food for thought

Rooted Women: Seleyn DeYarus, Leading the Way in Regeneration

Our life’s work is to support good people making a difference. As a woman-owned agency, we’re passionate about supporting women who put themselves out there to make the world a better place. This month, Earth Month, we’re featuring two Rooted Women, where we get up close and personal with women you should know. Our goal is to inspire you, not just by how impressive these women are, but by how human they are, and what they do to achieve extraordinary things.

With that, first we bring you Seleyn DeYarus, the Founder and Executive Director of Regenerative Rising and a leader in regenerative agriculture. You won’t want to miss their annual event, Women Leading Regeneration, May 3-5.

Q: Promoting health (healthy planet, healthy people) is one of your passions. What is your favorite healthy go-to meal (or meals) during a busy day?

A: I’ve been following a keto diet since the beginning of 2020, and the focus is on healthy fats and minimizing carbs and sugar. A favorite keto snack is celery with peanut butter. As a southern gal, I grew up loving peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. And despite the sometimes-bad press of the peanut – I love the flavor and always choose an organic brand that I have to stir – aka no palm oil!

As for meals, my husband and I have very different diets – he is vegan plus fish, and I’m an omnivore – so our mealtime tends to revolve around salads with lots of ingredients: multiple greens, home roasted pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, avocado, cucumbers, and cabbage, and dressings usually made up of olive oil, vinegar, aminos, garlic powder and mustard, plus a variety of proteins (e.g. grilled fish for him, grilled chicken thighs for me.) I plant a vegetable garden and we also have a seasonal share at Aspen Moon Farm, so for a substantial portion of the year we’re eating the best, most nutritious produce and feeling the “aliveness.”

Q: At the other end of the spectrum, what’s one of your favorite splurges/guilty pleasures?

A: Now that I have moved into this keto journey, a guilty pleasure is something like brown rice when I order Indian dishes, or an even bigger splurge is Pad Thai.  I don’t cook rice or noodles at home anymore, so the rare occasions that I go outside my new guardrails would be when we dine out or order pick-up.

Q: We all know too well that women are still trying to do it all – succeed at work, look after their families, run a household, be a good friend and member of the community. What do you like to do to unwind after a hectic day/week?

A: I’ve been prioritizing living in genuine balance since being diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-2020. Prior to that I had been inconsistent in a few practices that I now hold as sacred to my wellbeing. I love to have time daily to read and journal. I have rediscovered the gift of giving my inner voices (yes, voices) a way to explore and express through journaling. I have journals from throughout my life, but for almost a decade, I had a random pattern for entries. Now I am aiming to give myself that time, if not daily, multiple days a week.

For the body – I love taking an afternoon walk with my husband. Heading out the door for a walk together and a philosophical meander is my favorite combination to unwind, destress, stretch mind and body, and be with my best friend.

Q:  How do you get motivated to go out there and kick ass every day, even when things feel overwhelming?

A: This is a big question because lately, the world is breaking my heart. I have to remind myself daily that I have no way to control what is going on out there, but can 100% be accountable for how I’m responding internally.

Leaning into my work via Regenerative Rising is fundamentally motivating. If I am tired, I rest. If I am feeling sad, I journal or read poetry. My go-to poets are David Whyte, Mary Oliver and Maya Angelou. Or I reach out to a girlfriend!

Life is always going to throw me curveballs, the power of realizing I can choose how to engage with those visitors is the key to life mastery, and frankly cultivates a lot more peace of mind.

Q: What are your plans for your organization, Regenerative Rising, this year?

A:  This is a big year for Regenerative Rising and we are calling it our Transition Year. I took 18 months off to heal from breast cancer, returning to work January 2022 with renewed vigor.

It has been a blessed reunion with my amazing team and Board of Directors.

We are in the process of designing Leadership Day, and the Women Leading Regeneration Online Summit on May 3-5, 2022, in partnership with nRhythm, an inspiring organization leading Regenerative Organizational Design Labs, among other things. Tré Cates and his team have been a longtime ally and graciously stepped in to support my team when I had to step back for my healing journey. It’s a gift to work with the women on the nRhythm team to design this dynamic gathering elevating, nurturing, and resourcing the capacity of women’s leadership to facilitate change and positive impact across sectors.

As part of our Transition Year, we are establishing a new department at Regenerative Rising, Creative Media. We have embarked on a film project called the Culture of Connection. The team filmed two segments last summer and we are working on lining up our next film segments. We have partnered with Earth Coast Productions to be our technical lead, and feel so energized and blessed to be sharing this journey with such a dynamic and caring team.

Within this department is our ongoing media project of a monthly podcast, Regenerative Rising Elevating Stories Activating Change. Thanks to our community of colleagues who stepped in as guest hosts, the podcast been uninterrupted, and continues featuring people who are inspiring. It is a joy and privilege to have sincere conversations with people who each have a unique gift they bring into the world – I am so grateful to have this platform to share their story, and happy to be hosting again.

In the fall, we are producing an in-person Regenerative Earth Executive Leadership Retreat, followed by an ONLINE Regenerative Earth Summit. We continue to center the importance of cultivating regenerative supply by building networks of those willing to collaborate on how we get this done on a planetary scale. Regenerative Rising and our partners support this process by stewarding initiatives, which inspire intersectional alliances.

Q: What’s an organization(s) or company(ies) you’d like others to know about and why?

A: There are so many on both the for-profit and non-profit side. GoodSam Foods – guided by the energetic and visionary Heather Terry – is knocking the ball out of the park by cultivating genuine relationships with small producers in the global south. I am so inspired by the depth of effort going into this brand. I am also stoked about LookIN.TO as an innovative story-sharing platform that is, in my view, the best hope for bringing the web of connection behind brands to the people. It is telling stories that are both visually beautiful and factually true.

Photo credit to: Jane Cavagnero Photography, for Mad Ag

We have so many phenomenal partners in the NGO space so I will give a shoutout to two based in Colorado that I have good friends at the helm. Savory Institute lead my dear friend, Daniela Ibarra-Howell, is centered around the transformative impact of holistic land management on grazed landscapes. Savory has learning HUBS in the USA – and throughout the world – that are led by ranchers, who use their ranches as living classrooms. It is so powerful. My dear friends, Phil Taylor and wife, Nicole Brinks, co-founded Mad Agriculture. Mad Ag is innovating on how to support farmers who want to transition their operations to regenerative production, to have access to patient capital and the marketplace. It is game-changing.

There is a world of good that Regenerative Rising is touching into and I feel so grateful to be part of a global community of actors, both in the corporate and NGO arenas. Together, we are weaving a rich network that is open to working more cooperatively to bring significant change to the status quo. We are in service to supporting the redesign of many broken systems that have never served the deep wellbeing of life on earth.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in Rooted Women.

See all of our Rooted Women by clicking on the “Spotlight” search button on this page.


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