Wild Cultivation

 
Elderberry trees at Vesper Meadow are well-established but also show signs of severe impact from past cattle grazing. We are beginning elderberry cultivation in 2019.

Elderberry trees at Vesper Meadow are well-established but also show signs of severe impact from past cattle grazing. We are beginning elderberry cultivation in 2019.

There is a world-wide movement to bring our industrialized food system back to a more natural state. Whether conceptualized through terms like “agroecology,” “beyond-organic,” “permaculture,” or “biodynamic,” people today are looking toward ancient wisdom to guide us through current issues of food scarcity, species extinction, and drought.

We are demonstrating a “wild cultivation,” in which humans are participants within the framework of a natural ecosystem and focus on supporting native plant growth. This concept lies somewhere between “forest farming” and “foraging.”

A few of our primary efforts are to reestablish vigorous growth of elderberry, camas lily, mule’s ear, willow, gourmet mushrooms, and the production of honey.

 

Through Partnership

  • Native plant network support from Rogue Native Plant Partnership, Rogue Valley region, Oregon

  • Cultivation of Vesper Meadow native plant support from Silver Springs Nursery Inc., Applegate Oregon

  • Beehives collaboration with EasyBees Company, Medford Oregon 

 
hawthorne-institute-williams-camas

Camas tending ground at Vesper Meadow

Partnership with the Hawthorne Institute

The Hawthorn Institute is tending Camas lily stands situated within Vesper Meadow.  The goals of this project include assaying Camas populations in relationship to human impact along with contributing to the restoration of the indigenous cultural landscape of southern Oregon.  

We will intimately interact with the Camas in the meadow through seasonal bulb collecting, seed broadcasting, and fall burning.  With a series of trail cams surrounding the Camas stands we are tending in hope to capture vegetative growth, flower cycles, pollinator interactions and herbivory.  As these stands are monitored, we are ultimately striving to develop techniques in ethical wildcrafting and ways to deepen the human-plant relationship. 

Camas lily,  Camassia quamash,  is a staple first food among indigenous peoples throughout the western United States. According to an interview with a local native elder in 1933, the immediate area near Vesper Meadow was know as a “favorite camas meadow” to the native Latgawa people. Native people, specifically women, would spend weeks in the fall tending the meadows and promoting healthy camas growth. The bulb of this lily is a sweet and starchy treat, making it a rich food source and a valuable part of the inextricable land-food-people web of life.  photo courtesy of the Hawthorne Institute.

Camas lily, Camassia quamash, is a staple first food among indigenous peoples throughout the western United States. According to an interview with a local native elder in 1933, the immediate area near Vesper Meadow was know as a “favorite camas meadow” to the native Latgawa people. Native people, specifically women, would spend weeks in the fall tending the meadows and promoting healthy camas growth. The bulb of this lily is a sweet and starchy treat, making it a rich food source and a valuable part of the inextricable land-food-people web of life.

photo courtesy of the Hawthorne Institute.