While we at Le Mera Gardens and Fry Family Farm think of ourselves as long time local farmers, our work in Southern Oregon is but a flicker in time measured against the long history of land management practiced by its original residents. Indeed, the native people of the Rogue Valley hunted, gathered and subsisted for at least 15,000 years here before the arrival of the white man and our market economy.
We owe much to the stewardship practices of the Shasta, Takelma and Athabaskan people whose home we now live in. Though not farmers, they followed the seasonal emergence of food crops by practicing a “seasonal round” pattern of movement. Significantly, they were spiritual in their approach to nature placing plants, animals, rocks and clouds on the same level as they. Any waste, aggression or overuse of nature’s precious resources necessarily resulted in punishment - think drought and famine.
So what does this mean for those of us who work this beautiful farmland and who are now responsible for its stewardship into the future?
- I believe it means that we must grow our flowers organically for the health of our land, the health of the flower and for your health.
- That we should notice, follow and celebrate the seasons!
- That we provide for our community, acknowledge our responsibility in mitigating the vagaries of climate, give back, respect the resources granted us by nature, and give thanks for the wondrous beauty of the many flowers we can grow in the Rogue Valley
Thank you Betty LaDuke for your beautiful art painted on tall wood panels. Photos by Rob Jaffe & Isabella Ewer Thorndike