Understanding Native Tilth

This year CSANR sponsored travel for several WSU students to attend the Tilth Conference in Yakima, WA. We are posting reflections written by the students over the next several weeks. To view student posts from this year and prior years, visit https://csanr.wsu.edu/tag/tilth/

Tomyia Wallace is a Transfer-Junior at WSU studying Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, originally from Rialto, CA. 

Tomyia Wallace headshot.
WSU student Tomyia Wallace.

When I explained Tilth to my friends and family, I was forced to truly consider what Tilth meant to me and how it compared with the true definition. Tilth in my own definition meant the upkeep and sustainable maintenance of soil. In comparison to the actual definition, Tilth is the condition of tilled soil in respect to the suitability for sowing seeds. While my definition comprises some key components, it is special and tailored to me. Attending the Tilth Conference felt tailored and special in all aspects. Each workshop I attended was unique to the area in which the conference was held and the minorities and under-represented groups that are also a part of the sustainable community. Native Peoples and African Americans were live and present in the Pacific Northwest. The people of Yakama Nation opened the conference with traditional dances that were used to honor the land and the food received. Along with sharing these beautiful dances they taught us some of their history and lineage. In tandem with their history we were privileged to learn about the plants they harvest that are enjoyed during traditional dinners and those used for medicinal purposes. Their passion and drive to maintain traditions displays just how vital sustainability is to native peoples to continue their traditions and ways of living. As a people inhabiting Native Lands it is truly important that we allow those of Native Descent to share their stories while also acknowledging their needs in order to support them in utilizing the land to maintain the lifestyle of their heritage. It was a truly wonderful experience to attend and learn at this year’s Tilth Conference. There were so many workshops I could share about but this one made an impression that will impact my future endeavors in sustainable agriculture.