Ep001: State of the Humboldt Union – A Cannabis Braintrust Podcast

The Humboldt Cannabis Council & Humboldt Green Present, “State of the Humboldt Union”, the first podcast directly from the cannabis brain trust of Humboldt County, California at the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

Featuring:
Ken Hamik – Futurist & Owner of Hummingbird Wellness
Joanna Berg – Soil Scientist & Owner at Dirty Business Soil
Stephen Gieder – Owner Northcoast Horticulture Supply & Humboldt Green
Dan Mar – Owner of High Tide Permaculture & Compliant Farms
Gretchen Miller – Owner of Kiskanu

In this first episode, the group discusses the current state of cannabis in Humboldt, where compliant cannabis businesses need to be in the near future, and some ideas about what is going to happen as the California cannabis industry matures.

Transcript

I am Ken hammock welcome to Humboldt Green Week 2018 that 12th season of humble Green Week which is remarkable. It’s April 19th

we’ve got selected representatives of the Humboldt Cannabis Council with us today. In the podcast what we’re going to be talking about is the State of the Humboldt Union. 2018 is a very pivotal year, prop 64’s passed we’re an adult use and now the economy in Humboldt is very largely dependent on cannabis for years and now we’re going through a lot of economic and environmental challenges and changes that are before us so before we start, we’ve got an hour, I’d like to just toss it out and introduce the folks here on the panel. Joanna you wanna start?

Yeah absolutely! My name is Joanna Berg and I’m a nationally certified soil scientist and co-owner of Dirty Business Soil and I do a lot of agricultural planning and consulting in addition to agricultural testing for nutrients

I’m Steve Gieder and I’m here today representing all things green. Humboldt Green is a company I started & Northcoast Horticultural Supply, Humboldt Wholesale, I’ve started a few local companies a lot of them have to do with the gardening community and the greater economist community at large in Humboldt County. We do a lot of community events and we produce this thing Ken was talking about earlier called from ‘Humboldt Green Week’ and we helped start and organize this group we call the Humboldt Cannabis Council and yeah Thank You – Gretchen

I’m Gretchen Miller and I am a co-owner of Kiskanu and Kiskanu Farms we are a family owned and operated cannabis farm in Kneeland and humble and we also are starting a manufacturing company in Eureka where we make top of cannabis topicals and beauty products and prerolls and I’m also a cannabis therapy consultant where I help clients use cannabis to improve their health and general well-being

I’m Dan Maar I’m the Compliant Farms and we like to operate beyond the permit beyond compliance and we develop not only permits and resource management plans but also holistic property management plans as well

Welcome everybody just brief introduction me I’m Ken Hammond, I’m a futurist up here in Humboldt.  I have the opportunity and the privilege of working with the Humboldt Green team and being a part of these wonderful events. So today state of the Humboldt Union we’re just gonna have a conversation. We’ve got some ideas some challenges. I think one of the challenges we’re facing right now is a reality and that is the market is going to shape what we do here with as much as we can we’re gonna have to pay attention to what consumers and retailers and others people are looking for brands could it be important. I think we all agree that throughout everything we’ll discuss today Humboldt Cannabis Council we always bring up in the environment, it affects everything, the economics just do in your own business how you farm how you manufacture how we care about our brands here and Humboldt for the rest of the world. What do you guys think are some of the biggest market issues that are shaping Humboldt in the North Coast right now?

Joanne: Well I’ll start us off with maybe perhaps one of the most obvious ones is the price of pounds are declining pretty rapidly and just having a volatile market as we move into regulation has been very challenging for a lot of our farmers and it’s very much shaking out in our community in various ways we see a lot of farms changing ownership and businesses changing and going away and evolving and we’re seeing a lot of change just simply from the price yeah.

