New Agrarian Voices

Learn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.





Esme Wessel, APPRENTICE, Lightroot Community Farm, CO

First Reflections
April 2023

There is no one thing that led me to agriculture but I have always been headed here in my roundabout way.  When I was four years old my friend and I decided that we would be getting married when we were all grown up; the only problem was that he wanted to live in New York City and I wanted to farm.  Only we did not see that as a problem, we just took the lively rural barnyard I envisioned and plopped it in the Big Apple.  Now with a few years behind us, that friend is living happily in NYC, and in pursuit of a variety of passions and interests I have found that it all leads me back to agriculture.  

I have chased my interests in food, plants, herbalism, education and traditional cultures and they have all led me to discover that a life spent working and living close to the land is what gives me the sense of meaning that I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  A meaningful life to me, is one dictated by seasonal ritual and routine, where my work is physical and my relationships with my environment and community are embodied in the daily tasks involved in taking care of the land and one another.  I am continuously inspired by the hope that future generations will have the opportunity to have flourishing and mutually beneficial relationships with the land where their food grows.  When I began farming and learned that with proper management, human stewardship could accelerate the regeneration of our soils and ecosystems, I knew I had to gain a deeper understanding of the practices that made this possible.  That is what has led me here, from my background farming vegetables and medicinal herbs, to learn more about crop and livestock integration at Light Root Community Farm.  The practical reciprocity embodied in regenerative agriculture aligns work, values, and a sense of purpose in my life. 

Here at Light Root I have already gotten to peer through a new window of what it means to lead a meaningful life in agriculture.  I am learning about how farmers might go about balancing their goals to create systems that are both regenerative for the land and sustainable to the people working it.  I am learning more about systems that are able to close their own loops on the farm such as compost, animal husbandry, and draft animal power.  I am expanding my network of like minded farmers and beginning to imagine how my land management goals fit into the world and my own life.  I am grateful for this opportunity to develop my skills in managing agricultural ecosystems for climate resilience; and to be out here coloring in the visions of that four year old who planned on farming no matter where she landed.

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