Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Megan Gladbach

Research Resident, Ecosphere Studies

Megan grew up in Kansas City and attended Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, KS. There, she received an AA in Liberal Arts and an AS in General Sciences before transferring to Prescott College in Arizona, where she has lived for the past three years. She graduated from Prescott with a B.S. in Environmental Studies & Sustainability with an emphasis in Agroecology and minors in Environmental Education and Cultural and Regional Studies in August 2017. Since then, she has worked as a teaching assistant and student coordinator at the Ecosa Institute in Prescott where she received certification in Regenerative Ecological Design.

Many of her previous experiences from coursework, employment, and extra-curricular activities have enabled her to assist with a variety of tasks related to the Land Institute’s research programs. In botany, biology, soil science, seed saving and conservation, entomology, global information science, and ecology courses, she identified appropriate methods for recording and analyzing data and learned to effectively articulate complex messages to diverse audiences in various formats.

She says, “I gained exposure to planning, production, and marketing of crops in high tunnels and open fields during sustainable agriculture practicums at JCCC. In addition, I studied how to mimic ecological processes in edible forest garden settings by designing, proposing, and installing one at JCCC’s campus farm. Outside of my academics, I had the privilege of working for the Environmental Protection Agency at their Region 8 Headquarters in Denver, CO. My involvement with Prescott College’s Garden Club as Student Representative has prepared me for positions that involve carrying out various field maintenance activities. Finally, serving on the Slow Food Prescott Steering Committee gave me the chance to lead meetings and activities with the purpose to share knowledge through regenerative agriculture practices including agroecology, restoration agriculture, and permaculture among others.”

Watch Megan explain some of her current work.


What drew you to work at TLI?

Like many who identify as environmentalists, I feel an affinity for the flora, fauna, waters, soils, and other kin that call Earth home; however, my love for growing food seems to conflict at times with my love for the land around me. Degenerative agriculture practices today such as tilling largely contribute to the destruction of ecological systems. I came to TLI because, like me, TLI is determined to change this. We both want to unite rather than separate people from nature.

What would people never guess that you do as part of your role at TLI?

I have helped raise hundreds of Eucosma giganteana, a pest of Silphium integrifolium commonly called the bird-poop moth, in captivity.

What TLI perennial crop do you look forward to eating most, and how would you prepare it?

I look forward to trying every one of TLI’s perennial crops. I’d prepare a feast: a blend of perennial wheat and Kernza in focaccia topped with vegetables roasted with salt and Silphium integrifolium oil garnished with clover served with gluten-free, sorghum beer. Yum!

What’s one aspect of your life history that most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?

I studied concept art for animation during my first semester of college and dreamed of working at Pixar Animation Studios.

What is your motto / favorite quote?

“You are who you choose to be.” – The Iron Giant


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