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  • Writer's pictureRose High Bear

April 2021 E-Newsletter


Launch of Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workforce Project

Elderberry Wisdom Farm has launched its new project, the TEK Workforce Development Project in partnership with Chemeketa Community College. The US Department of Agriculture has funded this five-year partnership with Chemeketa Community College, located in Salem, Oregon, who will provide the class Fall Term 2021.

This 128-hour paid internship opportunity has been created for Native American interns and other interns of color, who are interested in horticultural or agricultural career pathways. The eight interns will be encouraged to participate as a cohort in the consecutive years of the five-year project as mentors for the oncoming interns.

Our board and staff will integrate decades of past experience to evolve our model for Native American experiential learning into this new workforce initiative. Classes will be taught at the two-acre Elderberry Wisdom Farm located south of Salem. The farm includes a classroom, large greenhouse / Native plant nursery, a one-acre Native elderberry patch, and a variety of other Native plant species.

Students will explore indigenous perspectives while pursuing meaningful career pathways into environmental assessment, habitat restoration, organic farming / cultivation, and other conservation careers, including microenterprise development. Our career pathway planning toolkit presents culturally-tailored TEK curriculum, plus workforce readiness enhancement, leadership development, and health and wellness resiliency.

More information will be available to applicants by May 1 at our website and social media.


Moon over the Elderberry Wisdom Farm

Elderberry Wisdom Farm has a second position opening

Elderberry Wisdom Farm will begin recruiting candidates for the TEK Crew Leader beginning May 1. The part-time position is based in Salem and serves Native American and other students of color from Marion and Polk and Yamhill Counties as well as members of Oregon tribes.

The successful candidate will work on Elderberry Wisdom Farm’s leadership team with our TEK Educator Kali Harrison (Blackfoot and Crow), and Founder Rose High Bear (Deg Hit’an Dine, Inupiaq). The team will develop curriculum, lesson plans, and provide classes during Fall Term 2021. Classes will be taught at the two-acre Blue Elderberry Farm located south of Salem. The farm includes a classroom, large greenhouse which is being turned into a Native plant nursery, and a one-acre Native elderberry patch.

We are welcoming qualified individuals to inquire and apply. The position is posted online at If you are interested in applying, or have Q’s, feel free to get in touch and/or send your resume and cover letter to


May Volunteer Activities

We are currently recruiting volunteers to help us on Saturday, May 8 from 10 am to noon and 1 to 3 pm. You can sign up at

We are planting a Living Green Fence this spring. A living green fence, instead of being constructed of barbed wire, metal or wood, is constructed by planting and growing living bushes, shrubs and trees, and ground cover. In our case, these will all be Native plant species, including pollinators, traditional First Foods and medicinal plant species. Many of these plants are the starts our volunteers potted this past month.

Benefits of Living Green Fences

  • The roots of a living fence protect the soil and reduce erosion.

  • The foliage of a living fence provides shade and creates a windbreak for our new greenhouse being constructed this summer.

  • The branches will offer wildlife habitat to bees, birds, squirrels and chipmunks and other small mammals and wildlife, including the family of Black Tailed Deer that walk through the property daily.

  • The living fences also act as a sound barriers since we are so close to two busy roadways: I-5 to the east and Delaney Road SE to the south.

Blacktail Deer on the Elderberry Wisdom Farm

We will use the “Lasagna” method of habitat restoration to build the living fence line. We will add layers of organic materials, in our case, mostly recycled cardboard and wood chips, which will “cook down” over time. Also known as sheet composting, lasagna gardening is beneficial for the environment, because you're turning yard waste you'd add to a normal compost pile into organic fertilizer to grow the new plants.

Our Volunteer Committee has now grown and includes two Elderberry Wisdom Farm board members, Sadie Watson and Alanna Johnson plus our new staff member, Kali Harrison. They will plan future activities at the farm this year and share details on social media.

Elderberry Wisdom Farm appreciates the support of a number of generous volunteers who helped us pot and label over 700 plants including 19 Native plant species in our temporary greenhouse.

Volunteers potting the 20 species of Native plants being grown for the living green fence (March 2021)

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