Research Intern Jarrod Fyie came to The Land Institute from Columbus, Ohio and the hills and forests of SE Ohio; but is learning to the rhythms and details that make Salina, KS a new home. He has taken a very winding and broad approach to education driven by a wellspring of curiosity and graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Neuroscience and Environmental Studies. During his time at college, Jarrod volunteered at a community garden in Columbus in college where he was introduced to the joys of growing food and the liberatory potential of food sovereignty. He says, “This experience opened my mind to centrality of agriculture and land in securing a just future, which ultimately brought me to The Land Institute. In the face of impending ecological catastrophe, I can only conceive of working directly toward the total transformation of human society. The work of TLI seems to me the best application of my particular skills toward this goal at this moment in my life.
What TLI perennial crop do you look forward to eating most, and how would you prepare it?
What would people never guess that you do as part of your role at TLI?
This spring I spent a few weeks trawling PubMed for papers that identify the phytochemical profile of nearly 700 plant species. I never would have guessed agricultural research would bring me back to PubMed—a neuroscience essential.
What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
I love to read speculative fiction! I particularly adore Ursula K. LeGuin and all she ever wrote. Her succinct language, graceful tone, revolutionary themes, sharp humor, and expansive imagination are matched by no author I have yet read. I also find climate fiction—such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne—absolutely crucial for orienting to an uncertain future. More recently, I have started exploring Chinese scifi through Ken Liu’s anthologies: Invisible Planets and Broken Stars.
If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I would write a weird fiction/scifi book that aims to distort the meaning of mundane things beyond comprehension: I really enjoy jokes and stories that twist our sense of what is normal and how language can be used. Alternatively, I would write an elaborate tabletop RPG adventure: I find crafting complex narratives that react to the listeners (i.e. players) choices extremely rewarding.
What’s your motto / favorite quote?
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is the change it.”
–Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach
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