DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Keep on Growing – Sustainable Cannabis in the Rogue Valley
The tech and the entrepreneurs of Southern Oregon are leading the world in developing the cannabis industry (both high THC and hemp). The regional legal production of the actual cannabis itself is unrivaled anywhere else in Oregon and the beaver state holds its own even compared to California on sheer volume. I want to highlight our little hub of high.
We are at the worldwide epicenter of cannabis. But what makes us different and special? Then it hit me! In so many ways, despite the solid infrastructure, we are still a small industry in the ecologically-minded Pacific Northwest and we all know each other. Combine these facts with a cannabis community that has historical ties to hippies and you have the recipe for a tightly knit industry that cares. We self-police for ethical growing practices and push each other to progress. Being a quality company and being a good earth-citizen are almost mutually inclusive in our competitive cannabis scene.
So I thought I would give a type-written high five to those all-stars showing off what the cannabis community can do! What better place than growing techniques? Here are some short descriptions of sustainable practices local cannabis growers are utilizing to grow good weed and make the world a better place at the same time.
No-Till Farming has been catching on among cannabis connoisseurs and expert growers. Essentially, it takes organic gardening to the next level by realizing the systematic waste in purchasing new soil each year that has to be shipped to the store and driven to your farm. And what is to be done with the annual soil dump? By simply top-dressing soil with amendments, the healthy web of life beneath the surface is not disrupted. Healthy soil leads to healthier plants and lower costs. Many of the giant fabric pots with cannabis plants in them around here use this technique in some manner.
Hügelkultur goes even one step further. This organic gardening technique is quite popular among hardcore sustainability-focused cannabis farmers and utilizes the local landscape of forest-meets-desert to preserve and produce by building mounds of decaying wood and other biomass, creating a haven of moisture retention and microbiological activity. Because water is God when it comes to growing things, preservation of it for cannabis growth is of utmost importance here in sunny Southern Oregon. A well-developed hügelkultur practice gives back to the planet and to the health of cannabis plants, even helping with pest and disease prevention.
Korean Natural Farming (KNF) builds on the above techniques while staying true to the organic & permaculture M.O. by growing incredible things without chemical fertilizers. But KNF takes the process a step further by using “indigenous microorganisms (IMOs) and plants, animals, and minerals from the local environment for feeding cannabis plants” utilizing fermentations, hormones, enzymes, tinctures and other more involved techniques.
No Plastic Fields. I hear and read so much complaining about the plastic on all the hemp fields around here and, to an extent, I agree. Though nobody complains about the strawberries you are eating being grown that way (Oxnard, CA is covered in raised beds, plastic and strawberries). But I want to give huge props to all of the farmers who are working hard to pull off a hemp crop this year without plastic. Keep your eyes peeled. There are quite a few fields without plastic!
Whether you notice it or not, the cannabis farmers in our little slice of heaven are growing a better future with their entrepreneurship, industriousness and determination. So the next time you see some kids talking about how their no-till veggies are delicious, thank you local cannabis farmer for making it cool to be sustainable!