Staying Environmentally Conscious and Aware of Your Consumer’s Health
Working with our plants is meditative for most of us cannabis farmers. Our hands caked in dirt, lined along the underneath of our fingernails, our breath lengthened while we physically work in the fields, and our noses filled with the sweet aroma of live buds ripening with the sun. All are centering thoughts for us with a passion for cultivating cannabis, but it doesn't just stop there. While using organic nutrients and pest management techniques has been the standard for the Hive Mendocino farms since the beginning, our understanding of why this is important to our planet and consumer's health continues to grow each year.
Perhaps the most humbling aspect of cultivation is our position in the ecosystem and our oneness with the environment. Every step of the way, we look at how we can work with mother nature, not against her. By using organic integrated pest management (IPM) sprays and organic nutrients in our growing methods, we aim to provide more to the world, not just our plants. We rebuild our soil each year, amending it for a proper nutrient make up each season. We add macro and micronutrients such as worm castings and compost to create a robust medium for our plants to thrive. The nutrients and fertilizers we use are beneficial to the soil, creating abundantly available elements that our plants need to grow. In the end, everything that we put in has the surrounding ecosystem in mind - we aim to find mutually beneficial ground to work on that our natural neighbors will approve of.
To discourage water waste, we have set up automated irrigation to optimize our water usage. We know how precious our water resources are, and we work to combat our contribution to the 1.7 trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the U.S. In an effort to do our part in keeping our water sources clean, our IPM sprays are never harmful to the environment or our surrounding ecosystem. We also take measures to ensure there's no chemical runoff at our farm, a seemingly small problem that damages our planet and contributes to a persistent and growing issue. Agricultural runoff can be detrimental to lakes and streams and can pollute our fragile water sources. We take extra care in ensuring our land is never overworked and our irrigation lines are regularly checked, two points that often contribute to the harmful runoff in water supplies.
Beyond the environment is our consumer's health, and we would never cultivate a product that we wouldn't consume ourselves. We don't spray organic pesticides past the fourth week of the flowering stage because we don't even want natural nutrients/pesticides ending up in the buds we will smoke. If a bud is sprayed late enough into their flowing cycle, chemicals can stay on the surface through processing and into retail. When combustion occurs, it can cause harm to the smoker, both long-term and short-term. We are vulnerable organic beings, and we react to harmful chemicals in the same way other organic lifeforms do.
In this new industry, we are paving the way for the future of cannabis; the standards we set now will be the guidelines for the future. We shouldn't take this responsibility lightly - there are future generations to look out for and stereotypes to break. Right now, there's an opportunity for us to create the industry cultivation standards we hope to see. This industry hasn't even established state-wide organic guidelines for commercial cannabis, and we have to speak up now to set a respectable baseline if we hope to see safe consumption and cultivation habits in the future. We farmers have the unique responsibility to keep this industry moving in the right direction. We must band together now and focus on organic and environmentally sustainable practices. As more of us adopt this standard, it becomes regular and expected in the market, something beneficial for both our planet and consumers.
With both our world and users in mind, we passionately cultivate in the fields each day. We hope to see this crop enhance the environment, not burden it like so many other agriculture sectors do. We are working toward a new standard that will hopefully spill over into other areas of the industry, expressing our desire to maintain a natural equilibrium. We are all consumers and inhabitants of this earth, after all, and we have to look out for each other. Otherwise, who else will?
Photo by: Chris Butler