Courses at the quinta

The fires of October 2017 which destroyed all of our guest and volunteer accommodation and facilities brought the focus very clearly onto the urgency of our present global situation and the need to dramatically improve eco-literacy. Since then, we have been working like crazy to restore buildings and infrastructure and get the quinta into a fit state to function as an environmental education centre.

The sad reality is that we are in danger of perishing from our own stupidity and lack of responsibility to life. If we become extinct because of factors beyond our control, then we can at least die with pride in ourselves, but to create a mess in which we perish by our own inaction makes nonsense of our claims to consciousness and morality.
Bill Mollison

In 2019, we created a 6 week programme of back-to-back courses during June and July.

We were delighted to hook up with with Circle Permaculture to offer a full 72-hour certificated Permaculture Design Course endorsed by the Permaculture Association UK. The course was a great success and will become a semi-annual event from 2020.

Students on the Permaculture Design Certificate course making compost

Immediately before the PDC, there was a week-long Foraging & Fermentation course, bringing in our local wild edible specialists.

Cooking up foraged food on the Foraging & Fermentation course

Following the PDC there was a week-long Post-PDC Practical Course to cement and ground some of that prodigious amount of theory.

Mixing cob during the Post-PDC Practical

Then there was a 2-week long Natural Build-in to construct a new vermicomposting toilet at the quinta, culminating in a one-day Vermicomposting Toilet workshop to commission the sanitation system.

These courses were simply and fundamentally motivated by our need to reconnect with Nature and harmonise ourselves with natural processes. So as well as providing education about natural systems, we worked in natural ways, using self-organisation and feedback loops as our defining framework to retune our ways of thinking as well as our skills and knowledge.

Food is mostly organic and in season, sourced from the quinta and local growes

Although the courses are finished for this current year, it was such a brilliant and encouraging start to the quinta's career, we're already planning next year's programme. Keep an eye on this page or sign up for our newsletter below if you're interested in joining us.

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Vermicomposting Toilet Workshop 2019

July 26

Quinta do Vale is hosting a one-day VERMICOMPOSTING TOILET WORKSHOP on our very own vermicomposting flush toilet system on July 26th 2019. This will be the final day of a 2-week NATURAL BUILD-IN to construct a new toilet for the quinta and we’re turning it into a workshop to allow more people to come and learn about the system.

At the moment, it’s the only vermicomposting workshop I’m teaching this year.

This workshop will not only give you the chance to help commission a new system, but also to see the original one that’s been working away for 5 years now.

The workshop will cover the theory and practice of installing a DIY vermicomposting sewerage system based on a conventional flush toilet. This system combines all the ecological advantages of a dry composting toilet system with the user-friendliness and convenience of a flush toilet and has a 20-year history of trouble-free use by the system’s originator in the USA.

It requires minimal maintenance compared to dry systems and has significant environmental advantages over conventional septic tanks. The system can be used in approved housebuilding and renovation projects in this area of Portugal under the provisions for “septic tank with drainage”.

Vermicomposting toilet workshop

Teaching a vermicomposting toilet workshop

Outline plan for the workshop

10-11:00am Tea/Coffee on arrival
Informal get together and exchange of ideas/information about your individual projects and reasons for attending the workshop.

11:00-12:30am The Theory
Why vermicomposting? Where and how is vermicomposting being used in sewerage systems and bioremediation projects worldwide? How does this system work? What’s its history? How is it constructed? What maintenance is involved? How does the system regulate itself? What are the environmental advantages?

Questions are encouraged throughout the session, whether in relation to your own project (planned or potential) or to the science in general, but please try to keep these appropriate to the general focus and flow of the session.

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-3:30pm The Practice
Hands-on installation of the system. The system does take a bit longer than 2 hours to construct and install, but preparatory work will have been done in such a way that you’ll be able to see all parts of the system clearly and take part in the final stages of installation. Bring working gloves and wear suitable clothes.

3.30-4.00pm Tea/Coffee
Informal get together and summing up of the project. Any remaining questions.

Fully booked


35€ including lunch and refreshments

Overnight accommodation is available at extra charge. To participate in some of the building of the toilet, see the Natural Build-in event.


If you are making a booking for a couple, family or group, please list the names (and ages if under 18) and dietary preferences of the other members of your party


Quinta do Vale
Benfeita, Coimbra 3305-031 Portugal + Google Map

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