Eloheh Farm and Seeds reminds us the future is in our hands
Recognizing the need for better nutrition among Indigenous people, American Baptist pastor and Keetoowah Cherokee descendent the Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley and his wife, Edith, of Shoshone/Choctaw heritage, began a word-of-mouth seed company. Eloheh Farm and Seeds, Yamhill, Ore., is a charitable nonprofit, teaching farm and organization.
Part of the Woodleys’ Eagle’s Wings Ministry–an American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA)-specialized ministry–the regenerative farm aims to challenge the western world view through decolonial farming practices that break dependency cycles constructed by colonial powers. Its mission is to enable people to feed themselves.
As recipients of an American Baptist Home Mission Societies grant from the Virginia and Gordon Jr. Palmer Trust in 2020 and One Great Hour of Sharing grant on behalf of ABCUSA, the Woodleys were able to improve their seed stock and containers, as well as build a seed room that allows them to preserve heirloom seeds and other important seed varieties that are quickly disappearing. Eloheh’s seeds are GMO-free, open pollinated, organically grown, farm-direct and part of the open-source seed initiative.
Eloheh Farm and Seeds is a demonstration of an Indigenous community of faith and model of sustainability. Woodley describes the organization’s motive: “In everything that we do, we are trying to help people become better relatives to each other and the earth.”
Given the alarming effects of climate change, Woodley expresses his concern about the future of food cultivation and preservation. “Every year is going to be an experiment, every year will be different, but we need to feed ourselves and our families. Without seeds everything dies, we don’t eat,” he says. “Our mission to harvest seeds is very important. We are doing everything in our power to help look at the next seven generations.”