Stephen: I’ll jump in and say since I’m next in line it seems like mm-hmm that I think pulling resources together because of that is one of the biggest things that farmers can focus on and ways to progress in a positive way through some of these difficult market changes that kind of happened slowly but surely and now are happening a lot faster in the last couple of years but I think pulling together to use the resources that people have collectively is really one of the ways through this and a creative way to help grow your business or keep your business in businesses some of the you know co-op models or other agreements between businesses, business agreements and how folks tend on doing business going forward is so important because a lot of people have been used to a certain revenue stream and somewhere along that that stream there’s a dam or there’s a stream dried up and now the water doesn’t flow that way, the business doesn’t flow that way any longer and so it’s really about networking finding out how you’re going to be able to bring your product to market in the new model so kind of forgetting what you’ve known and embracing the new markets the new strategies which again just is about bringing resources together I believe. So many people are they’ve used up what they have in so many ways and I see so many businesses getting tighter and tighter when they could be working together for a much greater benefit.

Ken: Gretchen you’ve got a unique perspective not only cultivation of manufacturing you’ve tended the brand Kiskanu quite closely and you’ve listened to the market and what they’re looking for to the challenges I guess as you answer the question for me there’s somebody in your shoes is I call it the tale of two Agriculture’s you know if you talk about the production cost, cost of doing business, taxes compliance costs of let’s say another agriculture like wine growing grapes and making wine this the costs are fairly low or at least manageable

Yeah

But cannabis right now in 2018 because while the regs seem to really be stacking up how does that feel there’s a businessperson in the new cannabis adult?

Gretchen: Sure! Well it’s very different than it has been in the past and there’s a huge learning curve for farmers that moved too humble to be back to the land farmers off the grid to now transition not only having to understand this business world and compliance and have lawyers and it’s not only understanding it but it’s coming up with all those costs with the price plunging it’s, it’s a fine line and we have to learn how to get our cost down as farmers to survive and I think working together and branding together even as ‘Humboldt’ is the strongest we can be together so

Ken: So, Dan working a lot in the fields on the environmental issues that’s another cost of the past and now we’re we’ve got new regs upon us how does this look right now in Humboldt County and where do you think it’s going?

Dan: Well I think like any industry or any classroom it’s a bell-shaped curve you know you’ve got some off of each edge and then you’ve got the group in the middle and I think if we want to shift that Bell one direction or the other we got to remember that ecological is also economical, so if you talk about cost per unit and then price per unit it’s like the cost per unit we have somewhat of a control over in terms of what inputs we’ve got that go in to produce a particular crop whether it’s cannabis or anything else so how we can reduce the overhead and the cost to produce that unit and looking at more resources that can be sourced on-site produced on-site shared with neighbors you knowing we have such a rich culture here at beyond cannabis we’ve got it you know with livestock as well so these things are all over the places for us to be utilizing and that also goes into with compliance how we manage our lands it’s not just about agriculture it’s also about you’re managing roads and you’re managing a forest and you’re managing streams so it’s got to go beyond the garden as well and for me

it’s like instead of replacing a culvert do you still need the culvert? Do you need that extra thousand or 2,000 feet of road that has to be maintained and managed or can we put it to bed? Can we find a more suitable area so then that brings your efficiency your business efficiency of if you’re not trekking all over the place and side-by-sides burning gas and then those side-by-sides break all the time so it’s you know those two things go together ecologic is economical and we have to look at being efficient and conscious about both of them

Ken: So we’re sitting in the offices of One Degree Consulting here in McKinleyville California, Northern Humboldt. Everyday new and more people come in for all of the licensed groups for the California to try to get their local permit and to leave their stamp on what they want to be a part of in the industry and the challenges often are they have certain skill sets but they don’t have other skill sets so some people come in and they be master cultivators, Steve knows a lot of them from NHS and his work up here for the last 17 years, but they may not have other skill sets they may not know how to do a business plan they may not really know how to do marketing so what are the challenges right now on 2018 as we’re getting into this new legal more legal adult world for some of these, not just cultivators, but other licensed groups in Humboldt County?

