Have you ever been invited to a “raw vegan” party? How about being a beef loving girl going to a raw vegan party? Meet this woman in agriculture to know more why stepping outside of your comfort zone, like attending a “raw vegan” party you are invited to helps you learn to listen and share with new audiences, who might have a different point of reference or different values than you but can still offer learning opportunities.
Ninth generation Californian Lauren Scheller is originally from Los Alamos, California and now currently lives in Goodear, Arizona and while working in Phoenix. I think Lauren’s lifelong commitment to agriculture as a Californian and now Arizonan is admirable and one that sets the bar high for a many women in agriculture to follow her lead. She shares her passion and expertise below, giving you a glimpse into her work in Arizona agriculture and its economic importance as well as her family’s rich history in California agriculture and her passion to carry it on.
Meet Lauren Scheller, in her own words, as a magnificent voice for Arizona and California agriculture and role model for young women to look up to as a professional following her passions.
What is your role in agriculture today? I have the great honor of working for and representing Arizona beef ranchers, promoting beef and connecting Arizonans to where and how beef is raised. Specifically, the major aspects of my job at the Arizona Beef Council include public relations and consumer marketing. Cattle is one of Arizona’s 5 C’s: cattle, cotton, copper, climate and citrus. Agriculture is the number one contributor to Arizona’s economy and the beef and dairy communities oscillate back and forth with the leading agriculture products.
Even though I now spend most of my work days in the office or at events, I am still closely tied to my family’s beef cattle ranch in California. I am fortunate to work for and with individuals who understand and support my continued involvement in my family’s ranch 500 miles away. Preg-checking, weaning, shipping – I am able to plan my schedule to make sure I am home to help.
How has agriculture shaped your life? A love of the land has been passed on through the generations in my family. I am a ninth generation Californian, stemming from the first Spanish land grant in California, Rancho San Pedro, which is now part of the Long Beach/Los Angeles harbor and north to the city of Los Angeles. Cattle and sheep were the thriving crop of southern California at the time. The next 250 years were witness to many changes in the greater Los Angeles area, but, through it all the family has maintained part of the original Rancho including the old adobe home.
Deepening a love of the land, I grew up on my family’s beef cattle ranch in Los Alamos, California in northern Santa Barbara County, 140 miles north of Los Angeles, set in idyllic historic California with rolling golden hills and oak trees, though because of the current California drought, it is more parched and dusty. I feel very blessed to have grown up a ranch kid. I loved every activity of our local 4-H group – cooking, sewing, photography, dog obedience and raising rabbits, hogs, goats and a replacement heifer. Between everyday ranch chores, record keeping for my 4-H projects, basketball and showing hunter/jumper horses, ranch life instilled in me a respect for all forms of life, a sense responsibility and putting others’ needs before my own, time management and leadership skills.
My favorite color has always been green – long before green was cool – because my favorite time of year was spring. Crisp green grass, calves running with their tails in the air, the horses slicking off their winter coat…some of my favorite things.
I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Resource Management. Cal Poly’s motto is “learn by doing” and hands-on experience is truly what I got.
Ultimately, agriculture has shaped me every step of the way. Just like agriculture and the beef community are constantly evolving and improving, I have found myself in a constant state of learning and progressing. I still have lots to see and learn and can’t wait to see what agriculture has in store for me!
When was the last time you tried something for the first time? I love adventure! “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller, is stamped on a bracelet that I always wear (I love a good arm party!). I have raced 4 times with my dad in a vintage road race across Mexico, La Carrera Panamericana, in a 1954 Ford Victoria. Dad drives and I navigate and the adventure is 7 days of high speeds and lots of firsts –driving through Mexico City, racing in the rain…
Also, I’ve been teaching myself calligraphy. Talk about a humbling experience! I tend to set high expectations for myself when trying something new but have accepted that this venture will take lots and lots of practice and my fingers will be very ink-stained.
What is your favorite home-cooked meal? I grew up in Tri-Tip Mecca near Santa Maria, California. Barbecued Tri-Tip over oak wood, pinquito beans (dry farmed nearby), green salad, buttery-garlicy grilled French bread with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Oh, and barbecued sweetbreads as an appetizer. This is the go-to meal for brandings, graduations, weddings and funerals.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? We all have more in common than we think. All aspects of agriculture come under criticism at one point or another and we have to make the choice to either speak up or to let one battle pass and focus on a larger challenge. Individuals or groups might be vocal against one segment or all of agriculture but it takes the one-on-one conversations to find common goals, common beliefs, and to build relationships from there, i.e. wanting healthy food for my family, caring about conservation, caring about animal welfare. Let’s build trust by finding what we have in common.
I was invited to a “raw vegan party” and yes, I did hesitate before accepting, but I did go. And I learned a lot. And shared a lot. I encourage all to step out of one’s comfort zones. I think the best way to AGvocate is to understand someone else’s concerns and then tailoring one’s story. Go to the raw vegan party and stop for a burger on the way home!
Thank you Lauren, for your dedication to being a lifelong woman in agriculture, both personally and professionally. You are setting an example for a next generation of women in agriculture to follow your lead!
Stay connected with Lauren on her blog, which she says is “a blog about our car racing and I’m a poor blogger and only blog when we race.” Also find her on Instagram or Twitter. I am sharing five giveaways this month in between the 30 Days of Women in Agriculture features. All features are listed below for you to visit and meet these fabulous ladies. You can leave a comment on this KLG Designs Giveaway on one Woman in Agriculture feature you have read and enjoy this month and be entered to win one of two pairs of handcrafted earrings this weekend!