TLS Duke: Saturday, April 26 (9:00-3:00, lunch served from 11:00-1:00)
TLS Hillsborough: Saturday, May 17 (9:00-3:00, lunch served from 11:00-1:00)
Meet Liane Salgado
This Spring The Little School is putting a special focus on expanding the edibles we grow here on our grounds. We are also moving towards choosing bushes, trees and other plants which are native to the area and attract birds and pollinators. To help us design our gardens and grounds, we are working with permaculture designer and organic farmer, Liane Salgado. Liane undertook doctoral work and received her Masters in ecology and evolutionary biology, reflecting a deep interest she has had in ecology and systems thinking since her teenage years. She serves as a teacher and leader at the Carrboro Community Gardens, turned her own yard into an organic farm to grow produce in a cooperative venture with Vimala’s Curryblossom Café in Chapel Hill, and now uses some of this space to cultivate a food forest. She has studied permaculture design and shares this knowledge as a leader and teacher with Carrboro Greenspace, where she organizes and presents seminars on community-driven sustainability practices.
So, what is permaculture anyway?
Permaculture involves the integration of human activities into a living ecosystem. It comes from the words “permanent culture” as it aims to create environments which are permanently sustainable. As a permaculture designer, I would look at all of the processes occurring on a given site – such as food, water, energy, waste, teaching, learning, playing – and work towards integrating those processes into the surrounding natural and human environment to move towards more sustainable solutions. For example, when we are choosing plants for the playgrounds of the school we would select plants that could be considered invasive in other settings because they just grow and grow and take over. Kids running feet will keep these fast-growing plants in check, while they would kill less hardy plants.
Can you tell me a little bit about organic gardening practices?
Well, until the 40s and 50s all gardening was organic gardening. It is a very recent phenomenon to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic gardening uses natural sources of nutrition, such as compost, rather than chemical fertilizers. To keep pests and disease at bay an organic gardener will use natural approaches such as mixing up the plants grown in an area and rotating them from year to year. When you grow all of one type of plant in an area year after year the bugs and diseases that live off of those plants will discover this great habitat and eat all of your produce before you can harvest.
You have done a lot of community-based training in these areas. How are you finding working with a preschool?
It’s very gratifying to me to think about young kids being exposed to gardening in the environment where they spend so much of their time. There is quite a bit of research which shows that when young children are given the opportunity to grow plants, and then get to take care of them and sometimes even eat them, they develop a greater understanding and appreciation of nature and are more likely to eat and enjoy those vegetables. On the permaculture side, I love the thought of creating ever denser and more intricate living systems on the school grounds. Kids’ innate curiosity and attraction to all things living will turn these spaces into de facto outdoor classrooms with many and varied opportunities to teach about the vibrant ecosystem right here at The Little School.
Liane will be on hand at both Garden Days to direct activities, answer questions and provide guidance. We invite all of our families to come out for as little or as long as you like.