We were to be offering short-stay immersion courses in off grid living here at Quinta do Vale from 2018. Unfortunately the fires of October 2017 put paid to that. All of our guest and volunteer accommodation and facilities were destroyed or damaged beyond use. But having to make repairs to our buildings and infrastructure gave us the opportunity to turn it into a learning opportunity for others, so we opened our doors in 2018 regardless and welcomed people to the quinta to help us rebuild.
In 2019, the emphasis has shifted much more towards the urgency of our present global situation. We’re going as far as we’re able at this stage and partnering with others to offer a range of things to learn about with the overall aim of helping to enable the necessary response.
Course Programme 2019
This coming summer has a growing sense of critical importance about it. There is a regenerative imperative making itself felt. Humanity needs to wake up and act! And fast. So I’m taking the step of introducing our offerings this year in a somewhat unconventional way. If it shocks you, it’s designed to. If it spurs you into action, then it’s achieved its aim. And if you decide to make this place part of your journey, then we will welcome you with open arms.
For us to be able to turn this crisis around in the time we have left before everything spirals into collapse and destruction, a collective ‘system reboot’ is needed. It’s time to get over ourselves, realise that this is where the rubber hits the road, and get to work. In its fundamental simplicity, this is both the ultimate in no-brainer common sense and an evolution in collective consciousness.
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.
Everything we do flows from the way we think and feel.
We need to get out of our present mindset of infatuation with our own engineering and technology and understand that this thinking simply doesn’t work with natural systems. This is where we’re going wrong, and have done for centuries. There is no solution possible in continuing down this road. More of the same won’t fix things. It will make it worse.
We also need to get over our self-obsession. The present figurehead of western society in all his self-centred narcissism, racism, misogyny, moral bankruptcy and greed is not where he is for no reason. He holds up a mirror to us all …
How do we solve this?
We need to retune and reharmonise our thinking to natural systems and processes.
How do we do that?
Simple. We care. Caring is love. Love is connection. Connection is harmonisation. Harmonisation is retunement. As Monica Wilde says, “When you are reconnected to nature in this most intimate way, your passion for this Earth becomes a love affair.”
Once this love affair with the entire planet begins – and it needs to be the entire planet, not a handful of species on it – the reconnection is made. Understanding falls into place. Direction becomes clear. Ethics operate on the level of instinct. You are a cell in the body of the Earth using your unique talents to do what’s required of you to restore the health of the whole (and by doing so, restore your own health). The planet’s life force works through you. It’s a profoundly joyful and positive experience, even amidst the growing horror and urgency of our present times.
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest…a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it’s beauty.
So, ready or not, Quinta do Vale is doing all we can to help spread the knowledge and enable as many actors as possible in this much-needed regenerative transformation. We are offering the following courses …
We’re delighted and excited to hook up with with Circle Permaculture to offer a full 72-hour certificated Permaculture Design Course endorsed by the Permaculture Association UK. The intention is for it to become an annual event.
There will be a week-long Foraging & Fermentation course immediately before the PDC, bringing in our local wild edible specialists.
Immediately after it there will be a week-long Post-PDC Practical Course to cement and ground some of that prodigious amount of theory and, concurrently, a 3-week long Natural Build-in, in partnership with our local education project Folha Verde, to build 2 vermicomposting toilets for the project.
These courses are 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 will work 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.
Foraging necessitates learning to observe carefully and recognise plants, fungi, algae, lichens, etc, and fermentation involves immersion in the workings of natural processes. Permaculture is about learning to design and work with nature, thinking in tune with natural systems and processes in circular, self-maintaining systems of interaction rather than linear ‘production lines’ or engineering exercises. Natural building in community using the Agile Learning System not only reconnects us with our innate capacity to build our own shelters, but also with our natural self-organisational abilities, and provides a simple but powerful framework for successful repetition and replication.
If you’re interested in getting involved in other ways, see the the Volunteering page. Volunteering opportunities for the PDC are already full, but we have limited vacancies for the remaining courses.
If you feel moved to help us along the way, please see the Support us page.
“‘To malama ‘ãina’ is to take care of the Earth that feeds us. The minute we lose sight of that, we have signed our own ‘palapala make’ – our death warrant.”
Sabra Kauka, Hawai’ian traditional storyteller
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