information and ideas of how to design a sustainable and regenerative system in balance with our natural environment.

Guided by the core of Bill Mollison’s 72-hour curriculum and David Holmgren’s seven domains of permaculture action, our course participants will have the unique opportunity to learn about permaculture in an off-the-grid, community-based setting. Based on our real life experiences, this course offers hands-on applied permaculture skills immersed in our well-established educational centre, Terra Alta, located in the beautiful bioregion of Sintra, Portugal.


By attending our summer Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC), you will gain first hand experiences of both opportunities and challenges that arise from developing and maintaining a resilient home and land-based resource system. On this two week journey, you will share the joy of learning and co-creating with like minded people and embrace a variety of tangible and intangible skills to empower yourself, your local community, your company or your family. Together, we will work on holistic solutions and communal response to the interlinked challenges of our time. Our focus will be on practice-oriented, learning-by-doing experiences, not just concept, theory and information-based study. Therefore, we will co-create mutual learning situations with various design exercises throughout the course, which will enable you to design resilient and regenerative systems. In taking this course, you will gain the confidence and basic abilities for permaculture design approaches suited for landscapes, apartment balconies, intentional communities, company structures or personal life paths. The PDC can also be your first step in the pathway of becoming a professional permaculture designer. If you want to go on this pathway after the course, you can apply immediately to the UK diploma track of the British permaculture association. Terra Alta is a certified educational site and we certify our students through the UK association

Dates: 15th July  – 29th July  2018

Course Fee:

390 euros  ( EARLY BIRD until 1st March )

450 euros  ( after 1st March )

Plus food and accommodation – 350 euros

Early booking is recommended since our courses fill up very quickly

 For more information and to register contact at the following:


 “Permaculture is a dance with nature-in which nature leads.”Bill Mollison

The Course

  • Bill Mollison’s 72h curriculum 
  • The Seven domains of permaculture from David Holmgren
  • Internalizing the principles and ethics of permaculture
  • Permaculture design method for planning a project
  • Off-the-grid site – Terra Alta, home and land-based resource system as a teacher 
  • Appropriate technology and sustainable energy systems
  • Hands-on and solution-oriented curriculum with focus on resiliency and regeneration 
  • 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
  • Building with natural materials
  • Sustainable social structures, alternative economy
  • Urban permaculture
  • Food preservation, fermentation
  • Participatory facilitation techniques including : world cafe, open space technology, hands on, walk and talk and site tour and more.
  • Permaculture UK association certification 


Suited for :

  • Project developers
  • Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective
  • Permaculture Designers, artists, architects, landscapers
  • Small land holders 
  • 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

Highlighted Features

  • The seven domains of permaculture action from David Holmgren are building our course outline – By including the permaculture design system flower to our course outline in addition to the standard curriculum from Mollison we believe that it meets the requirements of today’s expanded understanding of the concept of permaculture. This model shows the key domains which require transformation in order to create a more sustainable and regenerative culture.
  • Off-the-grid site – Terra Alta, home and land-based resource system as a teacher –  in taking place at our off-the-grid educational centre our students have the opportunity to learn directly from the success and failure of a permaculture site in development.
  • Hands-on and solution-oriented curriculum with focus on resiliency and regeneration  – our approach in facilitating a PDC is a permaculture principle in practice, a less academic and more intense hands-on and practise-oriented experience to offer our students those hard skills needed to start or improve their own projects
  • Community and social tools for project and personal development  – For empowering ourselves and each other to take action and responsibility towards a regenerative lifestyle, we need appropriate tools for communication, decision making, organisation and community living. For this, the permaculture principles can be applied to our social and personal life in a way which connects us with our potential as an individual and as a community. This can bring us a lot of joy and quality of life while we share our gifts. During the course you will learn and apply social permaculturetools and get the opportunity to connect with your personal gift and share it with the community.
  • Urban permaculture – after evaluating past students’ testimonials and their further pathways, we figured that many are indeed grasping that permaculture is an essential part towards building a new regenerative culture, but don’t know how they can apply it in their own situation without a garden in a city setting. This year we will have a special section on how you can become a collaborative partner in a healthy urban biosphere.
  • Biointensive agriculture – introduction into methodology, tools and techniques to grow crops successfully in a context of heightened efficiency

Teaching Methods

  • Open space
  • World cafe
  • Action learning
  • Field trips
  • Theater
  • Lecture
  • Walk and talk
  • Hands on
  • Design Project
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Group dynamics
  • Think and listen
  • Sharing circle
  • Group work
  • Participatory art

The facilitators and Hosts

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Pedro Valdjiu – Facilitation and hosting

In 2008 Pedro Valdjiu had a dream of creating a Permaculture Educational Center that would be the breeding ground of a cultural movement to spread around the world. Ten years later Pedro’s dream has come true: Terra Alta has trained hundreds of people from all walks of life, from permaculture design courses ( PDC ) to sustainable house building and regenerative living solutions. The community has become a model of what off-the-grid living can look like and Pedro Valdjiu has emerged as a visionary founder, teacher and cultural regenerative agent of a movement that keeps getting bigger.

