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Permaculture Design Course 2018

Course coordinators: Mirka: 965738576 / Nita: 965338679 //
PND OFFICE: 282 697 862
Campo do Vale – Quinta do Vale da Lama: 282 792 673


An international Permaculture Design Certificate Course is an intensive two week experience that will empower you with tools and design skills to create lush and resilient habitats, homes and communities.

This full-immersion course covers the core 72-hour curriculum of permaculture design. You will learn to create ecological, social, and economic systems to provide for your needs, the needs of the natural systems that sustain us, and the needs of future generations. Be it your balcony or your entire home, a village, local community, or your business, this course is designed to stimulate and empower you into becoming an holistic systems designer.

The practical sessions draw on the diversity and experience of Quinta do Vale da Lama’s staff. Designed around your interests, they give you hands-on experience and the practical details of topics you’re passionate about – whether it’s how to save your seeds, how to create events to bring your community together, or how to start your ethical microbusiness.

Course Includes

  • The 72-hr Permaculture Design Certificate Course curriculum, taught by a diverse teaching team led by Lesley Martin.
  • 2 days’ worth of practical sessions taught by Quinta do Vale da Lama staff & guest instructors. Students can choose from the following topics: Food Production; Animal & Tree Care; Event Organization; Education and Social Structures; Microbusiness & Marketing.
  • Course handbooks and site visits of Vale da Lama and local projects.
  • Organic vegetables from the farm and other local sources. Healthy and delicious vegetarian menu, fruits, snacks, tea and coffee throughout the day.
  • We provide tents if you choose not to bring your own. There are solar showers, free WI-FI and a library with permaculture related books.


September 30th to October 14th, 2018


Classes from 9am-1pm
Classes, Practicals & Learning Labs* 2:30pm-6pm
Night sessions from 8:30-9:30
Most night sessions are optional.

* See below

For Whom

For homeowners, housewives, gardeners, farmers, activists, social entrepreneurs, urban change makers, architects, builders, development professionals, school teachers, non- formal educators and seekers looking for new lifestyles in tune with their ethics.


‘Campo do Vale’ – Educational Center of Quinta do Vale da Lama.
Click here to know more about where are we located.


- REGULAR Price – 490€
- PND Association members – 460€

Course materials, food and lodging included in the price. Contact us if you live locally and don’t need lodging.


Course is taught in English. Portuguese-speaking staff can clarify specific vocabulary.

Contact Us

Questions about the course?
Contact Mirka: (351) 965 738 576 or

Want to book a room?
Lodging is available at the Eco-Resort:

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Teaching Team

Lesley Martin
Lead Instructor

Lesley has been teaching permaculture for more than 15 years. In 1995, while running an organic farm in the UK, she completed her PDC with George Sobol, who also served as her permaculture diploma tutor. After 2 years of studies and training she became a Permaculture teacher herself, working for governmental institutions and adult training in Britain. In 1998 she settled in the mountains of Monchique. She started the design and implementation of Permaculture at Quinta Vale da Lama (QVDL), and recently kick-started the transition movement in Monchique.

Hugo Oliveira
Assistant Teacher

Landscape Ecologist & Permaculture Designer. Co-founder & Regenerative Design Consultant @ OrlaDesign (, Researcher @ Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change ( Completing PhD studies on Interdisciplinary Landscape Management @ Uni. Évora and MA on Ecological Design Thinking @ Schumacher College. Actively working with Permaculture as a designer, trainer and researcher since 2006, mostly on the Landscape ecological domain. Trained in Permaculture in Australia, Asia and Europe.

Mirka Hlavacova
Assistant Teacher

After getting her BA in Biology and Teaching, Mirka trained in nature-based mentoring, wilderness school pedagogy, and cultural regeneration at the Wilderness Awareness School. She completed her PDC with Toby Hemenway in 2011, and Teacher Training with Rosemary Morrow in 2013. She’s been designing learning experiences in Permaculture and Regeneration at Vale da Lama since 2013. This will be the 11th PDC she is teaching on during her apprenticeship with mentors Lesley Martin & Peter Cow. She’s passionate about bringing course material to life through experiential, participatory teaching methods.

Guest Intructors

Our guest instructors are professionals working in the Vale da Lama project and other local projects. Their jobs include food production, eco-tourism, garden-to-plate cousine and more. The sessions they teach provide a valuable addition to the curriculum, giving us a taste of what permaculture livelihoods are like.

Specific Learning Outcomes

✔︎ Survey landscapes for property design using simple and sophisticated tools, mapping and map making, site analysis and assessment;
✔︎ Read weather patterns, create and enhance micro-climates and use design strategies for all major global climatic zones
✔︎ Approach design using mapping, design from patterns to details, analysis of elements, use slope, orientation and analyses of needs and yields of systems
✔︎ Design using nature’s rules to create a lush and resilient natural environment, create living ecosystems that feed and nurture us and future generations and bring fertility back to the land building topsoil
✔︎ Use reconstructive earth surgery, water harvesting and soil conditioning to recharge ground water, re-hydrate and drought-proof land
✔︎ Passive water hydration and infiltration, rainwater collection, storage and composting toilets. Multiple uses for greywater, constructed wetland design and other smart water-use ideas
✔︎ Increase productivity using intensive garden design strategies including: stacking, soil-building, mulching, nutrient cycling, pest control, green manures, worms, compost, companion planting, etc.
✔︎ Trees and forests as regulators and moderators of ecosystems. How to sustainably use, propagate, harvest and manage tree systems
✔︎ Save money on energy bills with efficient home design, retrofit and renewable energy systems
✔︎ Design passive solar buildings. The use of natural building materials, energy efficient house placement and design and the assurance of a healthy indoor environment
✔︎ Cycle nutrients and incorporate animals into your systems
✔︎ Think, design and place water systems such as aquaculture and aquaponics
✔︎ Develop strategies for creating community-wide sustainability, village development, alternative economies, local currencies, how to organize community groups, and how to start a business using for-profit, non-profit and trust legal structures
✔︎ Cooperatively engage in exercises of group conceptual design.

And best yet: How to integrate and weave all of these concepts together!

Practical Sessions & Learning Labs

To follow through on our commitment of delivering a high-quality participatory learning experience, we include practical sessions and/or learning labs every day of the course.

Practical sessions offer an opportunity to put in practice the permaculture techniques we study in the course, giving you skills in diverse areas such as plant propagation, earthworks, tree & orchard care, and biofertilization. Learning labs are observation and design exercises that allow you to practice using the design processes and methods you are learning. Both types of sessions have the function of bridging Permaculture theory and practice, giving you the confidence to use your design skills in a variety of settings after the course.

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