New Agrarian Voices

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





Henri Spaan​, APPRENTICE, Cold Mountain Ranch

How did you get interested in agriculture? And what are you hoping to gain from your apprenticeship?
May 2024

I became interested in agriculture at an early age because my extended family has a cattle ranch in western Nebraska that my family would go to visit each summer. Being exposed to ranching helped me to gain a connection to the land and better understand our food production. Whenever I returned home to Chicago I felt disconnected from people and the landscape, and it was in searching for more connection that I discovered that I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture.

The main reason I am interested in agriculture and food is it is the common human experience. Farming is part of what makes us human. We become connected through the growing of food, the preparation and cooking of food, and the sharing of food. Food and agriculture connect us to our human community, but also connect us to the land. Through the mindful growing and eating of food we can regain a connection with the earth that many of us have lost.

 The first job I ever had was working for a company that designed, built, and maintained backyard organic gardens for clients. After working for various vegetable farms I came to realize that I much prefer to work with animals and pasture systems and sought to broaden my knowledge in that area which led me to applying to the New Agrarian Program. I am excited to learn more about pasture management through this apprenticeship, regenerative grazing, and to deepen my connection to community and land through food production.  

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