Based in Atlanta and Decatur Georgia, this preschool, daycare, and afterschool facility has a massive focus on sustainability, outdoor play and nutritious food. I was hired in 2017 to revamp, redesign, install, and maintain several gardens on the Soulshine campuses. The food I grew was delivered directly to their kitchen, when it is turned into fresh, healthiful meals for staff and children. I also painted a mural for "coloring in" on the walkway of one of the buildings.
The garden designs were based on the concept of permaculture. Thus, I worked with the chef to determine what plants the kids enjoyed eating, solicited grants and generous seed donations from High Mowing Seed Company and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, measured and assessed the land for shape and water movement. Additional plants came from the Wylde Center, a local garden initiative, and special emphasis was put on providing for pollinators. One of the Soulshine instructors, Miss Ladybug, had a catchy song about pollination that the kids really respond to; it was helpful to be able to see each element of the process, from flower, to insect, to fruit.
I have also worked directly with the children, using my gardens as their classroom. We walk around and take note of colors, shapes, textures, smells, and vocabulary. The kids use their hands and tools to water, pick, plant, and dig - all important activities for developing fine motor skills and interacting with a living, green world.
plants of all kinds
Growing food is one of my talents and passions. It was a welcome challenge to adapt to growing in the north Georgia climate, which sits somewhere in between the extreme challenges of growing in coastal MA and southern CA. I'm open to garden coaching and tutoring, both locally and via the internet - trades are most welcome. : )
Soulshine also offered me opportunity to design and sustain a swath of indoor plants at their new Decatur location. It was a fun project of propagation, light assessment, and interior landscape design. These plants were chosen specifically for their indoor hardiness and ability to filter the air.