Emily Reno is the founder of Mezclada, an online learning platform dedicated to reducing the barriers to land and capital for the next generation of land stewards. Emily grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and currently resides in Vergas, Minnesota. She moved to West Central Minnesota through farmer connections she made while working as a graduate research assistant, which is what brought her up to Minnesota in the first place.
“After the analysis paralysis of having so many places I could live and different types of jobs I could pursue, I decided to stay planted and instead just commit to a place, trusting that things would fall into place. I’d say that they have!”
Emily is fiercely committed to sowing fertile grounds for social equity and environmental justice by stitching together a social fabric that values complex identity and builds meaning through belonging, transcendence, purpose, and storytelling. Mezclada does just that: their program “Aligned Farm Design” was created to serve farmers and future farmers struggling with time management, work-life balance, scaling with intent, and more. I had the chance to learn about Emily and her passion for land steward empowerment – keep reading to learn more about her values!
Tell us about Mezclada and your mission.
“Mezclada is all about creating a culture of care, courage, support, and compassion for underserved farmers struggling to access land and capital to launch their farm dreams in a big way. They’ve likely had experience working on other farms and possess a lot of practical agricultural knowledge, but they may have little if any experience in the realm of personal growth and development, which is where I come in. Mezclada’s mission is to inspire and empower the next generation of land stewards through storytelling, personal growth education, and applied research.”
Our food system lacks more of the mid-sized farms, and helping folks design businesses that fill this need is going to help diversify our supply chains, creating more resiliency in our economies, especially small towns. My background in regional planning and economic development has definitely fostered within me this lens of the way I work – I see renewed wealth-building opportunities within the agricultural sector as one of the keys to the vitality of rural places and people.
What have been the highest and lowest points of your entrepreneurial journey?
“One of the low points of my entrepreneurial journey was figuring out how to transition from a salaried position to pulling in my income through consulting, and understanding how to manage my own personal budget when I get paid once every 6 weeks instead of every two. It’s a steep learning curve, and I’m incredibly grateful for having built up my FU fund for this moment. I don’t think that without the cushion I would still be doing this.”
One of the highest points of my entrepreneurial journey is definitely when I completed the first ten weeks of ILT Academy, as I felt like I had so much more clarity about what my business could be and how to monetize my knowledge and skills in a meaningful way, supporting my vision for financial freedom. ILT has such a supportive community that it’s hard not to feel energized after class, even though it’s four hours in the evenings. I still lean on this community for inspiration and am grateful to the ILT team for all the love they pour into their courses. Their teaching style and methodology is one-ofa-kind and feels like you’re playing a game, which of course makes the hard work of working on your business more enjoyable.
How can our community support you in your next stage of growth?
“There are a few ways that folks can be supportive in Mezclada’s next stage of growth. Please send anyone who you believe is interested in this work our way to take our Aligned Farm Design course (we’ll do it in Spanish next year!) or explore partnership opportunities. I’m working on developing a certificate and potentially thinking about accreditation to integrate this work into existing technical college curriculum. If there are folks that want to support a local farmer in their area, we have sponsorship opportunities, as well as a scholarship program they could contribute to. We’re also looking for farm host sites for our farmer retreats for course alumni! ”
Readers can learn more about Emily and Mezclada by visiting