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The Rise. The Shine. featuring Chrisha Favors


“I think that's another thing I took from my Grandfather. I'm just here for a short while. This land has been here for a millennia. All I'm doing is being a steward to it at this point and making sure that this land is not only inhabitable for me, but also continuing to keep it inhabitable for the plants, the trees and the generations to come."

Written and Photographed by Tommy Corey

Female Fitness Instructor Wearing Vuori Black Jogger Sweatpants

Growing up in a military family, Chrisha Favors' childhood was marked by constant relocation. As an indoor kid, her parents' demanding schedules kept the family constantly on the move. However, settling in Georgia felt like coming home for both her parents and her, offering an opportunity to expand their family base.

Around the age of eight or nine, Chrisha met her grandfather, Charlie John, or "CJ." His Indigenous roots from the Cherokee Tribe were not immediately apparent to her; he was simply a part of her family. Cultivating a relationship with him during her formative years became a pivotal and essential aspect of Chrisha's life. Through his mentorship, she discovered her connection to the outdoors and developed a love for being outside.

Witnessing how CJ interacted with the land, from raking the yard to utilizing natural resources like pine straw in chicken coops, opened Chrisha's eyes to a world she had never known. His outdoor lifestyle, rooted in Indigenous traditions, shaped her perspective. Spending time at his house, Chrisha learned about honeysuckle, picked blackberries, and gained an early understanding of foraging, even if it involved some prickly experiences with blackberry bushes.

Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock

He introduced her to the intricacies of fishing, which fascinated her, although the flapping fish occasionally scared her. Observing him process animals like squirrels and raccoons for southern delicacies provided insights into respecting every cycle of life and death. This exposure laid the foundation for Chrisha's appreciation of animals and the reciprocal relationship with nature.

As her Afro-Indigenous identity began to take shape, Chrisha realized the profound impact of CJ's teachings. His garden, filled with indigenous and culturally significant foods, reflected not only his Indigenous heritage but also the merging of cultures within their family. Her admiration for his respect toward animals, plants, and the land deepened, shaping her ethical stance as a landowner.

In 2020, amid the pandemic, Chrisha made a life-changing decision to acquire a 13-acre piece of land on Kalapuya Indigenous land (Lane County, Oregon). This transformative journey, marked by challenges and triumphs, made her one of the few Black homeowners in the region. Embracing her role as an Afro-Indigenous woman, Chrisha views this land not just as property but as a connection to something larger than herself.

Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock

As she navigates the responsibilities of land ownership, Chrisha carries forward CJ's teachings of reciprocity and respect. Foraging for wild mushrooms has become more than a hobby for her; it's a closer look at the earth's intricate details, a way to connect with nature on a profound level.

Connecting to fungi holds a special place in Chrisha's heart. It's not just about foraging; it's about understanding the earth's intricate ecosystems and passing down ancestral skills. She resonates deeply with mushrooms, not only in appreciating their unique beauty but also in recognizing the importance of connecting to the land and preserving foraging traditions.

In a broader context, foraging carries significant cultural weight for Chrisha. It's a way of reclaiming techniques passed down through generations, a practice deeply rooted in the history of her ancestors. Foraging, whether for mushrooms or other edibles, represents a profound connection to the land, a way of nourishing oneself directly from nature.

Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock

As Chrisha delves into the fascinating world of mushrooms, she finds joy in identifying different species, appreciating their role in the ecosystem, and relishing the flavors they bring to her table. This newfound passion goes hand-in-hand with the ethos of giving back to the land. The ethical principles instilled by CJ are not just theoretical but are actively shaping Chrisha's foraging practices.

In sharing her knowledge and skills, Chrisha hopes to contribute to a broader understanding of foraging, especially within communities that share intersecting identities. Foraging is not just a skill for her; it's a bridge to ancestral practices, a means of embracing the rich tapestry of cultural traditions that can be passed down to future generations.

The world of fungi and foraging offers Chrisha a unique perspective on nature, one that goes beyond the surface. It's a journey of exploration, self-discovery, and cultural reclamation—an endeavor that mirrors the larger narrative of her life as an Afro-Indigenous woman navigating the complexities of identity, land ownership, and the profound connections she shares with the earth.

At Vuori we are constantly drawing inspiration from the natural world around us. We believe that we are all happier on a healthy planet and are motivated by people like Chrisha who care about taking care of the earth and passing on the knowledge of how to do so to others. Stay tuned for another inspiring story from Tommy Corey coming next month. 

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