Extended Permaculture Design Course at Azula, Portugal Aug 27th – 18th Sept 2020

Due to popular demand, Azula and Surplus Permaculture Design are excited to invite you to join us for an extended- 21 day- Permaculture Design Course (PDC) on a stunning 15 hectare Permaculture project in Portugal.

An average PDC runs for 10-14 days, packing in all the 72 hours of theory into the shortest timescale possible. We want to do things differently and after feedback from PDC graduates they want it differently too – so we have created an extended 21 day PDC. This will be a unique learning experience giving you all the knowledge and skills of a PDC but with the added benefit of being able to deepen that knowledge – to learn by doing – to put theory into practice – get your hands in the earth and connect with the land from day one!

What is a PDC?

A PDC is an internationally-recognized, 72-hour theory course resulting in a Permaculture Design Certificate. It provides a detailed overview of permaculture design as set forth by movement founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The PDC serves as a foundation for further permaculture work and study and is a prerequisite for the Diploma in Permaculture Design, offered through The Permaculture Association and Gaia University. Credit for this PDC are now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world. To date, thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have been certified through this course, and now comprise a global network of educators, ecological activists, consultants and practitioners who are influencing the decisions of major corporations, small business and people from all walks of life to change the way we view and design our landscape, our surroundings, our relationships and our daily lives so we can grow the revolution that our planet needs.

What to expect:

This PDC promises to be a very unique experience with a specialised schedule to maximise time inside and out of the classroom. We teach, based on our real-life experience with Permaculture from over 10 years’ of practice in a variety of climates. It is our goal to live, breath and practise Permaculture every day of our lives and we are very passionate to share our knowledge with you. The 72 hours of course work, required to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate, will be covered over the 21 days with hands-on practical sessions interwoven throughout giving you a further opportunity to discover, learn and experiment. It promises to be a PDC full of energy and excitement, where sessions will be taught to accommodate different learning styles combining lectures, group discussions, visual demonstrations, hands-on participatory learning and other creative ways of teaching. Participants will take part in daily farm work from planting to propagating, fermenting to forging you will see firsthand how integrated permaculture systems and holistic design are applied and maintained.

Course Details:

This 21-day program will be taught in English and is designed to give participants the inspiration and knowledge they need to become an ambassador of change in the world. The course will include a broad range of topics applicable to life anywhere on this planet, it will be tailored to the needs of the students present as well as the location at hand. We will cover every major topic in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: a Designers Manual in the classroom and around the farm. The course curriculum is as follows:

  • Philosophies and Ethics underlying permaculture
  • Permaculture principles and how to apply them in your daily life
  • Patterns in Nature and how to use that in permaculture design
  • Methods of design. How to apply permaculture design tools and strategies to your design problems. How to increase your chance of a successful design by following a well-defined design methodology.
  • Climactic factors and strategies. We will cover all the major climates and how to work with them.
  • Trees, forests and Forest gardening. How to mimic natural forest systems to create an abundance of food, fibre and fodder.
  • Water: catchment, usage, importance, and conservation.
  • Soil: Learn about the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil and how to work with the soil food web to build new soils, prevent erosion, create a healthy ecosystem and regenerate degraded land.
  • Earthworks. Shaping the land to reap the rewards of mother earth and create positive effects on ecological systems
  • AquacultureExploring the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants
  • Natural Building.How to build beautiful, spiritually uplifting homes using locally resourced natural materials.
  • Alternative systems. Community living and alternative lifestyles that unite people and the planet. Bioregional organization, community development, alternative economic systems, permaculture as aid.

Design Project 

As part of the course, participants will help to co-create designs for real-life projects that could include elements such as food forests, permaculture-style gardens, natural buildings, water catchment and irrigation systems. Participants will have the opportunity to design their own land or any projects they are involved in during this PDC. (We will provide more information in what information you need to bring, if you are interested in designing your own land or a project you are involved in, in the information pack you will receive when you sign up for the course)

Additional Activities

Apart from the above course curriculum, you will also be welcome to participate in any other community activities, these will vary depending on who is with us but we love to practice Yoga, Capoeira and Acroyoga, there is frisbee and football matches, and we love to come together to make music and jam; if you play any musical instrument bring it along. We have a beautiful lake on site where you will be able to bathe as you wish during breaks and free time and we are only a 15-20 minute drive from some beautiful beaches. The Azula community wants to create a safe and welcoming place for you to try new things, experiment, laugh and be you, to explore a deeper connection with yourself and with the natural world in stillness and tranquillity and with the support of a loving community. You will learn so much during this course, but having a great time is also the goal, so come with an open and relaxed mindset to make the most of your experience!


Course price: € 880 (Euros)

Early Bird Discounts: Get in there early and secure your PDC for an incredible € 820 (Euros) if you sign up before Jan 1st 2020!

This price includes all meals, a comfy bed in a beautiful cob earth dormitory for the duration of the course, transportation to and from the farm to Sao Luis ( or Cercal) and all course tuition and materials. 

