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May 31, 2021

Reconnecting with the Land at Eloheh Farm & Seeds

On nearly 10 acres of picturesque oak tree-studded land, Randy and Edith Woodley operate the Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice near Yamhill, Oregon.

Eloheh attracts people of all ages and walks of life to learn to live in harmony with the land using traditional Indigenous knowledge as a guiding model. Located at the center, Eloheh Farm & Seeds demonstrates regenerative farming, animal husbandry and wild-tending systems, which support human needs while improving the Earth.

“My husband Randy and I are co-sustainers here together,” says Edith, an Eastern Shoshone tribal member raised on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation. “We started this vision over 20 years ago to help others reconnect with Mother Earth and understand how everything works together in nature. We work in partnership with the Earth.”

Edith Woodley of Eloheh Farm and Seeds

The center is intent on bringing back native plants and reducing invasive ones. About 75% of what they plant are perennials native to Oregon or the local Northern Kalapuya Indian tribal bands.

Eloheh sells only open pollinated, non-genetically modified seeds. “I’m passionate about seeds,” says Edith. “Each is so unique, with its own DNA. Our seeds reproduce true to type and allow people to become independent growers. I joke with my husband that one day we will go out of business, because all our customers will be saving seeds for future years.”

The farm family will invest their Brighter Future Fund grant in finishing a greenhouse and setting up a farm stand. American Farmland Trust, with support from Tillamook Creamery, launched the Brighter Future Fund to help farmers in the face of pressing challenges like climate change and COVID-19.

“Last year, we laid a concrete foundation for our greenhouse,” recalls Edith. “But this grant will help us complete that greenhouse and set up a farm stand for selling produce and eggs. We are excited by the possibilities these items will bring the farm.”

Climate change is the farm’s biggest concern. “Last week was in the 80s, which is much too hot for now,” she reports. “Next week will be cold and windy. One summer, we had rain nearly every week. The next summer, we had a drought. It is difficult to plan.”

Despite the challenges, Edith remains committed. “We are excited by what we can do to reconnect with the land here,” she says. “Just this spring, we found several new patches of native Camas coming back to areas we’d cleared. That shows we are doing the right thing.”

Brighter Future Fund

Informed by farmers, built on experience, and inspired by you. AFT’s Brighter Future Fund carries forward AFT's commitment to addressing inequalities in our agricultural system by providing grants up to $5,000 to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or women farmers nationwide. Help us support another round of inspiring farmers by donating to the fund today! 100% of all funds raised will go directly to farmers to strengthen farm resilience, enhance farm viability, and improve access to land.