New Agrarian Voices

Mitchell Robert, APPRENTICE, Ranney Ranch

First Month Reflection

There are three core values that have led me to become an apprentice at Ranney Ranch: increased access and awareness to healthy foods for all as a right, not a privileged; sustainable and holistic land and animal management, and my love for working in the outdoors and with nature.  These values are a product of the culmination of my experiences to date.

My introduction to agriculture and food systems began when I was eleven when I started spending the summers working on my uncle’s ranch in Eastern Washington, a cow calf and grain operation.  Initially my duties were to move sprinklers, build fence line, paint buildings, paint more buildings, oh and then paint some more buildings. Slowly my responsibilities evolved into working more with the cattle and operating different tractors.  As I grew up and moved to Seattle to go get my bachelors in mathematics, my summers were spent elsewhere but my time spent on the ranch sparked an interest in agriculture and an understanding of what large scale agriculture looks like. During my time in Seattle my desire to work with food never left and it inspired me to become involved in community garden spaces and to work on urban farms.  The continued exposure to different types of food systems inspired my decision to join the Peace Corps as a food security volunteer in Nepal.

When I was in Nepal I experienced first hand what it takes to be a subsistence farmer and how it changes your values.  When you rely on the land to feed you and not the grocery store, your relationship to food and land shifts. You feel far more connected to the land and the food you eat and appreciate and value where it comes from and the work it takes.  The reality in America is different then Nepal, where eighty percent of its population are subsistence farmers. Here people have become disconnected from where their food comes from but by promoting local food sources and educating people on what proper food systems look like, we can attempt to appreciate our food more like the people of Nepal.

When I returned from Nepal I wanted to continue to learn more about food production.  This led me to rural Virginia where I worked on a five acre organic vegetable farm that directly sold its produce to farmers markets in Washington D.C.  There I gained more intimate knowledge on how to grow healthy food and learned the challenges that small farmers face in order to stay financially viable.  From there I decided I wanted to come back out West to get back out in the big open spaces. Fortunately, I was accepted as an apprentice at Ranney Ranch.

Ranney Ranch is situated in historically vast grasslands with incredible diversity, but due to overgrazing and systemic drought these grasslands are being choked out by junipers and have seen a incredible decline in animal and plant diversity.  Fortunately, Nancy and Melvin are doing their part in trying to regenerate their land. With changes in grazing patterns and with attention and care, they have began the process of returning the land to what it used to be. When I went to visit the ranch I stood along a fence line with Melvin; on one side was Ranney Ranch on the other their neighbors.  It was in this moment, seeing the stark contrast in dense, resilient and diverse grassland to the dry and brittle land, that I knew I wanted to be a part of this process.

I hope in my time at Ranney Ranch I can absorb as much knowledge and wisdom from Nancy and Melvin as possible and learn to live the realities of what it takes to make ends meet while keeping proper land and animal management at the forefront.  I am inspired by my mentors and thoroughly look forward to working with them and getting to know them better over the next eight months.

More Voices

New Agrarian Voices – Kate Clyatt

Kate Clyatt, APPRENTICE, Mannix Brothers Ranch, MT My Land EthicWhile there are many things that come to mind when I ponder my land ethic, the one that seems to serve as my foundation is the understanding that everything is interconnected. When it comes to land...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Steven Franz, Tooley’s Trees

Steven Franz, APPRENTICE, Tooley's Trees, NM My Land EthicMy philosophy or theoretical framework about how, ethically, humans should regard the land is in no way new or refreshing. It is simple because the consequences are simple, no matter how complex you think it...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Savannah Robar, Badger Creek

Savannah Robar, APPRENTICE, Badger Creek Ranch, CO First Month Reflection My agricultural exposure was very limited up until high school. Even during high school, I had only a basic understanding of the agricultural world beyond growing flowers in a greenhouse for the...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – James Pennington, Triangle P

JP, APPRENTICE, Triangle P Cattle Company First Month ReflectionAfter I retired from active duty (Army), I attended Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre. While at Meredith Manor, I began to search for a new career. I chose my new career in agriculture. After...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Aubin Lebegue, Vilicus Farms

Aubin Lebegue, APPRENTICE, Vilicus Farms, MT First Month ReflectionI arrived at Vilicus Farms at the beginning of March, which gave me time to get settled in. My mentors are very kind and smart people. Since my first days at the Vilicus Farms I have felt good and have...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Ben Clark, Vilicus Farms

Benjamin Clark, APPRENTICE, Vilicus Farms, MT First Month Reflection My interest in agriculture began soon after I started studying capitalism and resources. I remember watching documentaries while in High School about the advent of the peak oil crisis, the middle...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Lukman, James Ranch

Lukman, APPRENTICE, James Ranch, CO First Month ReflectionMy name is Lukman and I am from a small village in West Borneo, Indonesia. I grew up in a nomadic subsistence farming family. We moved our farm field from one place to another every year and then came back to...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Marcos Baez, Round River

Marcos Baez, APPRENTICE, Round River Resource Management, CO First Month Reflection Regenerative agriculture has become a great passion of mine, and it has filled my life with purpose to create positive change and to do work that is meaningful and very much needed. In...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Tarryn Dixon, James Ranch

Tarryn Dixon, 2nd Year APPRENTICE, James Ranch, CO Reflections on Regenerative Agriculture “Give back what you take.”  That is my general thought when contemplating the concept of regenerative agriculture.  Meeting new people, a common question asked is: “What do you...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Cary Conwell, Indian Ridge Farm

Cary Conwell, APPRENTICE, Indian Ridge Farm, CO One Month Reflection Time flies by on a farm. The constant stimulation of light, smells, sounds, and tactile sensations deliver a seemingly endless new world to observe and record. I am concluding my first month as an...

read more

New Agrarian Voices – Morgan Atkinson, San Juan Ranch

MORGAN ATKINSON, 2ND YEAR APPRENTICE, San Juan Ranch, CO My Land Ethic When I first sat down and tried to define what I consider to be my land ethic, I was unable to come up with something concrete. Each thought I had generated more questions and it became something...

read more

Register for the 2019 Comanche Creek Volunteer Weekend!

August 2-4

Every summer, Quivira organizes a volunteer work weekend in the Comanche Creek Watershed. It’s all about getting muddy in the creek, building community, and hands-on watershed restoration. Come learn from the experts—Bill Zeedyk, Jeffrey Adams, Mark Reineke, Margie Tatro, and Jan-Willem Jansens—and work with the Quivira crew. We’ll be building the traditional Zeedyk-inspired structures with an interesting twist, exploring how Keyline Design principles are relevant to slope wetland restoration. All the new things we’re learning this year will be presented in a technical guide and at a workshop, as part of the 2019 REGENERATE conference. Please join Quivira and restoration experts in work to improve wetland function and keep the creeks flowing in the Valle Vidal! And Joe Hancock is bringing his horse and dog team back to help get the work done!

 

Register Through Eventbrite Here

 

Contact Mollie Walton with any questions at mwalton@quiviracoalition.org or at 254-688-0348.

 

We've sent you an email to complete your registration and with more details about the event.