Since the beginning of April, I’ve had the opportunity to be welcomed with open arms into Agraria’s regenerative land school in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I was nervous about meeting new people and creating something new within my life, but I was eager to see what Agraria was about. My nerves stayed with me within the first week, as it is always a nerve-wracking experience starting a new job. I met lots of kind people within my first week. I soon realized I was into something that I did not even know I needed.
My first day on the job, I toured through Agraria’s gardens, office areas, and my personal favorite, their land. Agraria’s mission is simply this: “To cultivate community resilience by modeling regenerative practices that restore ecosystem health, heal our relationship with the land, and grow just and equitable food systems.” Agraria lives by this each and every day with their goals, communication and the way they simply live on the land. I feel that their mission to restore their ecosystems health is starting to restore my own. This is what the family within Agraria is all about, restoring our earth within the community and bringing them together. It is what we should have been doing all along. Coexisting with the earth, instead of conquering it.
My job at Agraria is the assistant youth educator. My favorite part of Agraria is that it is shared with the community. They hold afterschool and homeschool programs for kids to come on to the land and engage, learn and connect to nature as well as themselves. It’s my job to help the educator and ensure the days group goes smooth. The activities for the day are usually planned out beforehand. My first week with the younger group of kids, we planted seeds and played in the dirt. I went home that evening and noticed I felt at ease; peaceful. Over the last month, we have foraged, made fires, searched through the creeks endlessly to find bugs, collected dandelions and violets to make tea, and much more. It has been a joy to experience the world through the eyes of children. The wonder and unrestricted authenticity help me stay in touch with my own inner child.
At Agraria, I have learned to identify certain plants and trees. I wasn’t even aware that I had edible plants growing in my own backyard. I have started to notice that I am becoming more mindful within nature. I observe bird calls and notice their behavior. When I’m alone on a trail or just sitting in my own backyard, my awareness takes over and stillness settles into my mind and body. I get to be a part of their mission and go home every day feeling happiness and relieved that I am not only learning but healing as well. The children’s excited curiosity has begun to fuel my energy and passion within my own day-to-day life. These experiences at Agraria are opening a path of healing that I have been looking for a while now. The kids, my coworkers, and the continuous learning of nature and regeneration will stay with me forever. Not just in my memories, but in how I move forward.