MUM student Tyler Wilfley

Walking through the MUM Student Farm with farm manager Kris Johnson

In Thailand with community leaders who helped develop a one-acre permaculture farm

With local Thai men tracking through the jungle for elephants

Tyler Wilfley is a philosophy graduate of Illinois State University who spent four years in the rainforest of Thailand working for a nonprofit organization in sustainable development. He led projects in regenerative agriculture, fresh water systems, community development, and elephant conservation.

When Tyler returned to the US in 2018, he was looking for a university where he could study regenerative agriculture. MUM’s Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program stood out for its comprehensive, hands-on approach. He came to a visitors weekend in September and registered the following Monday.

Based on his experience in leadership and regenerative agriculture, Tyler was offered the position of assistant manager at the MUM Student Farm. In addition, he teaches a course on permaculture once a year while pursuing the part-time MBA program in sustainable business.

“A lot of my work was tied to the idea of social sustainability and how to propagate positive change in communities instead of creating dependency,” said Tyler. “That led me to the environmental sustainability aspect of regenerative agriculture, and the MBA in sustainable business brings it all together—if you don’t know how to run a farm and turn profit to be self-sufficient, you cannot do it.”

Tyler enjoys the supportive atmosphere of MUM and having mentors such as Professor Steve McLaskey, with a lifetime of experience in organic farming, and farm manager Kris Johnson, a fourth-generation Iowa farmer. Tyler is also excited about helping the program grow.

The practice of the Transcendental Meditation® program has helped Tyler become more centered and balanced. “It’s definitely helped reorient how I see things and how I respond to them, especially emotionally,” he said. “I noticed during the first few months that I was juggling a lot of things but I wasn’t stressed out about it. The clarity also helped me become more efficient.”