The Fe Manifesto: An Ode To Life

The Fe Manifesto: An Ode to Life

Land acknowledgement: Our farm sits on the original homelands of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Please read our full acknowledgement, located at the close of this article.

“Nature is much more multidimensional than just a force. Nature is a force with intelligence. A force with transcendent wisdom. A force with a pattern and a design beyond our comprehension.” - Paul Begner 

How It Began

Fe Earth to Body was born out of struggle and transition, both my own. After the passing of the 2018 farm bill, my partner Joel and I began farming high-CBD hemp on a parcel of land in the high desert of Central Oregon. Within the first days of unearthing this newly sanctioned relationship with growing, we also welcomed the life of our daughter Shasta. To say the least, that year was a wild and beautiful tempest.

Simultaneously and all at once, we were new parents and co-conspiring business partners. It was exciting. It was challenging. It was terrifying. While Joel and I embraced the chaos with open arms as best we could, we were often left feeling depleted, burned out, and undersupported. At what was supposed to be one of the most joyous times in our lives, we were ropes beginning to fray. 

As a way of supporting myself through the often overwhelming experience of our new venture/partner/parent dynamic, my body did what it knows how to do and turned to natural medicine. I also began experimenting with CBD for the first time but was unable to feel the benefits of the various CBD products I tried. I was told how this topical or that tincture or some new balm would help me achieve x, y, or z, but I had a hard time trusting both the purity and the potency of these products. Instead of the transparency, science, high standards, and level of care I was seeking, I found feel-good marketing, broad generalizations, and vague statements about outcomes, potency, and how whatever I was taking would make me feel (and look) like some kind of ageless cherub from the inside out. 

Intuitively, I looked to our own plants for refuge.

As far back as I can remember I have found solace and connection in nature. I have turned to the Earth and its wonders to both soothe my nerves and uplift my spirits. 

On our farm, the connection I felt with the plants growing just outside our doorstep gave me a sense of hope in the most desperate of times. I knew in my heart that our intentional cultivation methods were something I had to share with others. 

The technology as well as the scale at which Joel and I were farming had changed dramatically from what he had been doing for decades. With this shift, we have learned more about what better serves our lives and our connection with the Earth, plants, and community. We have chosen to transition our farm into a “flourishing garden” as we more closely align ourselves to honoring life and creation itself. 

Because we see our relationship to the land which we steward as a tremendous responsibility, we practice sustainable preservation of it, in every way possible. Through carbon sequestering practices, we prioritize soil health, biodiversity, and the Earth’s microbiome in order to uphold the symbiotic relationship between humankind and the natural world. We follow an intuitive gardening and cultivation process that honors the long-held connection between humans and plants. We rely on our inner wisdom and creativity to tend to each plant in our garden with attention and care.


It All Begins With Soil, Gratitude, and Creativity

Global industrial agriculture uses 75% of the Earth’s arable land, yet feeds less than 25% of the population. Peasant agriculture, on the other hand, uses less than 25% of the Earth’s arable land while feeding over 80% of the population. Along with other contributing factors, industrial agriculture is the result of a lack of imagination. Peasant agriculture, at its core and in its practices, conveys an abundance of creativity, forethought, and reverence. 

Land managed by indigenous peoples—the original regenerative agriculturists and carbon farmers—has been shown to contain consistently more biodiversity. Through this indigenous lens, we can look beyond the methods of industrialized agriculture that leave our soils depleted, and our bodies toxified and malnourished. We can see a holistic, thoughtful, and sustainable way forward.  

“Diversity is resilience in action.”- Gopal Dayaneni. It is evolution and intelligence, nature at its very core. For Joel and me, nourishing and co-creating with the Earth is at the foundation of our gardening methods.  Our practices support diversity inside every layer of life, from microbiota, fungus, and insects, to plants, animals, and human nature. 

