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Left Foot Lends a Hand to Nisqually Tribe’s Garden


Left Foot and NIsqually Farm Crews

Left Foot at Nisqually Gardens

Left Foot Organics crew participated in their first “Crew Exchange” event last August.  Growers and Growing Partners, along with Left Foot Staff,  spent a day working in the fields at the Nisqually Gardens.  This event gave them the opportunity to see another garden with similarities to their work site and a chance to see something “new and different,” as Glenn (former LFO Grower) would say.  Left Foot Growers contributed their experienced hands to weeding thimbleberries and strawberries and received a tour from Carlin and Caitlin, the co-managers.  They saw Nisqually employees weeding weeds similar to those that we have on the farm and LFO crew members were able to apply their skills and knowledge to provide a service at Nisqually gardens.

In the vegetable garden, they could identify many of the crops growing — peas, beets, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes — because they help weed and harvest them at Left Foot.  Touring the medicinal plant garden, they learned about other uses of plants besides just eating them.  Michael, a grower, experienced it first-hand when he was bit by a mosquito.  Grace, a tribal member and garden employee, had him apply wormwood and a poultice of English plantain to his cheek to relieve the itching, and it worked.  Carlin described other activities the garden provides, such as making plant medicine and preserving food, which really interested Meru, another one of our growers.

Left Foot employees experienced appreciation and acknowledgment for their work as Carlin gifted each of each them with a tote bag.  Left Foot brought some plants to give to their garden, too.  Left Foot employees appreciated the opportunity to visit and experience a culture different from their own but one that has shared values of respect and inclusion.  Nisqually crew members came to Left Foot Organics on August 25th to complete the work exchange.

Historical Reference  Farm Manager, Lydia Beth, worked for the tribe as a gardener before coming to Left Foot, growing food and native plants for the community under a two-year USDA grant.  Unfortunately, the project ended with the funding.  The tribal garden has since been reestablished on an old farm overlooking the Nisqually delta owned by the tribe.  This skwda?deb (Lushootseed for “gathering place”) provides employment for tribal members, distributes fresh food to the community, and creates a space for all people to garden and gather together.  Elders, families, work-release prisoners, and school groups all help to grow food and traditional medicinal plants at the garden.

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