For The Wild

Interview with Ayana Young

by Kate Weiner
PHOTO BY AERAN SQUIRES OF WILD ACORN

For the Wild is a heart-powered podcast committed to intersectional storytelling as well as a land-based project passionate about tangible ecological regeneration. For many Loam readers, tuning into For the Wild’s weekly conversations on reverence, reconnection, and renewal is a source of healing in the heart of chaos.

It’s for that reason that I connected with For the Wild Executive Director Ayana Young earlier this spring to dive deeper into For the Wild’s mission. Over the course of the last four years, For the Wild has blossomed into a force of nature. From amplifying conversations with catalysts for change on climate regeneration to sharing resources for direct action, For the Wild is a bridge into being in the anthropocene.

As Ayana shares, the seeds of For The Wild were planted during a camping trip to Patagonia in the aftermath of Occupy. For Ayana, this era of awakening to the anthropocene was marked by growth as well as grief—both for the seismic shifts in her identity and for the cherished ecosystems unraveling around us. More and more, Ayana found herself asking: “What does it mean to be a human during this time?” It was this question that gave life to a radio program.

When I ask Ayana why podcasting emerged as a channel for this work, she shares this gem. “ [What] I really love about podcasting [is that] you don’t have to be locked into a screen and you don’t have to be still [to listen] and you don’t have to be alone. You can be making medicine, in a garden...and that medicine will be infused with stories and messages of incredible people.” It’s in this way that For The Wild’s auditory medium can connect with us in moments of movement, grief, and community. Tuning into an episode as we tend to our wild, messy lives—as we cook food for friends and work compost into the garden soil and harvest edible herbs during our walk home—helps to make the messages at the heart of For The Wild accessible within the scope of our everyday lives.

In recent months, For The Wild has integrated calls to action into each podcast to inspire embodiment. These calls offer listeners multiple entry points into movement building, helping each one of us transform the energy that courses through us as we listen to an episode into tangible action.

In my own experience, however, sparking action can be as healing as it is heartbreaking. Despondency and despair in our communities can disconnect many of us from the desire to do. Reflecting on this crisis of apathy with Ayana, she underscores the need for follow-through. This means providing communities with diverse bridges into creating change, contextualizing action within our current social, political, and biological climate, and continuing to embody the change we need—in our hearts, in our homes, and in our communities.

As Ayana shares: “For the Wild is a mycelial web of so many other communities. [...] How can we act as a hub for many communities to be fed and nourished so that they can blossom? My prayer is that For The Wild as a platform can become that much more impactful and potent in the way that we are able to get their stories across. FTW is a service-oriented organization. [That means] more trust being built, [and] more intimacy being honored.”

We’re so grateful for the good work that For the Wild does in the world and moved weekly by their powerful podcasts. Below, tune into one of our favorite conversations from FTW with the revolutionary adrienne maree brown and follow For the Wild for incredible stories, campaigns, and projects in service of reverence, reciprocity, respect, and regeneration.

Kate WeinerComment