Permaculture Design Course

Permaculture Design Course
Madeira Island - Portugal
Permaculture is to live in harmony with nature providing for human needs and the needs of everything around us

1 River of Life


 The River of Life 


When the student is ready the teacher will show up”

Do you chose to take responsability?”

Since i am a big fan of non formal education i decided to create this story, sharing what i have discovered in my process as a permaculturist and showing what i really am, how i relate to nature and the inspiration that i have received from my teachers and fellow permaculturists.

I am not the best analitic person and right at the beggining of this diploma construction i was getting lost with the constant grammar chalenges with the british language, so i decided to make it as simple as possible, using  no connection words, just main concepts.

This is the result of that change of prespective, and it took me closer to what i believe to be a more simple and direct flow if information.

By focusing more on the patterns than on the details i believe i found an interesting and dynamic way to include everyone, taking care of the earth and taking care of the people. 

Hope you enjoy it and this is how it starts...


My Life

Holistic Objectives




Quality of life
Future resource base

Observations in Life

Aims and objectives for this diploma

Life story

The Permaculture closet

The impact of Permaculture in my life

The comfort zone

What I would do different
Burn outs

Aplication of permaculture ethics in my life

Care for earth
Care for people
Fair share of surplus


Final observations

Presentation about my river of life”

My Life

Holistic Objectives

I envision a future in which human beings can awaken to their essential nature.
A vision that lives by cooperation with each other, nature, and the cosmos with all the potential, so that we all can create a simple, just, peaceful, and harmonious new human culture.


My mission in life is to keep on searching for that same vision.
A path that behaves like in any simple organism, always developing, adjusting and self regulating in all the dynamics that relate to life.
Il try to help on the creation of an holistic awareness that contributes to the development of a big fraternity of healers on this planet .


The values that I seek for my life path, are based on a simple and integrative life, were there is a place for everyone to share its true nature, by compassion, honesty, love, harmony, friendship and truth.

Quality of life

The quality of life that i am looking for is based like in any permaculture design on the needs.
My needs are centered on having a peaceful and fulfilled life, being opened to learn from all sources, from the elders and the children to the valleys and the mountains.
I hope that i can also contribute for the regeneration of the outside landscapes were ever I am needed.

Future resource base
I know that the main fountain of my resources are my friends, so based on that i hope that in the future i can meet more people that can relate to my self and also to my friends around the world that worked with me to make this moment possible.
And by supporting this connections of experiences we can all live in the paradigm of our dreams.
"Wonderland poem"

Observations in Life
-Since very young in the small village were i was born i observed with curiosity the light that shines on every little manifestation of nature, those little moments wen it looks like the time stops and there is this silent moment of complicity between the all powerful nature and this tiny animal element that walks in a very different way than the other.

“Childlike observation”

-By that time i was really good at making that kind of observations, it was very natural for me to preserve a state of mind clean of impressions, stacked in my memories.

Vision quest”

-I believe that is the biggest gift I ve ever received, to be able to have this interrelation of perceptions, from my senses and also from the 6th sense, my intuition that made me be aware of different dimensions and realities.

Aims and objectives for this diploma
-Share what i have experienced and discovered along this 2 years process
-Give a general and at the same time detailed idea of the aspects of the elements in the systems that i have developed
-Compilation of research on Mediterranean climate
-Demonstrate the application of ecological design for
 holistic systems
-Improve and practice my permaculture design skills
-Create a bigger awareness about what, and how to teach permaculture contents.
-To have a lot of fun and celebration along the process.

Composting at Boom Festival

Life Story
Here is a short story about my life path until the present moment and what were the main events until i arrived here and now.

It all started in that magic year of...
    Born in Portugal in a small village in the countryside next to the Viseu mountain.

    Went to live to the Atlantic coast in a farm next to the city of Lisbon

    Moved to a new house next to the Sintra mountain

    First travels to spain and the Mediterranean coast


Participation on the development of the “Zarabatana” social center

The Evidence to act

Peak oil”

By this times it was already very clear that the modern lifestyle could not last for ever, and the search for alternatives was starting to become more and more common.

These were the early days of my understanding of the actual paradigm, and the first steps towards a more holistic perception of reality.

"Some things dont want to change"

By working on a social center by the age of 18 and by interacting with many new alternatives i started creating my own new life.

Zarabatana was a social center with gardens, bar, library, and reversal room were bands like Terrakota have started.

Terrakota concert

It was in this context that i eard for the first time the word permaculture, by that time it was presented to me just like another form of agriculture but with very special characteristics because of its awareness of natures needs.

Trip to Brazil to learn about tribal art and biodiversity

"Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the Winds, and whose breath gives life to all the World, hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, and my ears sharp to hear your voice. 

Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not to be greater than my brothers, but to fight my greatest enemy... myself. 

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes so when life fades as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame."

