From Lifelong Land Stewardship to Ecological Architecture – Internships as a Vehicle to Stewardship Dreams

Quivira Coalition occasionally hosts interns, often for summer projects and occasionally for longer-term projects. Meet two of Quivira’s interns in this episode! Levi Shije is a Tribal member of Zia Pueblo and alum of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, who conducted compost research at his family farm over the summer of 2021. And Luis Rodriguez weaves together sustainable agriculture and architecture while conducting research on the ground through his internship. Join host Leah Potter-Weight as she learns more about each of their lives, connection to land stewardship, goals for the future and advice for fellow land stewards.


Music attribution:

Wanderlust by Scott Buckley |
Music promoted by
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Show Notes:

00:53 Leah Potter-Weight introduces the episode with Levi Shije and Luis Rodriguez, interns at the Quivira Coalition, and the main topics for the episode: what amazing and interesting work they are doing both with Quivira and in their own lives.

01:55 Levi’s introduction

02:45 Levi’s love of farming and ranching and the challenges they bring, the cultural and subsistence practices that drive his passion, and how traditional farming practices as a tribal member of the Zia Pueblo connect him to his culture. 

03:35 Traditional uses for corn and chile, and discussion of recipes.

04:50 Levi attends SIPI (Southwest Indian Polytechnical Institute), information about the college and his work with composting applications to the soils on his farm.

06:19 Discussion of soil infiltrations rates and aggregate stability tests Levi performed, the results, and challenges in the research.

08:44 Challenges that Levi faced during his research, and advice that he’d share with other beginning agrarians who are conducting research to better understand their soils.

11:53 Levi’s next steps and how farming and ranching fits into his life.
12:53 Leah Potter-Weight introduces Quivira intern, Luis Rodriguez.

13:05 Luis’ introduction
14:03 Luis’ different experiences with sustainable agriculture in Costa Rica and New Mexico

15:27 Luis’ passion for connecting architecture and agriculture
20:10 Views on sustainability and sustainable agriculture

23:00 Luis’ vision for using design skills for a better world

26:30 Connecting more people to the land and to outdoor spaces

30:10 The role that sustainable agriculture will continue to play in Luis’ life

32:38 What’s really on Luis’ mind right now? Thinking about waste and materials use with a sustainability lens 

34:30 Advice for others just beginning to think about agriculture and sustainability, and for those who are just starting their journey into agriculture

39:39 Quivira Coalition is currently accepting proposals for internships for the 2022 season. Applicants must be enrolled in either an academic program or a nonprofit experiential program. Quivira also has a number of staff positions open currently, including an Operations Director and Education & Outreach Director. To learn more about or to apply to any of these positions, visit

41:26 Job announcements: There are a ton of job listings in our November newsletter! If you don’t already receive our monthly newsletter, visit to sign up. To view this month’s newsletter with all the job postings, as well as previous NAP newsletters, visit One of the jobs featured this month: HD Ranch in Thermopolis, WY is hiring two-full time sheep herders. Email for more information or to apply.

42:50 NAP applications for the 2022 season are now open! Visit to learn about all of the mentor sites that are hiring. Applications for the 2022 season close December 15th. Submit your application at If you have any questions about the mentor ranches or the application, don’t hesitate to contact us at

43:36 NAP is also hiring for two, full-time staff position: Northern Plains Program Coordinator and Outreach & Alumni Manager. To view both positions and to apply, visit We’re hoping to fill both positions by late January.

Thank you for listening to Regeneration Rising! If you’d like to support this podcast, visit to become a sponsor or patreon supporter.

More Ways to Listen


More Episodes