New Agrarian Voices

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

Tianna Aliota, APPRENTICE, C4 Farms, NM

May 2021

During my final year of high school, unsure and afraid of not knowing where I was headed next, I had stepped foot on my first farming operation. Growing up in a home where the terms “local” and “fresh” were never once used, I was longing to grow a deeper connection to the food on my plate while trying to figure out where in the world it came from. It didn’t take long to assure myself that the path I was on to becoming a lifelong learner and steward of the land was the right one. Though I still struggle to put into words how exactly I got here and what agriculture has done for me physically and mentally, Wendell Berry seems to get it right.

“The (Wo)Man Born to Farming”

The grower of trees, the gardener, the (wo)man born to farming
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to h(er)im the soil is a divine drug. (S)he enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. (S)he has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
H(er)is thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has (s)he swallowed
that the unending sentence of h(er)is love flows out of h(er)is mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?

Agriculture has given me seasons to live with, thoughts to run with and a constant reminder that the light that lies down will always rise again. Being a fearful, anxious and quite unhealthy teen, unaware of how much the food put into my body affected me both mentally and physically, as well as the land, soil became my drug of choice that completely flipped my life around. To feel connected to my food while working with nature, rather than against it, gave me a sense of connection to the land, community and myself that I had never felt before. The land has always held open arms giving me a place to strengthen myself and the environment while offering a sense of belonging. To me, there was no other choice. Agriculture, when done right, is a win, win, win… win, for all. When I look to the ground, the animals and the farmers and ranchers I see work being done to benefit the people, the planet and future generations. There were no questions to be asked if this was the right path or not, and years later I still wake up everyday knowing there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. 

During my time at C4 farms in New Mexico I am looking to gain a deeper knowledge on how to ethically manage larger parcels of land and animals while also helping to conserve our wildlife, public lands and water. Moving to New Mexico was a big leap into the unfamiliar, and I look forward to unfolding the new areas of growth here as I continue to put myself in positions of change and new beginnings. Personally, I am hoping this experience will help me get closer to the person I want to be, more patient, unapologetic, fearless and focused, stronger but more graceful. 

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