Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Vanessa Kelly

Intern, Soil Ecology

Vanessa Kelly will assist with research activities as an intern on the Soil Ecology team on The Land Institute’s campus. She moved to Salina from her home in Denver, CO to participate in perennial grain research with this program.

Vanessa graduated high school in May of 2022 and is joining the team to gain experience before beginning her college career at Arizona State University. Before working with The Land Institute, she worked on the conversation corps with AmeriCorps where she discovered her passion for the outdoors, environmental science, and forestry. Vanessa also received wildland firefighting certifications prior to joining The Land Institute.


What’s most inspiring about your specific position at The Land Institute?

It’s just the fact that there is so much research and so many details within soil ecology that can have a large effect on the plants’ health. It’s not just about one aspect or the other; they all work in tandem.

What drew you to work at The Land Institute?

I visited The Land Institute in January 2023, and I was so impressed by all of the research they were doing. I know agriculture has a huge impact on the environment and I want to explore every avenue possible, and The Land Institute seemed like the place to do it.

What else are you passionate about outside of work?

I love pretty much anything outdoors. I could literally sit in the mountains for hours doing nothing, and I have. I’ve been playing guitar for 8 years, and it’s given me an appreciation for anything musical. 

What’s your motto/favorite quote?

While it may not be a popular motto, I think it’s important to remember that it’s okay if everything doesn’t
turn out the way you would’ve liked.

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


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