September 19, 2022 • ISSUE 639

Dean Menigoz

Reimagining Agriculture

MIU student Dean Menigoz grew up in California and earned a BS in bioresource and agricultural engineering from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. While studying there, he participated in a precision agriculture club and enjoyed applying mechanics, electronics, and programming to the field of agriculture. 
Dean was introduced to the Transcendental Meditation® technique by a friend in 2018 and learned about MIU at the local TM® center. As he was applying for graduate school in 2021, MIU launched the online MS in Regenerative Organic Agriculture program and Dean knew he wanted to enroll.
“I became aware of where conventional farming has led us and wanted to learn how to do it better so I can be an example and teach others,” he said.

Harvesting greens at the MIU Student Farm

A month after he began the program, MIU advertised a position at the student farm. Dean decided to apply and move to Fairfield. He now performs day-to-day tasks at the farm, including weeding, watering, and harvesting, as well as helps teach the undergraduate students. He enjoys the benefit of gaining hands-on experience at the farm along with his online studies.
“The beautiful thing is that MIU makes room for employees to experiment, as long as it’s practical and they present a plan,” he said. Dean is piloting a small static composting system and planted a polyculture raised bed, where he observes the symbiotic relationship between corn, beans, and squash.

Dean managing the MIU farm’s microgreen production

Dean wanted to expand his practical knowledge of regenerative farming beyond vegetables, so he took a part-time position at Fairfield’s Radiance Dairy milking the cows.
Over the past four years, Dean has noticed that the TM technique has lessened his anxiety, and he has become much calmer. “TM helps me internalize and stabilize new experiences in a comfortable way,” he said.
Dean is graduating in December and wants to find a job where he can combine his experience in technology and design with his interest in ecological systems, sustainable building design, and ecological restoration

Harvesting honey from MIU’s beehives