Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Rachel Heitmann Land Institute Intern

Rachel Heitmann


Rachel attends the University of Kansas, where she is an Environmental Studies major with a minor in Spanish. She is also working toward a Professional Science Master’s Degree with a focus in environmental assessment. Rachel currently lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas, but her home will always be Hebron, Nebraska. Hebron just happens to be the home of the world’s largest porch swing. At The Land, Rachel worked on various projects, but I spent a lot of time working with Kernza® grain – from data collection to harvest.


What’s been most inspiring about your time at The Land Institute?

I loved working towards a high goal – something that I know will truly change the world. Although some of the tasks that the interns were assigned seem tedious at times, I know that many of The Land Institute’s goals would be much more difficult without the seemingly small things done by the interns and utility staff.

What would people never guess that you’ve done as part of your role?

I have dropped Kernza® plants on a Styrofoam tray thousands of times in the name of science, and also ridden backwards in a tiny combine – both things that I was not expecting!

What drew you to work at The Land Institute?

The mission of The Land Institute is truly inspiring to me. Working with the land is so incredibly important, and the work that The Land Institute does is a shining example of that. I love the outdoors, and I have a deep passion for taking care of our planet. The encyclical by Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, expresses the importance of care for our common home. This document is quite inspirational, and I have found that The Land Institute is a wonderful way to work with the land and take care of Earth.

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

I would love to get some Kernza® pancakes into my belly, complete with mulberries from the trees at The Land.

Where is your favorite spot or place at The Land Institute?

I love the Silphium fields. The flowering plants bring me joy, and I love to see such beautiful plants that are helping to change the world for the better!

What’s your motto / favorite quote?

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena


Support the work of Rachel and others at The Land Institute with a donation.


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