Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC):

Monte da Orada, São Teotónio, Portugal

April 4-18, 2020

Come join us for an amazing Permaculture Design Certificate course in the Alentejo, on a stunning 70ha site committed to sustainability, featuring countless examples of sustainable living strategies and techniques. Not to be missed!

The Site

São Teotónio’s climate is classified as warm and temperate. There is more rainfall in the winter than in the summer in São Teotónio. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Csa. In São Teotónio, the average annual temperature is 16.3 °C. About 548 mm of precipitation falls annually.

On site at Monte da Orada as well as the Mandala Organic Gardens, Organic Farming (medium scale), Compost Toilets, solar hot water, solar pump, and  examples of natural building such as a cork cabin,​  you will see many sustainability features including, but not limited to: Abobe and Taipa Buildings

Most of the ancient ruins of Orada were recovered using ancient local building techniques: Taipa & Adobe.  Also known as rammed earth, Taipa is a technique used to build the foundation walls and floors using only natural materials such as earth, gravel, rock, chalk and lime.
It is an ancient method that has been revived recently as it is interesting in terms of thermal mass, strong, durable very beautiful and sustainable!

Course Program

The 72 hour Permaculture Design Certificate course follows the curriculum as laid out in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture – A Designer’s Manual. It covers subjects ranging from ethics and principles of permaculture, natural systems, aquaculture, sustainable design methods, patterns in nature, land restoration, water harvesting, grey water recycling, natural building, food forests and guilds, energy conservation, appropriate technology, renewable energy, urban permaculture and invisible structures.

The course teaches how to develop sustainable human settlements, and how to extend and preserve natural systems. The content will be covered between theoretical lectures and practical applications. The courses aim to utilize the collective intelligence of the group with engaging participatory classes.


You can view a sample schedule of the course here. The schedule gives a general idea of what to expect but will vary slightly, course to course

“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.”
― Bill Mollison, Introduction to Permaculture

Price and Accommodation, includes all meals:


Bed in mixed dorm – €600

Single room with en-suite bathroom – €1,500

Couple room with en-suite bathroom – €2,200

The site offers WC/shower and access to electricity.
There are various sleeping options available/
(see below)

What to Bring

– comfortable clothes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
– note taking (blank pages recommended) and drawing materials
– ecological body care products
– torch
– sturdy shoes
– a swimming suit
– musical instruments!
– Only organic soaps, detergents and shampoo

This land gives us so much. We want to give back to her, saving her from toxicity. In Orada we only use biodegradable and organic detergents, soaps and shampoos. We treat the dark and grey waters, so we protect her keeping her purity.


I learned so much in this two weeks! I also got inspiration from people sharing ideas

The best educational experience of my life

The humor, the hugs and advanced experience and stories of teachers. Thank you both, big time!

I loved the way you put the course together. How you created the safe space for us and the respect you show… I loved the course because it showed us the science of how to connect with and cooperate with Mother Earth.

‘Earthship’ Kitchen

This outdoor kitchen was build using old glass bottles and local stone and clay. 

Container Homes

To recycle containers in to a livable space is a great way to recycle! They are affordable and relatively easy to transport, and because of their mobility they can be a solution when time and practicality is an issue. Containers are adaptable structures, and natural materials can be used inside and outside to integrate them into the landscape.


Cool off in the pool! The Biopool is a natural, living system, chemical-free, in which all purifying of the water is achieved through biological filters and plants rooted hydroponically in the system. The biopool has 2 areas : the swimming zone and a regeneration zone consisting of a lined overflow pool filled with specific filtration substrate and flora. Plants used for water regeneration are supplemented with decorative flowering species to create an attractive water garden environment. The biological processes that clean the water take place in this zone. The fauna (birds, frogs and lizards) are attracted to the biopool, increasing biodiversity in the region.  The temperature is always lukewarm. Lovely.

Tree House

The Tree House is located in the green forest inside Orada´s Valley.   The tree house was built using recycled and organic materials including wood, cork & burlap, materials that ‘breath’ and provide a healthy, comfortable temperature inside regardless weather. Unlimited silence within an evergreen forest reservation. Amazing canopy vistas, endless creek trails – why aren’t we all living in one of these! A tree would never be felled again.

Seed Bank

Abundance is one of Juliana’s guiding principles. She is the keeper of a live seed bank with more than 1,000 varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers. We usually grow about 40 different kinds of tomatoes and 30 different pumpkins, plus a big variety of greens and root vegetables.

Forest Garden

Peach, apple, prune, grapes, strewberry tree, cork oak, blackberries and some of the amazing trees we worship in Orada.


Creating soil is so important. We compost everything we can! There is so much value in “rubbish”! If it’s organic, we compost it!   Compost returns valuable nutrients to the soil to help maintain soil quality and fertility. We do not use chemicals fertilizers, and composting reduces the impact of chemical fertilizers that runoff into our rivers, lakes and streams. ​
Believe it or not, you can compost a dead animal in a matter of a few weeks. We probably won’t do that on this course.

Hot tub with fire wood

Thick cast iron bath tub encased in stone framing heated by firewood. The bath tub is outside, located in a beautiful setting with a view to a virgin green forest in the middle of nature. Ok, not the most sustainable thing you’ve ever heard of – but you want so see it, don’t you? Outdoor wood fired bath tubs will save the world! 

Mushroom “plantation”

We grown our own Shitake Mushrooms. Yummy!

Solar dehydrator and solar oven

During the summer season we have an abundance of fruit and abundance of solar energy. We use this free everlasting energy to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, and store them for winter, when the fruit season is over.