Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Claire Wineman

Research Technician, Soil Ecology

Claire Wineman was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She is most at home in that abrupt seam where the prairie meets the mountains. Wineman earned a degree in Environmental Geoscience with a focus on soils in 2021 from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Before that, she spent her middle and high school years at Denver School of the Arts, studying creative writing. She recently transitioned from her role as a Post-Baccalaureate Researcher in the Ecosphere Studies program to the Soil Ecology program.


What drew you to The Land Institute?

A close friend first told me about The Land Institute back during my first year of college, when my interest in soil science began. From the moment I started reading Wes’s writing and looking into the organization’s mission, the opportunity to be here has been an ultimate dream. It’s one thing to be surrounded by people doing a lot of talking about what we should do to improve our relationships with the planet and with each other, and an entirely different thing to be in collaboration and community with people who are actually doing the work for that change. I can wholeheartedly say I’ve found that at The Land Institute.

What experiences are most relevant to your position at The Land Institute?

In some ways, every experience I’ve had is relevant to my work at The Land Institute. Up to this point, I’ve tried to dip my toes in as many areas in our food system as possible; from developing community mental health support materials for food producers in rural areas; to spending a summer as a research intern with the Ohio Agricultural and Research and Development Center studying the effect of compost on heavy metal levels in urban farm soils; to interning a season as a farm intern with Sprout City Farms in Denver; to finally my most recent job as a ranching apprentice on a regenerative cattle and hog operation in Montana through the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program. In addition, I proudly completed my senior independent study at Wooster, which focused on creating new soil health analysis methods in direct collaboration with Colorado farmers and ranchers. All these roles have informed each other and taught me to understand that no work occurs in a vacuum; every single person has knowledge and skills that are essential at the table where we build the future of the ecosphere, which I think is what so much of the community and mission of The Land Institute is about.

What’s most inspiring about your specific position at The Land Institute?

I love being surrounded by a group of people who are just as passionate about their areas of interest as I am and the constant opportunity to hear about others’ research! In our particular project, as part of the Kernza-CAP grant, understanding the vital connections between all the areas and people that make up The Land Institute is so important to our success. So it’s very special to have a job that reinforces the need for those interconnected relationships and vibrant conversations.

What The Land Institute perennial crop do you look forward to eating or drinking most?

In my past life as a Montana cowgirl, I became somewhat of a whiskey connoisseur, so I’m stoked to try whiskey distilled using Kernza!

What else are you passionate about outside of work?

I’m an avid reader, writer, knitter, baker, and gardener. Working and creating with my hands, and the relentless pursuit of learning something new – especially when it comes to growing and preparing food for other people and becoming myself through those activities – are non-negotiable constants in my life. I also love all things geology, which was my first love in the world of earth systems.

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

My experiences working with livestock, the reintegration of plants and animals in our agroecosystems, and the complexities of our human relationships with non-human lives.

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