Travel around Europe and 12 of its countries to know about diferent climates and cultures

"Proteus @ the Postojna caves"

"Taizé community in france"

Visit to Egipt and the populations in the margins of the river Nile

Creation of Urban permaculture project “A toca do rebento” in the city of Lisbon

"A toca do rebento garden"

First visit of national 
television to the Toca do Rebento”

Creation of the "A Toca do Rebento" 

    Permaculture design course with Lesley Martin at the Mountain of Monchique

Interview to Lesley Martin”

Working and studying at the Lisbon architecture university

First visits of newspapers and TV channels to “A toca do rebento” project and big permaculture promotion to all the country.

"Second visit of national
 television to the Toca do Rebento”

First introduction to Permaculture course at the Agriculture university of Lisbon

Permaculture course in agriculture university”

Sustainable development international project
Italy and Belgium

ORA Belgium”

ORA Italy”

Permaculture design course in Istanbul, Turkey with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton to learn from the permaculture creator and to discover how to develop a national permaculture institute.

Trip to the Algarve with the objective to co-create the Vale da Lama permaculture institute and its educational permaculture structures and programs, with Lesley Martin, Walter Ludwick and Nita Barroca.

Travel to Austria for a teachers trainning course with Rosemary Morrow at the Alpine permaculture academy.

Regenerative agriculture course with Darren Doherty

Participation in several PDCs and internship as aprendice teacher with Lesley Martin

Rocket stove

Planting the agroforest

Organizer of Permaculture teachers trainning course with Rosemary Morrow in Portugal.

Visit to Finland to learn more about cold climate

Presentation of my Diploma in Slovenia during the European Permaculture Teachers Meeting

"Back to Slovenia after 10 years ”

Trip to support permaculture education in the peruvian amazon.

Big help needed in tribal amazon communities”

The closet

One of the best definitions for permaculture ive ever heard came from Geoff Lawton, he explained to me that permaculture is like a closet were we hang our many different clothes, that we dress every week according to the climate and our needs, and in this closet there is also space for our shoes and boots and also place for our hat to protect from UV rays, and a mirror for us to check if everything is related, so its not about the clothes that we dress or the fancy hat that we use, its more about designing the hole closet so that everything works in its relations.

The impact of Permaculture in my life
-Every permaculturist remembers wen he came across permaculture and how much it has inspired him to follow this difficult path of creating a resilient world in the most holistic way. The big boosts of inspiration, in my case most of the times, comes from other brother permaculturists either older or younger that share their experiences with me, it is the fountain that gives the energy to go forward and create new paradigms of cooperation.
The impact of permaculture in my life was huge its just like Bill Mollison says in the beginning of the PDC “After this you will never be the same”.
The main impact i believe that relates to the way i connect things, and how i became so more accurate on looking for efficient relations in everything around me.

-I ve traveled a lot since young age so i observed the unique richness of being with other people and other cultures that was to me the revelation of diversity and stability that is directly related to permaculture principles.


The comfort zone
The main impact that permaculture had in my life is related to my comfort zone and the way i relate to that.
By following this path of permaculture teacher and practitioner i believe there is no other way to learn and become an active member in the regeneration of this planet, other than extending our comfort zone.

We are all very strongly dependent of our believe system, prejudices, and mental limitations, by trying to look at things from a new perspective, this concepts disappear and a new world is discovered that can provide us with new opportunities.


Burn outs
Something I find really important its the awareness of burn-out situations, many permies work for more than 10 hours a day, because they are fully inspired and motivated, that situation usually changes in the way it manifests.

 So i believe permaculturists should only work 80 % of their working time, the extra 20% dont make that much of a difference in the production, but a big impact on quality of life, so the extra 20% should be applied on celebration, implementation of art elements, events, courses, partys contemplation of achievements, and inner silence for a deeper understanding of nature.

Permaculturists are people that know about many things, thats all part of the process of growing, but its important to be aware of the speed of the process of percieving and processing so that no precious emotional energy gets lost along the process.

 So it looks to me that its extremely important to find a place to stop the mind and connect to a relaxed state of emptiness.

The children are the example”

 I discover that there is an immense impact on the flow of ideas for the design and also in the general harmony of projects

Dont get burned out, work with your local community

To know how to prevent Burn-Outs click HERE and HERE

Every permaculturist talks about a new paradigm, thats the paradise of our dreams, a world were this planet its at its full potential , and man developed all its cooperation skills.

“Horizontal leadership

In my opinion the key to get to this level of development its by understanding that, it doesnt matter how you look, it also doesnt matter what you say, all that matters is what you do, cause thats what you are.

Based on my experience of trying to connect with nature i discovered that only by watching, touching, smelling, listening and feeling the landscape its possible to be aware of the life and the patterns of interrelations that surround us.

I received many gifts by relating to Nature as a friend and ally and we can all find this treasures and richness by treating this planet with respect and care.

Now is the moment to take responsibility and to take us all into what we want to see in the world.

