Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Joshua Rubino

General Research Assistant

Research Assistant Josh Rubino hails from Salina, Kansas, which occupies the historic homeland of the Kaw, Osage, Pawnee, and Comanche nations. After receiving his diploma from Salina Central High School, he went on to the University of Kansas to study English and Religious Studies. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English with honors and a minor in Religious Studies, with an emphasis on environmental and ecological writing, and on the interaction between religion and environmentalism.

What work experiences are most relevant to your position at The Land Institute?
For three years, I worked on a small-scale vegetable and flower farm in Eudora, KS. There, I learned valuable and relevant skills such as weeding, soil amendment, mulching methods, and growing techniques. I also learned how to operate a small tractor and other minor power tools. I think these skills will benefit me as a General Research Assistant.

What’s most inspiring about your position?
It is easy to ignore the repetitive, laborious tasks that go into an important operation like The Land Institute and I am excited to contribute each day to the efforts they are making toward a more sustainable and harmonious future for agriculture.

What drew you to work at The Land Institute?
As someone who is concerned about the future of the planet and the organisms on it, I wanted to work somewhere that I knew was making a genuine effort to find sustainable models for human activity. The Land Institute checked those boxes for me with its commitment to finding alternatives to annual, monoculture grain crops and its mission to create a better relationship between humans and the land. The work and research being done at here is crucial and I am honored to be a part of it.

What Land Institute perennial grain crop do you look forward to eating the most and how would you prepare it?
I am a big pasta eater, so I am super excited about the perennial wheat. I would love to make fresh egg pasta with perennial wheat.

What else are you passionate about?
I am an avid reader and I love talking about books/going to book clubs (Salina Public Library has some great ones!) I play the drums and dabble on the piano, so I also like playing and writing music. Lately, I’ve been big into cooking and finding new vegetarian recipes to try. In my spare time, I go on walks/hikes, play disc golf, write poetry, and draw. In general, I just like being outside when possible.

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
This is a tough one. It would probably be a sci-fi novel about a future or alternate timeline in which humans have evolved to occupy a very specific ecological niche. A group of humans become meta-aware of this and decide to go against their ecological functions. The rest of the novel would deal with the possible consequences of this. (Came up with this on the fly, so I hope it isn’t too out there!)

What’s your motto or favorite quote?
“All that you touch you change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is change” – from Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

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