Within the Permaculture world, Pedro is a Permaculture project consultant, a certified teacher of the UK Association of Permaculture, a student of Sepp Holzer and teachings of David Holmgren and a passionate facilitator in the areas of Beekeeping, Forest Gardening, Natural Building, Eco-Village Design, Alternative Energy and Off-the-Grid Solutions.

Outside of the permaculture world, Pedro is an award-winning filmmaker and musician. He is the founder and member of the world-renowned musical band Blasted Mechanism. He is the co-founder of a Waldorf School that brings a love based education to children into the local community. And he is the father of two beautiful daughters and companion for about 24 years of lovely Rita Seixas.

 To know more about Valdjiu Click HERE
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Henrik Ellerbrock  – facilitation and hosting

Growing up in the metropolis of Berlin, Henrik developed a particular sense of what are the urgent matters to address for establishing a global societal transformation. Through various projects for peace education and conflict resolution in southern and eastern Africa, as well as working with A. Boal’s “theatre of the oppressed” in different Berlin high schools, he understood clearly that social changes cannot be imposed from the outside, but have to grow from within.

After several years of work to create societal awareness for global political issues in Berlin he decided to move to Portugal in 2010, hoping to find a more authentic way of life. Here he met Pedro and his family and joined the Terra Alta project, purchasing the neighboring land.

Since that time he has studied permaculture intensively as well as related aspects of sustainable living. As a passionate Natural Builder and consultant for regenerative design solutions Henrik currently works as a biointensive farmer and vegetable distributor drove by the vision of creating bioregional food autonomy. Through pertinent observation, constructive ideas and an eye for detail, he became an essential part of the educational center and every day is dedicated to live the dream of an alternative regenerative life.

To know more about Henrik Click HERE

Catherine Griggs – Facilitation 

Catherine Griggs, BA zoology with Conservation. Catherine has been recreating and mimicking ecosystems since child-hood, her long appreciation for the natural world has given her a deep understanding of the language of animals, plants and the natural world as whole. Shepherdess turned wildlife conservationist, then permaculture consultant she discovered the tool of permaculture in 2010. Since then Cat has been combining her knowledge skills and imagination to instigate permaculture around the world. She has been taking every opportunity to learn and share with various cultures including the Quechua people of the Andes, African tribes people, the conservation cowboys of the Rockies and the Celtic mountain folk of north wales, she’s worked for a number of years in Guatemala working in a sub-tropical highland forest developing aquaculture systems and forest gardens. Her knowledge is diverse and she is adept at working with people from all walks of life. Her fascination now lies in the study of human nature in relation to the planet’s ecology; she draws upon quantum physics, shamanic wisdom and yogic teachings. As for her the outer landscape of the planet is a reflection of the inner landscape of humanity and this is where the gardening really begins.

To know more about Catherine  Click HERE


Rita Seixas – hosting

Is a deeply dedicated educator and community leader as she helps to bring transformation through nurturing children’s education and welcoming course hosting through attention to detail. She is the co-founder of Terra Alta and Escola da Terra A Waldorf School in a village nearby Terra Alta. She is highly connected to Antroposhophy, a spiritual science created by Rudolf Steiner, which frames this amazing work with the next generation. She is also a very talented artist in the areas of crafting, painting and drawing which translates into retrofitting spaces with both functionality and aesthetic beauty. Devoted mother of 2 girls, she is on the cutting edge of education in Portugal leading a School with her full heart and soul.


The Host Site

Terra Alta is an aspiring off the grid holistic education host site and gives you the chance to be immersed in a landscape of learning. It’s located in between Almoçageme and Ulgueira, two quaint villages just above the sea and situated for easy access to the amazing beaches called Praia da Adraga and Ursa. It’s easy to reach from Lisbon and Sintra and gives access to our amazing sunset cliffs and beaches. Terra Alta offers a wonderful example of small-scale intensive systems working towards being off the grid. Because the site has had several years of Permaculture management, it is easy for students to immerse themselves in the principles of landscape development and holistic infrastructure development. The following Permaculture elements and functions are on display amongst others:

  • Small-scale Earthworks to capitalise 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 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 and outdoor cooking and social spaces
  • Renewable Energy technology featuring solar panels – we provide charging only for mobile phones due to limited amount of energy.
  • Internet available one hour a day via Hotspot.

In case you want top know a bit more about our vision go HERE 

 And to meet our crew HERE

And to meet the land and how we apply Permaculture HERE



During the courses students get a chance to experience a permaculture garden more intimately by camping on the land. In a semi-wild area, 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.

There is also the possibility for some students with their own bus/camper-van to stay on the land, although space is limited; so if you are interested in bringing a bus, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone!



From the outdoor communal kitchen, we provide 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the cost of the course (except Sundays when the students are free to feed themselves!)

Prepared with love, the food is always diverse, fresh, healthy, homemade and vegetarian. By that we also help to stimulate the local food economy by purchasing what ingredients are not grown at Terra Alta from the local organic “Cooperativa” and other local producers and processors.

What to do near by

In the break day you can go to Praia da Ursa, the wild beach 30 min away walking. There is so much to visit in Sintra… its a world heritage area full of incredible monuments and gardens planted with an immense variety of trees.  We have created a page with some of the local features that you can

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