Ryan Whisnant

I enjoy working with leading companies and NGOs and the opportunity to have an impact on the food and agriculture system. The Midwest food and agriculture system is both locally relevant and of national and global significance in terms of the environment, food security, and community well-being. Growing up in Minnesota, surrounded by farms and home to some of the largest food companies in the world, I didn’t fully grasp the significance of this region, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of U.S. corn production and 80 percent of its soybeans. But we face growing environmental impacts from pressures on the landscape due to unsustainable practices—deteriorating soil health and soil loss, polluted waterways, and declining biodiversity, along with climate impacts.   

Our connection to the natural world is the most fundamental connection we have, forming the basis for how we connect with ourselves and others, and how we conduct ourselves in the world. I’ve pursued this passion in different ways, by spending a lot of time outdoors, sharing it with others as an adventure camping tour leader around the U.S., and living in the mountains of Washington state for two years as part of an immersive wilderness awareness, survival, and mentoring program. 

I enjoy seeing and making connections:  

  • Finding strategic opportunities for Midwest Row Crop Collaborative members to work together to create a more regenerative agriculture system.  
  • Cultivating connections between partners on topics of shared interest.  
  • Enjoying personal connections forged by working together on tackling complex challenges facing our agricultural landscape. 

I find Environmental Initiative’s forward-looking, environment, and equity-focused work impressive and enjoy being a part of it. I hope that I can leave at least one small corner of the world with healthier connections between people and with the natural environment. 

Ryan Whisnant
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Blogs
Collaborative action in the Midwest is creating a more resilient food system