Ana Gabriela Villamizar hails from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a BS in the Environment and Society program and minors in psychology and urban planning.
What drew you to work at TLI?
Funny enough, I was reading Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry. I looked up TLI while reading the book and loved the work being done. I want to work in Urban Planning or design eventually, but think working in institutes like TLI will expose me to ways I can incorporate sustainability and local autonomy into our urban landscape. It would be amazing to bring work like what The Land does in Kansas to Miami, for example, to start building more resilient city-scapes.
What TLI perennial crop do you look forward to eating most, and how would you prepare it?
I have been wanting to try cooking a dish with flowers on it and hear Alfalfa flowers are edible. I would probably start with some shortbread cookies topped with the flowers as decoration but putting them in salads and smoothie bowls also looks beautiful.
What’s one aspect of your life history that most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?
I was born in Colombia! People don’t expect it because I do not fit the stereotype but Latin America is very diverse. Normally the people that tell me I do not look Colombian could be Latin American themselves!
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I love the realistic mysticism of writers like Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I also really enjoy studio Ghibli and can picture scenes from these movies taking place in a near dystopian future. Think Parable of the Sower meets Howl’s Moving Castle but the setting is an inundating Miami. I would want to highlight the historic and cultural areas of the city and what we have to lose as a society if we do not change the way we operate. I would also want to emphasize what we have to gain in enacting change right now.
What’s your motto / favorite quote?
My favorite quote is currently “it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.” It helps me remember to step out of my comfort zone and trust myself with my biggest and even smallest ambitions.
What were you like at age 10?
Very shy and quiet! I was a ballerina, so if I was not in school I was dancing. I also liked to walk around the neighborhood with my friends. We would talk and play different pretend games or listen to music and dress up. I think I even had an iCarly spoof website that I ran with my best friend at the time. Thinking about it more, I was a goofy kid growing up and loved my big family.
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