Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Tessa Peters

Director of Crop Stewardship

Tessa Peters currently lives in Laramie, Wyoming. She has lived in many different places in the world, including onboard various seafaring vessels. However, she has always considered herself a Westerner, and Wyoming is where she grew up and feels most at home. Tessa comes to TLI with a BS in Physics from Colorado State University, a BS in Agroecology from the University of Wyoming, and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked for the Organic Seed Alliance prior to working for TLI. OSA gave her experience working directly with growers to troubleshoot production and economic issues, and also a background in understanding seed systems and the players involved along the supply chain.


What’s most inspiring about your specific position at TLI?
We are entering new territory with Kernza®—working to build a system that supports perennial agriculture beyond proof of concept and moves TLI toward meeting its mission of establishing a natural systems agriculture that is economically feasible and supports communities.

What drew you to work at TLI?
The dream of displacing the modern agriculture and letting nature take the lead without neglecting the people and communities who depend on agricultural markets.

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

The silphia are intriguing to me since the compass plant and prairie dock are my favorite Midwestern flowers.

What’s one aspect of your life history that most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?
I was once a Fast Recovery Craft Coxswain and have jumped into a Norwegian fjord in a dry suit as part of ‘rescue’ training.

What else are you passionate about (outside of work)?
I love backpacking and hiking. The pace of my feet is just right when I need to go long distances and take note of details.

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
I think I only have the attention span to write a children’s book, and it would likely be about hiking the Continental Divide Trail (which I guess I’ll have to complete before I can write the book….)

What’s your motto / favorite quote?
“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That’s the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
Dig and be dug
In return.” – Langston Hughes

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


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