We ask all registrants to make a deposit of €200 (plus transaction fee) to secure your spot and the remaining fees can be paid in cash on arrival or transferred to the Azula bank account.

Azula would like to be as transparent as possible with their finances, as an example to other projects and to be open and honest with visitors and students, who each contribute so much to the building and development of the farm and community. Azula is currently funded by its founders but they want to create a more resilient economic model by diversifying their streams of income. Creating a volunteer program and by running courses and workshops will help develop the systems on the land. The money paid for your course fee will be divided between Azula project and the facilitators, meaning Azula can go forward with developing the project and purchasing of materials, and the facilitators can continue with their passion to teach and inspire. 

Please Note:

In the unlikely event of us cancelling the course your deposit will be refunded in full, additionally, we will not be held responsible for any financial losses accrued. Deposits are non-refundable if you chose to not participate in the course. We will accept late bookings if there is space available.

Fundraise for your Tuition

If you are interested in a creative way to come up with funds for this course, look into fundraising for it through WeTheTrees.co. It is a great way to reach out to your family and friends, let them know what you are up to and give them an easy way to contribute to your education and future pathways.

Contact information:

Please feel free to email us on info@azula.bio for any additional information you may need.


 Meet the  Facilitators: 

Kyle Smith

Kyle practised horticulture and community living on a kibbutz in Israel in his early 20’s, where he was inspired to pursue a career in horticulture. During his studies he completed an internship at Soil for Life, a Cape Town based non-profit organization teaching people how to build the soil and grow healthy plants using organic and low-cost methods.  After completing his studies in horticulture he worked at Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. His main focuses were conserving indigenous plant species, rehabilitating degraded ecosystems, designing and establishing education gardens on the grounds of the botanic garden. Kyle recently left his position as the perennial plant manager at Panya Project, Thailand, where he spent 3 years teaching, designing and co-coordinating the volunteer and internship program. He is currently a nomadic permaculture consultant and teacher; travelling and connecting with Permaculture projects around the world. Kyle is also a designer and consultant for Surplus Permaculture Design . He is passionate about conserving soil ecosystems, plant propagation and small-scale ecological agriculture. He is working towards empowering people to grow their own food, become more self-reliant, and regenerate degraded ecosystem and is also an active member of Gaia university where he is studying a Permaculture Diploma.

Lola Byron

Lola is a Permaculture and Natural building facilitator, practitioner and consultant, living and working in Southern Portugal with her young family. Originally from Birmingham, England, she has been a thriving Permaculturist and natural builder since completing her PDC back in 2010. Lola spent time as an active urban Permaculturist; designing and implementing a variety of community gardens and co-facilitating natural building and gardening workshops in and around the UK, before travelling to Thailand and joining Panya Project. Lola was the natural building manager at Panya Project, Thailand for 3 years, where she taught numerous PDC’s, hands-on Permaculture and Natural Building Courses, and co-managed the volunteer and intern program as well as the daily running of the farm. With a background in studying then teaching Fine Art, Sculpture, when Lola discovered Permaculture and Natural Building she knew she had found her calling in life and loves to apply these artistic skills to create beautiful, ecological buildings from earth, specialising in adobe, cob, rammed earth and earthbags. Lola is always excited to pass on her knowledge to inspire and empower others to re-connect with the earth, make positive changes and become more self-reliant. Lola is a consultant with Surplus Permaculture Design, an international collaboration of Permaculture designers and consultants.


Meet Azula:

Founded in August 2016, in the beautiful Alentejo region of Portugal. The founders are full of enthusiasm, passion, determination and knowledge, and they are transforming this previously heavily grazed land, into an abundant off the grid farm by applying fully integrated Permaculture design systems. This is a fantastic opportunity to see how you can really make dreams into reality by designing and building a Permaculture project from scratch. Not only will you be partaking in an incredible 3 week immersion into permaculture, but you will also be part of the beautiful Azula community and thereby learn how to live and thrive with people from all walks of life, go back to basics and becoming more connected with nature. Our aim is to create a supportive learning community for the duration of the course where trust, compassion, support and connection is built among participants, facilitators and community members.

The Accommodation:

Accommodation during the course will be provided in a big bell-tent dormitory with comfortable mattresses and pillows. However, for those that would prefer more privacy, there is the option to rent a private bell tent for a maximum of 2 people at an added charge of € 40 a day. They are placed in private and beautiful surroundings in close proximity to toilets and showers. We have limited private tents so booking them in advance is a must. If you prefer, you can also bring your own tent and camp on the designated areas. Please be flexible about your sleeping space. If for some reason you would strongly prefer to be in one space or the other, please let us know, and we will try to make that happen for you. 

The Food:

Fresh and organic vegetarian food will be provided throughout the course and will be sourced from the farm itself and the local market. Special dietary needs can be accommodated for but please let us know in advance.

To find out more please visit the Azula website