Hi. I’m Leila.

I’m a designer, green builder, maker, teacher, entrepreneur, and community activist.

I’m from the South Valley of Albuquerque, NM. I went to UPenn where I majored in Architecture and Environmental Studies, lived in Center City Philadelphia, and enjoyed that urban experience. I moved back to Albuquerque and worked as an architectural intern until I co-founded the Albuquerque Old School, a hub of community experts who offer classes in frugal, traditional, and sustainable living. We connect people who have these homesteading skills to people who want to learn those skills. I teach some of the classes, including greywater, natural building, non-dairy milks, hummus & pita, and homemade toothpaste! Old School is currently on-hold while I work on other projects, but I hope to find other homesteading enthusiasts to join me to re-launch this terrific project.

Local sustainability is kind of my thing. With a team of twelve, I helped to launch the Transition movement in Albuquerque to work on local resilience projects. Rob Hopkins’ Transition Handbook gave me a brilliant new word for what Old School does: “reskilling.” I love it. Through Transition I’ve learned so much and become a big advocate for localism in all its forms. I was one of the early members of AFLEP advocating for public banks, I organized a panel on Relocalizing the Economy, and developed a workshop on Disaster Preparedness & Community Resilience that I’ve given at climate conferences and events.

Community Resilience to me means that neighbors know each other, work together to solve problems, know each other’s needs and assets, and share resources. When I heard about the Buy Nothing Project in 2014, I started the first group in Albuquerque, and I help others develop groups in their own neighborhoods. Buy Nothing members helped me organize three massive and fun Really Really Free Market events, and we hope to make it an annual gathering. Organizing neighbors around creating a tool library and a repair cafe are high on my wish list for future hyper-local projects.

I’ve also spent good chunks of time doing local organizing work with amazing people of Urban ABQ, Mi ABQ, and OLÉ on events and projects such as ABQ CiQlovia, two mayoral candidate forums, a citywide summit, and campaigns for workers right’s like paid sick leave, and for election reform like democracy dollars.

For my day job, I do freelance work in graphic design and communications with clients such as the Desert Oasis Teaching Garden, CivNet, Young Women United, and the City of Albuquerque Corridors initiative. Recently I’ve done graphics and digital communications for some local progressive political campaigns, including Maurreen Skowran for Albuquerque City Council, No Corporate Democrats 2020, and the New Mexico Working Families Party.

Thanks so much for visiting! I need to update this website and my work samples, but clients always come first! You can contact me at leila.salim@gmail.com or via social media at the links below.