At Rising Fawn Gardens, we are stewards of nature who are devoted to protecting the land, farming sustainably, and building an enduring community that fosters education and wellness.
Rising Fawn is a small community in Dade County, GA located in the valley below scenic Lookout Mountain. It is conveniently located just 30 minutes from downtown Chattanooga Tennessee, and 30 minutes from Fort Payne, Alabama.
Meet the Rising Fawn Gardens Team
Karen LaRussa Persinger
CO-OWNER & STUDENT OF LIFE
Karen serves the land as owner and oversees the daily business operations of the farm as well as the Yoga House rentals and events. She is also spearheading the creation of turmeric-infused product collections set to launch in 2020.
Karen completed the Essentials of Herbalism Study with the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in 2016. She’s also taken several Mindful School courses including Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials. She is a certified yoga instructor and former school teacher. Her passion and talent for teaching makes sharing plant knowledge and nature-based wellness come naturally. To her, Rising Fawn Gardens is an invaluable gift to her family and the community. She spends her days making sure it is taken care of so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly” – Thich Nhat Hanh
CO-OWNER & CHIEF YARDMAN
Steve serves as owner and as chief yardman. He oversees planting and preserving the Medicinal Garden and fields, clearing and maintaining the trail system on the property and managing the game and wildlife habitats.
Steve’s lifelong experience being in and appreciating the great outdoors has shaped his desire to be a steward of the land and the abundant resources associated with it. He’s spent a vast amount of time learning from Mother Nature firsthand. His gardening experience comes from decades of trial and error in the dirt. Rising Fawn Gardens represents his passion for life. He is forever grateful for the daily opportunity to explore the property, commune with nature and reflect on life.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir
In 2019, Beth became our first Gardens Manager. She brought her experience and love of working with and learning from the herbs as they grow from tiny seeds to the fruition of sipping a cup of garden fresh, nourishing herbal tisane. Along with this and her willingness to jump in headlong with us, the Medicinal Garden was created.
She first carefully honed the garden plan on paper, then grew or gathered the plants, and finally planted them in the soil she intentionally prepared for them. Along with growing, tending and harvesting the plants in the Medicinal Garden, production beds, and the ginger and turmeric plants in the hoop house, she also leads educational garden tours and seasonal herbal workshops.
After spending a season reconnecting with family and the wilderness she grew up loving, Beth has moved back to our area and has joyously resumed her role as our gardens manager. We are oh so happy to have her “can do” attitude and bright spirit back at Rising Fawn Gardens and look forward to many more seasons together.
From Beth, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi
Delilah grew up in a small coal region of Pennsylvania, she began her herbal studies in 2019 at HerbPharm in Oregon and has been hooked ever since. Throughout the years following she learned organic veggie production at Rodale Institute, explored tropical flower farming at Hana Tropicals, and then finally landed herself back in her home county as a PASA apprentice at Katydid Hill herb farm. While moving back home she learned the value and challenges of herbal production at scale, the role tractors and machinery play in sustainable agriculture, and the importance of caring for the land that raised her. After finishing her 2 year apprenticeship she found herself wanting to explore southern Appalachia, which brought her to Chattanooga, TN. In her free time, you can find her nose in a book, painting, or reading tarot cards.
ADMINISTRATIVE & OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
Sarah joined the Rising Fawn Gardens team in December 2023 coordinating the Yoga House and assisting in the medicinal gardens. Her joy for plants formed when she was young, gardening alongside her father in Texas, and continued during her college studies. She received a bachelor’s in Environmental and Resource Management and a master’s in Public Health. In 2022, her learning continued as she received a Permaculture Design Certificate and Community Herbalism Certificate. Sarah’s passion is restoring land for the more-than-human community through the cultivation of native plants. Beyond RFG work, she grows medicine in her garden, learns about her local ecology, snuggles her dog and two cats, and bakes sourdough treats.
“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.” – Ester Perel
YOGA HOUSE GARDENER
Alyce is a nature-loving flower girl! Her love of being outdoors began as a child, hiking with her family and exploring nature in all the seasons. Alyce joined the RFG team in 2022 as a volunteer assisting with the Yoga House and medicinal gardens and was quickly brought on as a staff member to continue her expert work. Before joining RFG, Alyce also worked and volunteered in CSAs, and at various farms and home gardens. Outside of work, Alyce enjoys growing flowers in her garden, wildcrafting to create herbal tinctures, and resting with her cat, Martha.
For Alyce, working alongside others who demonstrate care, respect, and responsibility for our natural earth and all of its life forms is a gift that she has been given.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Laozi