Get to Know the Farms: Giving Tree Farms
The sun-drenched Anderson Valley, both breathtaking and grand, is home to dozens of vineyards, a local brewery, and plenty of cannabis farms. One of those farms is Giving Tree Farms, a Hive Mendocino Cooperative member. Chris Butler and Courtney Bailey, the Giving Tree Farms' owners, hold sustainability, consistency in the products, and community involvement high on their list of values. But what makes them unique is their focus on implementing smart-farming technologies into their growing methods, driving their efficient practices while boosting overall sustainability and increasing their yield quality.
Courtney and Chris started Giving Tree Farms more than a decade ago when Chris was working as a contract cultivator for Bay Area dispensaries. Soon, the demand for his flower presented the need for more operational organization, which brought Courtney into the mix after they met at a mutual friend's wedding. They saw that their dreams and aspirations were shared, and Courtney's background in marketing and business management gave Giving Tree Farms the support it needed to excel into what it is today. Not long after, they found a mutual love for one another as well, and now they're happily married, living their cannabis cultivation dreams to the fullest.
While Giving Tree Farms used to be an entirely sun-grown cannabis farm, they currently operate both climate-controlled and cold-frame greenhouses, and even offer fresh-frozen cultivation during certain seasons. But regardless of which greenhouse their plants make it into, every aspect of the farm is monitored daily and adjusted as needed, and each plant is given the high degree of care it deserves. "With our greenhouse methods, we're meticulous when it comes to managing external factors such as humidity. In our 2,500 square foot facility, we're able to account for many of these factors through the use of technology, allowing us to automate and control heating, cooling, and our humidity levels at all times."
During the early years of Giving Tree Farms, their concentration was on high-CBD cultivars and OG varieties. Since then, they have evolved to include other strains in their lineup depending on the current demand, but OG's will always remain on their menu. Being familiar with the plant's growth patterns, wants, and needs, they find OG varietals fun to grow and believe its yield is the perfect balance of heavy production and high potency. Their substantial focus on picking optimal strains for their specific micro-climate is part of what sets them up for success. It delivers a product their clients have come to know and love because the plant is given the perfect environment for it to thrive.
Supporting their community is extremely important to Chris and Courtney. They volunteer their time regularly and donate portions of their profits to their local food bank, Giving Tree Farms Foundation projects, and other organizations that support the culture, community, and environment of Mendocino County. "We also choose to support our local business in any way that we can. This is why we source as many supplies locally as possible and hold community involvement events at local businesses," they say. It's this love for their community that brought Giving Tree Farms to the Hive Mendocino Cooperative. As one of the founding members, they cared about finding other local like-minded farms. They wanted to support small cannabis farmers in the area by working together to sell inventory, splitting bulk expenses that help cut down costs for all the members, and sharing ideas that help them climb the ladder of success together. The sharing of experiences from the other member farms has helped them implement their latest farm project that will help lower their environmental footprint - the installation of their solar system for off-grid energy usage.
Accountability is another value they hold near and dear, and with that comes transparency. "Following harvest, all crops are then rigorously lab tested for R&D purposes by an objective third party to ensure impartiality and equitableness in our reporting,” they explain. “Metrics such as THC and CBD percentages are measured, as well as cannabinoid profiling, pesticide and microbiological screening, and terpene analysis. This doesn't just serve as a useful peace-of-mind measure for our clients, but also helps us continue to refine our own farming processes to a meticulous science.” As with all the Hive Mendocino members, their Simply Clean certification is renewed each year to act as another layer of assurance that their craft cannabis is produced sustainably and always free of contaminants. "What sets us apart, however, is less in the way we adhere to common industry standards, and more in the way we adhere to our own," they add, mentioning that they feel the current regulations are under par for what they believe should be the status quo. "We've gone ahead and taken the liberty of creating some internal regulations of our own in an effort to ensure that only the most brilliant product goes out our doors."
Want to continue the conversation? Check out Giving Tree Farms' blog to read about their latest farm updates, upcoming and ongoing projects, and industry news. You can follow along their cultivation journey on Instagram or sign up for their newsletter to keep in touch.
Cover photo by: Chris Butler