A few key practices, borrowed from carbon farming and which illustrate how we allow for this life-giving (rather than life-extracting) environment include:

  • Moving consistently toward not disturbing the soil through tilling and other practices-- promotes carbon sequestration and helps retain the innate intelligence and immunity of the Earth.
  • Companion planting and crop rotation.
  • Regularly testing and amending soils with compost teas and biodynamic amendments—in the high desert, soil can vary immensely depending upon location. As we test the soil, we look to soil experts to find the most creative and effective ways to amend it in order to uphold a flourishing ecosystem.
  • Retaining plant parts to be applied back to the soil which first supported their growth.
  • Integrating biochar into the soil—this essential, carbon-rich nutrient lasts thousands of years, prevents soil erosion, and provides a home for important bacteria. 

Going full spectrum, we also look beyond the kind of technological fixes (pesticides, herbicides, and modern agricultural tools) that keep the relationship between humanity and the Earth extractive. 

Indeed, there is a direct correlation between the health of our microbiome and the health of the biome of the plants we consume. When it comes to the Earth and our bodies, not one aspect is disconnected. And so when the biome of the Earth is treated with life-diminishing agents like herbicides, pesticides, phthalates, and so on, its biodiversity cannot uphold its inherent ability to grow both nutrient- and medicinally dense flora. This lack of nutrients and medicinal potency is then transferred to our bodies every time we consume irresponsibly and industrially grown crops.

As Joel and I walk our path as land stewards and precious plant cultivators, we continue to open our minds to learning more about how we can support the biodiversity of the Earth. To us, there is no alternative. This way of existing and growing and giving back is essential to supporting all life—soil, plants, animals, humans, and Earth included. 

Why we Focus on Hemp

Joel and I are enamored by the healing power of the hemp plant. I mean, how could we not be? 

While research is still in its infancy, over one hundred cannabinoids have already been discovered in the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids function both independently and synergistically to facilitate the healing of human and animal life in countless ways. In addition to the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, terpenes and flavonoids further expand the dynamic effects of the plant itself.

At our farm, we tend to these plants as symbols of life, health, healing and sustainability. And because their dynamic and synergistic properties have yet to be fully understood and embraced by humans, we are only at the beginning of this dually concrete and symbolic journey. To which I say, how lovely. 

Because of our relationship with the plants, as well as our understanding of the larger eco-picture, Joel and I are intentional about not cultivating hemp for the sole purpose of human healing. Our practices and these plants are about far more than what we want and need as humans. There’s a cycle and an exchange at play. A certain level of respect and reverence.

We raise hemp plants (to be CO2 extracted) wholly, with the full spectrum of their constituents. We cultivate hemp for nature, as our contribution to sustaining the interconnectedness which laces the web upon which we live. We do it to support the nervous systems and the bodies of ourselves and other humans. We commune with these plants as a way to exist beyond mere survival and sympathetic nervous system dominance. In turn, we get to open into a deeper listening and connection with one another and the Earth.

When we garden, it feeds our innermost selves. It moves us from just living into a realm of being alive. And because we are committed to upholding honorable harvesting methods, we get to grow plants in a way that lets us give them directly back to the Earth—to compost and be creative and build the soil. 

Through the tenderness and care we inject into every aspect of the plant journey—from procuring seed, sewing and cultivation, to harvesting, extracting, and hand bottling in biophotonic Miron glass—our goal is to uphold and retain the vital life force of the plant. 

Remember when I turned to CBD products that very first time—when things were spiraling and Joel and I were fraying and my body was searching for things?  Remember when I wanted the kind of support that came through transparency, eco-practices, and scientific potency? High standards, a deep level of care, and true quality? Remember when I wanted the kind of support that, in my embracing it, would give back to the Earth more than it took?

Today, through practices that uphold full-cycle intentionality and sustainability, I have found what my whole self so desperately needed back then. In finding this, I now get to deliver to the people the kind of CBD product I always knew I wanted and towards which I’d been inching all my life. One full of quality, effective and transparent potency, and pure ingredients. One made even more respectable through intentionally procured, recyclable eco-packaging. And something that Joel and I, despite the unknowns and the struggles, knew was absolutely worth creating.

