Quick 5: Marla Saeger touts healthy food, farming

Marla Saeger

1. You and your husband, Bob, and mother-in-law, Mary Jane, who died just last year, have been immersed in the community. What are some of the issues you've been most passionate about?

Mary Jane was involved in so much. If I had to pick what I am most proud of, it would be her involvement in the creation of the “Just Say No To Hate” group, as well as the Interfaith Alliance. Bob and I have worked on health and justice issues. The '80s and '90s were more environmental and justice issues. We moved back home to Tahlequah in 1994, and the farming, gardening and food issues became prominent. Our current passion is Tahlequah Farmers’ Market!

2. You are owner-property manager at Bear Creek Management. What’s that about?

I manage the properties for Cornell Properties both commercial, residential, and an RV park at the river, which is where my office is located. I also manage the Park Hill Community Center.

3. You’re president of Tahlequah Farmers’ Market. How did you get involved?

I had been involved with the Oklahoma Food Coop since it began. The shop I had at the time created the graphics for our Farmers’ Market, and I continued updating those after I closed my shop. My involvement and passion for local food was noticed by the board, so they recruited me. Shortly after, both the president and vice president moved away and I became president of the board. This will be my 10th year.

4. Where do you see the Market five years down the road?

Interesting question, considering this year. I would say I am seeing resiliency and sustainability. I can’t predict the future, but regardless of what happens, people still need to eat, and the healthier the better.

5. You’ve acquired and are fixing up the “family homestead.” Tell us about that.

Yes, we have. The house was built in 1965 by Clyde Cain. Mary Jane and Armin bought it in 1966. We found black and white photos of the barren lawn they cleared after they moved there. Then the planting began. This year, I am documenting all the flowers that bloom. The row of forsythias along the road and the azaleas by the house were stunning this year. This will be a labor of love to restore.

– Kim Poindexter

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