If your not having fun you have made the design wrong”...Graham Bell

Aplication of permaculture principles in my life
In the beginning of my process i used to get very excited about the permaculture technic and methods, after going deeper and deeper into the permaculture experience i came to the conclusion that there is an extreme importance on the awareness of the patterns, and its not so important to try to understand all the details, so in my opinion the ethics and principles of permaculture are the patterns that i want to keep very close to me, the details about how to make a food forest or a lake can be discovered slowly, by the other hand the principles are something to keep really close in our sub conscient.
Its the application of the principles that creates the permaculturist and its efficiency towards the challenges of regeneration.

Permaculture Ethics

Care for earth
The situation that pops to my mind wen I think if I have been properly taking care of the earth, was a moment wen I was living in a big capital, in the center of the city of Lisbon, I was running a urban permaculture project there called “A toca do rebento”, and there was a moment wen I was contemplating my achievements, observing the garden in a very rainy day, sudently I saw thousands of red worms climbing the walls of the garden because the soil was to wet for them to stay in there, it was a big revelation of how much had been my impact on the soil regeneration and the life that it had.

One of the situations that brings me a special happiness is the moment wen I developed in a food forest the habitat for the monarch butterfly to establish, and as years were passing by I was able to see more butterflys each year circling aroud my fruit trees and the hole farm.

A big discovery on the regeneration of ecosystems came wen I started making lakes, specially on the time factor, the speed of regeneration surprised me, and it all happened just by the application of the permaculture principles..
One of the lakes I made on a very arid landscape gave me a big lesson, there I was able to create all the right needs for a new micro-climate, it was a surprise how biodiverity came after this conditions, it was amazing for me to create conditions for turtles to come to an area that as such an dry environment.

Care for people
With permaculture and with all this amazing teachers and partners that I have been having for all this years I have discovered the richness of our differences and the power that arises from the efficient use of such resources.

In my opinion the key for the integration of such richness is by the awareness of our learning styles and the different way we all interact with the reality.
Some people are doers, some people are thinkers, to identify the potential in all the elements is the bridge for a sustainable future, were everybody has a crucial participation.

I found also a crucial importance on the use of pacific communication tools, so that its developed a clear and focused expression of our feelings and needs, so that each person can fully feel integrated and included in every moment.

Fair share of surplus
In my opinion ive been supporting the community around me, by helping on the creation of cooperative structures, based on cooperation rather than competition, by supporting the development of networking mechanisms between permaculture projects and practitioners in Portugal and international, so that there is an easy flow of knowledge.

A big part of my time as a permaculturist was invested on education and to share my discoveries with other people is one of the things that inspire me the most.

By doing this diploma project I feel that its an enterprise that is directly related to the fair share ethic, because its being developed online so that any person can see and consult at any time for free. 

“The agave connection

Our main strength its at the same time our main weakness, only by stayng toguether we can make the world of our dreams.

Permaculture is the awareness of our real needs”

The key for my designs


For the design process of this projects and for my life, ive chosen the O.B.R.E.D.I.M.C.E. as main framework, based on the O.B.R.E.D.I.M. tool to witch i extended the C. and E. and mixed with other tools like holistic management or the scale of permanence.

"The key maker"

O.B.R.E.D.I.M.C.E. is a mnemonic that stands for Observation, Bounderies, Resources, Evaluation, Design, Implementation, Maintainance, Celebration and Evaluation again.

More information about the O.B.R.E.D.I.M.C.E. tool click HERE

Biggest challenges

The biggest challenges ive lived in this process was 

to keep combine the land developments with the 

organizational developments.

Its very challenging wen we have to divide in several 

different directions, its a lot more easy if we just 

work with the land or if we just work with education 

or organization.

In my case is extremly chalenging since im very 

passionate about both things, land development and 


A good strategy about time stacking is crucial on this

 combination and its also very important to delegate

 to someone that is helping us.

Final observations

There is a crucial importance to know the landscape in all its aspects, to know what happens inside and outside each element in our system. The time invested on understanding any landscape its the best investment you can make.
It takes many years to understand a landscape, in permaculture its suggested at least one year observation period, to then start implementing, that takes us to a deeper understanding of how to relate to what surrounds us and even ourselves.

A close observation of what surrounds us, takes us to an evaluation of potentials, and an awareness of problems and challenges, limiting factors and needs.

Ultimately if everything connects to our mission and vision and the quality of life that we want to have, and if what we need is coming in our direction we are on the right path.

"If the resources are gathering around are doing the right thing"  

"Permaculture its a lot more than the sum of 2 parts"

4 comentários:

  1. Amazing work, these are the best design projects i ever saw, you are probably the best designer in permaculture in the Whole world. Congratulations

  2. Uau, great work, you are the best elder

  3. Oh wow you are amazing helder, you should go to mars to design the human settlement

  4. No, sorry, i made an mistake. YOU ARE PURE BULLSHIT; WORST TEACHER EVER


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