Just like our daughter Shasta, what Joel and I have made in collaboration with the Earth has come through integrity and love. Giving, rather than extracting. A knowledge beyond our conscious selves.  

Plants Are Sentient, Intelligent Beings

On the farm and in our daily lives, Joel and I see our connection with plant life as a kindred one—a familial relationship that exists beyond mechanistic formulas for harnessing nutrients and chemicals. Our kinship with the plants is something that was always there, but which we have allowed ourselves to come to only through open minds, deep listening, creativity, and love.

We wholly believe that plants, like any other creature, respond to intentionality and care. And so it has been these two elements that have formed the foundation for our stewardship of the Earth. Industrialized mechanisms and methods have come to separate us from centuries-old practices, rituals, and connections. They have also reduced our meaning and purpose to that of machines, which in turn has allowed the dominant culture to continue to place productivity and profitability over everything else, and forgo the heart-first mindset so necessary for supporting a thriving ecosystem for both plants and animals. 

Our modern culture has a convenient way of turning much of our existence into machines, making both our bodies and nature somehow separate or foreign to us. By turning something, anything, into a machine, we can then make it work for us. We can serve human wants and needs, and extract and take at a much higher rate than ever before. It’s no wonder the result is disenchantment with life itself. We have learned to strip ourselves of simple fulfillments, wonder, and connection—to ourselves and with one another. 

“Far too often when we study or work with plants, we approach them through the narrow lens of how we can use them only for our benefit. By reductively looking at what the plants can do for us, we limit our understanding of them… even herbalists fall prey to this trap, studying what types of symptoms and diseases plants are ‘good for.’ We must deeply honor the plants by recognizing that they are conscious and sentient, and we need to acknowledge that there is a living soul within them that surpasses what we can understand through science or intellectual reductionism.”- Sajah Popham

As humans roaming this Earth, we get to witness the wisdom of plant life on countless occasions. If we’re open to it, that is. There’s the way many flowers close when in the shade or dark hours and then open again in the sunlight. 

“If we think of ourselves as intelligent, it only makes sense to consider the possibility that other forms of life may also contain intelligence. Often we define intelligence only in terms applicable to humans. But if intelligence is an awareness of one’s environment and the ability to take in communication, process information, and craft an appropriate response, then it is apparent that plants exhibit intelligent characteristics. If we conceptualize hearing as the perception of vibrational wavelengths moving through space, then plants do indeed hear. They are particularly aware of vibrational qualities; plants that are exposed to classical music tend to grow faster and produce more abundant flowers and fruits with greater nutritional quality. Anyone who grows a garden or tends to household plants knows that plants are healthier when the gardener talks or sings to them.” Sajah Popham, Evolutionary Herbalism

While our dominant culture pushes a hierarchical story in which we humans are at the top, with plants and animals below and in service to us, the truth is quite different. Human life (all animal life) and plant life are one and the same. We cannot be separated—our narrative looks less like a pyramid and more like a regenerative circle. And with this, thankfully, we have such a profound opportunity to co-create together. To live and exist with deep respect and reverence for all, plants included. 

The Importance of Vitalism & How it Informs Fe


For Fe, our constitutional formulations were developed by Dr. Emily Wiggins, a naturopathic professional who specializes in vitalistic naturopathic care. As a vitalist, Emily sees individuals as composed of many self-organized systems and layers. She sees that living beings possess a force and an energy that the inanimate does not. In order to develop individualized plans, rooted in vitalism and designed for healing, Emily observes the whole beyond the parts and assesses the quality of life that flows through every being. 

As Sajah Popham puts it in his book, Evolutionary Herbalism, “Vitalism sees symptoms as a language. They are not enemies to fight [or to be addressed mechanistically]... Instead, they are intelligent communications to listen to, translate and follow to their roots in order to enact an appropriate, thoughtful cure.” 

Through vitalism and through Emily, Fe’s formulations were born. 

We Are Nature + Nature Focused Healing

“Humans have evolved in nature; we’ve spent 99.9% of our time in the natural world, and our physiological functions are adapted to it. We’re evolved to find relaxation and restoration in nature. Nevertheless, today, most Americans spend a majority of their time indoors. With the constant stressors of modern life, our prefrontal cortexes (fight or flight response sensor that controls the release of adrenaline) work on overdrive, which means we rarely ever enter rest-and-digest mode.

It’s been scientifically shown that spending time immersed in nature reduces stress, lowers heart rate, lowers cortisol levels, decreases inflammation, boosts the immune system, improves mood, increases the ability to focus, jump-starts creativity, increases energy levels, and makes us more generous and compassionate.

Since the industrial revolution, we have considered ourselves conquerors and manipulators of the natural world: Man versus Nature. This feeling of separation from Nature made it okay to {extract at an unsustainable rate} for our own benefit. As a society, Americans have reached the apex of separation from Nature and are suffering as a result. Chronic illness, including cancer, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and addiction, and attention deficit disorder are widespread and on the rise. These issues affect children and adults alike. With the current status quo, chronic diseases are expected to affect almost half of all American’s by 2025.” - Julia Plevin

The Unknown and Beyond

Whether on our farm, through Fe Earth to Body, or in our daily lives as parents, partners, and humans, Joel and I continue to seek a better a more purpose-filled, and connected way through. Moving beyond finite solutions and reductive approaches to working with fellow humans and nature, we look into the unknown. There, in that nebulous space, we are grateful to find those opportunities which allow us to better uphold the intrinsically deep interconnection that is life and life-giving.

As humanity looks to discover solutions to the problems of climate change, mass extinction of species, health crises, and more, it’s imperative we remain open to a vantage point that differs from the one through which we have created our present circumstance. The dominant culture sees finite solutions and leans upon consumerism as a way to heal our collective and individual trauma. Together, Joel and I hope to be part of a movement that looks to liberate communities globally, not by “development” but by reducing and eliminating our exploitation of resources, cultures, and living beings. 

As Gopal Dayaneni of the justice and ecology project, Movement Generation, says, “An inequitable unjust economy will inevitably and unjustly distribute the consequences”. 

And so how do we imagine, truly, a different way of being? 

By considering the relationships we have with our neighbors, our families, and our communities, and by deepening our connectivity with one another and the Earth, we begin to heal and see a very different way of living. 

How we tend to the Earth, how we consume, how we experience each day—so much of these acts are about taking our purpose back, while also saying thank you to the life which has been given to us. 

Still, how do we step forward into acceptance, accountability, and adaptation? How do we recognize the true resilience of adaptation as that which supports creativity and life itself? 

As we continue to seek solutions to our healing, both individually, collectively, and planetarily, it is imperative that we move forward with vulnerable strength into a deeper knowing of who we are. With the dynamic mystery of nature itself and the natural world as our guide.

Ratified and unratified treaties between the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the United States Government from 1853 through 1855 resulted in the forced removal of tribal members from their ancestral homelands. After forced removal and a brutal “trail of tears” relocation, a federally established Reservation and the General Allotment Act—which led to major portions of the Reservation being lost to non-Native ownership—1954 legislation stripped the Tribe of its federal status and severed the trust relationship with the federal government.

After decades of hard work in trying to restore the Tribe’s federal status and reestablish their community, efforts were recognized through the passing of the 1983 Grand Ronde Restoration Act. Today, the Tribe continues to focus on rebuilding institutions and developing programs to meet the needs of its members. 

Under an 1855 treaty, the Warm Springs and Wasco tribes relinquished approximately ten million acres of land, but reserved the Warm Springs Reservation for their exclusive use. A 1992 Declaration of Sovereignty declared the sovereign authority of the Tribes to determine their own destiny and control all persons, land, water, resources, and activities free from outside interference. 

Today, the Confederated Tribes work hard to continue creating a community and economic environment which affords every member the opportunity to attain good health, self-sufficiency, pride and self-esteem.

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