Finnriver Farm & Cidery Journal
The Layers of Community
Our mission at Finnriver is to reconnect people to the land that sustains us and to grow community. We believe that these strong connections inspire us to take authentic and more effective care of ourselves, each other, and this land.
As farmers, students, and lovers of the land, we understand that ‘diversity' is one of the key ecological concepts that sustains a healthy and thriving ecosystem. We also know diversity is essential in creating a healthy and thriving society. With this reverence for and understanding of diversity, we aspire to offer a ‘welcoming place for all walks of life’ at our Cider Garden — a farm-based community gathering space where we celebrate the culture in agriculture.
We believe that a very important component in creating an inclusive and welcoming space involves ongoing learning and engagement around what this means and how to bring this about. Over time we will be sharing the many ways we engage with this mission. For instance, we are excited about our upcoming plans to gather with our crew this Spring and spend time learning about the layers of cultural history in our area and the indigenous cultures— the Chemakum, S’Klallam and Snohomish among others— that have inhabited this landscape 'since time immemorial.’
At our annual staff retreat in May, we are starting the day with local resident and Snohomish tribal elder Nancy McDaniel, whose ancestors farmed the land that is now Finnriver. Her great great-grandmother was Lag-wah, "the daughter of a prominent Sdu'hubš (Snohomish) leader" and her son, Nancy’s great uncle, was William Bishop Jr., first Native American state legislator in the Washington House of Representatives and member of the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association “Hall of Fame."
Later in the day, the Finnriver staff will then meet up with David Brownell, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, to explore a local sanctuary site and learn more about Chemakum and S’Klallam history and traditions.
As people who have settled on this land we feel a deep responsibility to understand the history and heritage of the people that shaped and still shape their lives here. We acknowledge that we are just adding another layer to the long lineage of peoples that have lived from the bounty of the fields, forests and waters of the Olympic Peninsula.
We are grateful to Nancy and David for spending time with us and for sharing their knowledge and perspectives. With our deeper understanding of regional history and tribal cultures, we hope to be better neighbors and advocates for supporting a healthy ecology and honoring and encouraging human diversity and equity.
Interested in learning more of the history? Learn more HERE.