Food Forestry Course at Terra Alta, Portugal

Whilst staying is Lisbon we visited Terra Alta in Sintra for a weekend course on Food Forests. This is a method of growing food using nature’s way. In nature, forests are made up of hundreds of types of trees, shrubs and plants all growing with and around each other in an ecosystem. The forest is abundant with life without the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides that is needed for conventional farming.

Doug Crouch Portugal
Doug teaching us how to prune the fruit trees. Behind Doug is a deep sunken bed and the anchor tree is surrounded by edible plants. All of the land at Terra Alta is green like this.

This was an incredibly inspirational weekend with some practical tree planting, a lot of theory and displays of examples. Doug Crouch’s course managed to help take my understanding to the next level. Now with the continuation of study on individual plants that can be grown here in Portugal, I can really plan our food forests at Keela to be the most efficient possible.

Dong and Kimbo
Doug and Kimbo digging to add to an existing guild. A guild is where you put various plants and trees together (companion planting) in a mini ecosystem.

All over Terra Alta are food forests at different stages, but what was most amazing was how abundant and alive the land was with vegetation that supplies food.

Laurence Food Forest
Planting a new fruit tree in the food forest in a guild

We also got to see some of the systems they had there like compost toilets, irrigation, natural buildings, stream management and the kitchen. I am going back there in July for a timber framing course to learn how to make a frame for a house, shed, or box using traditional methods without nails.

Terra Alta Community
Community based eating is an important part for all Permaculture communities


Natural Building
Terra Alta has many examples of natural building and sustainable methods. Pedro makes everything himself from solar heaters to compost toilets and houses!


Food Forest Portugal
A guild in a food forest at Terra Alta, Portugal


Camping at Terra Alta Portugal
Kimbo getting out of our tent. They had made small terraces among the cork trees for us to camp in
Terra Alta Music
There are large stones around a fire for classes, eating, or just for hanging out. Here we were experimenting with various instruments that Pedro has in his music shed!

Terra Alta website:

Doug Crouch’s website:

My summary on food forests: Food Forest Portugal

3 thoughts on “Food Forestry Course at Terra Alta, Portugal

  1. […] we learnt on a food forest course with Doug Crouch in Portugal, the method we use to plant trees is ...
  2. […] we sorted out admin and officially became residents of Portugal. During this time we attended a food...
  3. […] we learnt on a food forest course with Doug Crouch in Portugal, the method we use to plant trees is ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *