Grace Wilde, a teenager from the Midwest of the United States, became a certified Laudato Si’ Animator. Her capstone project, a graduation requirement for completing the animator course,  was to remove the algae bloom from her family’s pond. Nowadays she and her family lead an organic agroforest farm. Discover how she enjoys her Laudato Si inspired’ life by reading her testimony.

By Grace Wilde

A cool morning breeze brushes past my face as I tiptoe out the door, careful not to let its stubborn creaking wake my baby sister. The crickets sing their tune as I load up used gallon milk jugs into a wagon, precious water flowing into the depths of the plastic interior. My burden loaded, I set out across 13 acres of field to water my sapling orchard, the rising sun peaking over the horizon with a new day.

As a homeschooler, I’ve had the opportunity to visit almost 30 countries and immerse myself in different cultures and environments. Yet reading Laudato Si’ opened my mind to our interconnected reality. I realized how Pope Francis’ “integral ecology” impacted not only people we met overseas, but also every decision we made. With each product we buy, we become a part of a system oiled on the blood of our planet and the sweat of humanity.  

When the opportunity arose to purchase a farm in the midwest, I eagerly supported my family’s dream to live into the labor of Laudato Si’ by stewarding land to create a better future. This small piece of land became an organic agroforest startup with a vision of creating a natural environment that weaves together perennial orchards, nutrient filling vegetables, and solar power into a fabric that swaddles sustainable life for our community. 

Living Laudato Si’ is not an easy path, but an everyday toil of love. While we may think of every day as a step toward progress, in reality, for our Mother Earth, a day is only a minute and a year is a day.

Currently, my family is harvesting and preserving native persimmons, in addition to the apple sauce, pickled corn, blueberry preserves, and pumpkins that are kept in our basement. These canned goods were able to provide our family with food during last Winter, a time when most people resorted to unsustainable produce transported in gas powered vehicles from the Southern United States.  

We also are excited to build recycled raised beds out of an old shed on our land, solving a weed problem by reusing abandoned materials. While we continue to work on our farm, we are making plans to start working at a nearby farmer’s market, a step towards creating a full time organic business.

It may feel like each divisive article that passes our screens brings omens of an uncertain planet. However, I have hope in the everyday people who live with God in tune with their Mother Earth. May their breath be in harmony with the land which they touch; their words speak for the earth they love; their home resting under those trees, a light in the darkness for all in need.



Watch the Grace’s video here: