Permaculture Design Course

Internationally recognized Permaculture training with extra sessions dedicated to practical skills.


  •  The 72 hour Permaculture Design Course curriculum, presented by a diverse, experienced teaching team certified by Lesley Martin
  •  2 days’ worth of extra practical content offered by teaching team and farm staff, including site visits of Vale da Lama & local projects
  • Vegetarian, ethically sourced food from our own production and local sources: 3 meals daily, plus snacks and tea/coffee during breaks
  • Access to our venue’s facilities, including the prepared & shaded camping areas, hot showers, indoor bathrooms and dining hall, as well as WiFi, charging stations, course library, tools and didactic materials

1-14 June 2019
6-20 October 2019

9:00 to 13:00 and 14:00-18:00
Evening Sessions – Optional
Sample Schedule – Click to view

Campo do Vale
Quinta do Vale da Lama
Odiaxere, Lagos


500 € Full Tuition
(food and camping included)

400€ Local Tuition
(non-residential, lunches only)

Tel: (+351) 965 738 576
Office: (+351) 282 697 862

This course covers the core curriculum of Permaculture design, offering you the tools to create ecological, social and economic systems that effectively provide for your needs while regenerating the landscapes around you for the benefit of future generations.

Our teaching team consistently receives praise from students for being knowledgeable, caring, and using a diversity of teaching methods. We strive to balance theoretical learning with abundant practical sessions, some located in parts of the farm where examples of what’s being taught are present on the landscape. Our goal is to offer full learning cycles, allowing students to experience and fully integrate the curriculum.

PDC at Vale da Lama


DESIGN: Practice techniques for observation and surveying; learn to read and make maps, select and use tools for site analysis and assessment; integrate ethics, principles, and climate-specific strategies to create innovative design solutions, and experience several iterations of group design processes.

CLIMATE AND LANDFORM: Adapt design strategies to climate patterns; observe, enhance, and create microclimates; adapt design to slope, elevation, orientation, and local weather patterns.

WATER: Understand the natural water cycle and effects of human interventions. Observe how earthworks can harvest and distribute rain, recharge depleted groundwater, and prevent erosion. Learn to use & reuse water responsibly, including graywater solutions, constructed wetlands, and acquaculture.

SOIL: Understand the living and non-living aspects of soil, and how appropriate human management can maximize productivity and health of soils. Know strategies and practice techniques that build fertility and resilience of soil in different climates and at different scales of use.

LIVING LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT: Understand basics of ecology: succession, nutrient cycling and energy flows, behavior patterns of complex systems. Select appropriate solutions for intensive and extensive landscapes; Understand benefits of multi-yield systems at different scales, including diversified gardens, agroforestry, agrosilvopastoral landscapes, and managed woodlands.

SOCIAL & ECONOMIC APPLICATIONS: Understand appropriate technologies and techniques for sustainable human settlements & society, including: natural building, energy-efficient house design, community & decision-making strategies, transition towns, ethical livelihood creation & microbusiness, solidarity/social economy, local/alternative currencies


Lesley has been teaching permaculture for more than 20 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.

Lesley Martin
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Hugo Oliveira
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Landscape Ecologist & Permaculture Designer. Orla Design Co-founder & Regenerative Design Consultant , Researcher @ Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change ( Holds an MA in Ecological Design Thinking from Schumacher College & completing Ph.D. studies in Interdisciplinary Landscape Management @ University of Évora. Actively working with Permaculture as a designer, trainer and researcher since 2006, mostly in the Landscape ecological domain. Trained in Australia, Asia and Europe.

Mirka Hlavacova
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After getting her BA in Biology and Teaching, Mirka trained in nature-based mentoring, experiential teaching methods, 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 has organized and facilitated learning experiences in Permaculture and Regeneration since 2013. She applies insights from nature and ecology to improve social and economic structures, and brings course content to life using experiential, sensorial, and participatory methods.


Course organized by Projecto Novas Descobertas Association, in partnership with Quinta Vale da Lama and ORLA

PDC at Vale da Lama