Our farm is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (USDA), but we think of this as just a starting point for good agricultural practices. We make an effort to work with nature, and not against her. Instead of using quick-fix fertilizers and pesticides, we strive to manage in a way that brings health to our farm, starting with the soil. Utilizing cover crops, compost, crop rotation, and diversified plantings, our plants are healthy in a balanced way. Seeing how natural and wild ecosystems produce herbs of high potency and quality, we try to simulate this by means of natural stressors such as competition from other species and reduced water. Our cold snowy winters and hot summers also tend to create sturdy and robust plants, which we feel will ultimately make a positive difference in the medicine made from our products.
Wildcrafting is the harvesting of wild plants from wild ecosystems. We think much responsibility comes with this type of trade, as taking too much of a particular species could lead to endangerment of that species, and perhaps have other detrimental ramifications within the ecosystem that we may or may not understand. With this in mind, we diligently scout our wildcrafted herbs to find them in healthy abundance, where we can feel good about taking some plants. We always take only a small percentage of the plants in any given area, and strive to leave the area looking as it was before our arrival. Much of our wildcrafting is done in the beautiful and pristine Okanogan National Forest, which covers nearly 1.5 million acres, surrounding the Methow valley and comprising much of the North-Eastern Cascades. It is wonderful to harvest from areas within this forest that host bountiful stands of medicinal herbs. We receive formal permits for our wildcrafting from the U.S. Forest Service.
To view a copy of our Organic Certification Paperwork, click the image above.
Our Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture
Once agriculture took hold in the United States, a hunting/gathering, nomadic lifestyle majorly decreased. It seems that the lifestyle which promoted following the seasons and one’s food source helped humans live here on earth sustainably for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, since we don’t need to live in moveable shelters and we have adequate storage and comforts, humans have been able to live beyond our means. With this realization we find it important to honor the old ways in which every aspect of life was a gift from the earth mother who provides all. Since we are stationary here in Eastern Washington, we feel it important to respect the diversity, natural cycles and medicine this glorious place we call home can produce. This is one basic reason that we are so strongly committed to growing organically, on a small scale. To place unnatural substances on the earth and then expect her to thrive in the coming generations is unrealistic. In our decision-making both on the farm and off, we consider what the end product of our impact will look like. We make every effort to respect decomposition so that in the end, all we use not only returns, but contributes positively. We also realize that decomposition happens only in a healthy ecosystem where organisms are free to do their work and are not interrupted by unnatural inputs or excessive human intervention. Indeed, our farm is moving from a controlled, cultivated agricultural environment to a wilder, self-balancing system with less inputs altogether, while remaining highly productive.
It is not only our physical consumption that we know affects the lives of all beings on this planet, but our thoughts, words and actions as well. These have far more dramatic effects than many of us realize. The gifts of the earth make our lives possible and so with respect to that connection, we give back by working the land tenderly and joyously, giving thanks for our harvests.
Before any pharmaceutical company or FDA, humans and animals learned through dreams, traditional wisdom, and trial and error, to care for themselves through food and herbs. By carrying on this tradition, we share medicine that has been time-tested over generations. We know that effective plant medicine comes from effective farming techniques as well as respect for the wild in which all these plants originate. Since all we have ever seen, used, worn and owned has come from the earth, we know that without her health, we will not be healthy. Sustainable agriculture is about taking into consideration our children’s children’s children while giving us a quality of life in which we can truly be part of the cycles of life.