Stephen: I’ll start on this one I guess kind of was almost addressed to me in some way, thank you. Well I think one of the what we touched on there with let’s just take branding for example branding has been a hot topic and we know that you need to have branding to succeed in business to some extent. Does it need to be branding for your farm and you’re growing 5,000 square feet does it need to be branding for the whole coop of 150 farms that have that would encompass maybe you know 40 acres total or something like this you know? There’s a lot of different ways to spend your money and marketing and advertising and being having experience in business and being involved with making those decisions in the past myself as anyone here has been to some extent you, know people always say other competitors doing this in marketing that’s really a lot of people who sell media for you to advertise on they make a competition between you and all the other businesses out, there Oh so-and-so is doing this so maybe you should think about getting a full-page ad also they have a billboard well maybe if you don’t have a billboard maybe people wouldn’t take your business seriously and a lot of different things like that.

I think one thing to keep in mind in my opinion is there is a such thing as bad branding it’s not no publicity is bad publicity well branding and marketing yourselves is a different scenario. If you spend a lot of money on marketing it’s not a reflection of how good your company’s doing it’s really just a reflection on how much money that your company is spending on marketing and branding. So it’s use your money smart, don’t just throw money of things because someone else is doing that. Just because someone else has a custom pop-up tent that cost $2,500 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just get yourself that $200 one and sell them educate people. Sell yourself sell your business you know and just be smart with the money that you’re that you’re spending on your branding and marketing and rebranding cost more than branding right once you know rebranding two or three times can cost a whole lot more than branding right once so taking your time and getting into that branding thing, talk to someone that knows something about me don’t just think because you know you grew up in the 80s and there was lots of about commercials during that time that you’re someone that’s also good that you know figuring out how to market yourself. you know?

Ken: So, Joanna you’re as a soil scientist with your own company hear it since I’ve known you just really been in education for me about how sophisticated and really mysterious soils are even for a scientist that does this. We’re also working up here in Humboldt on appellations. We’re also looking at how working with a genetics company we start to understand the terroir the you know the different areas where this has grown. How do you think the practices right now on maybe how the farmers farmed in the past are changing you know, standard operating procedures, What’s the R&D of soil?

Joanne: okay so practices are changing, practices are changing a lot right now having pesticide regulations literally is creating a cascade of effects for growers right now and the pesticide regulations coming down as they are you know people are extremely limited in the types of products they can use to spray on their plants and I think that is probably one of the most significant changes that I’m seeing right now with people’s farming practices is they’re really starting to embrace an integrated pest management strategy for their farms and integrated means you’re taking several approaches to reducing and preventing pests and disease and just seeing a huge surge and people really interested in companion planting and interested in applying the right amount of fertilizers not only because it’s the right thing to do ecologically but it’s a more cost-effective way to manage your soils so I think that’s probably the biggest shift and practices that I’m seeing and the most impact

Ken: And Gretchen, let me ask you know it’s the track and trade system it starts to be implemented (yes) and it’s going to move through all of the licensed groups until it ends retail where the consumer has to make a decision on what they’re going to purchase with the farm that you and Jason have had and Kiskanu the brand how is that how is that helped your control by not having to get flower and trim from other farmers that you just kind of have your own system

Gretchen: Yeah, it’s farmed, “soil to oil” okay I guess we know everything that goes into and we have the test results we know I don’t know how makes it standardize just having the test results behind that we can just ensure quality always keeps it in the family

Ken: One of the meetings that we had we talked a little bit about the difference of this region up here because we don’t have this call it cross-pollination or whatever, fertilization with other agriculture then is more outside of the regs, they can work really use pesticides that we absolutely cannot test positive for in cannabis, so how is that part of the story of Humboldt?

Joanne: Yeah, I think that on some level we are lucky the way we’re set up in our environment here we’re not in the valley growing amongst perhaps other producers that are using heavy-duty pesticides in other agricultural industries like almond or whatever it is and yeah we have the advantage of having a really clean environment up here and I think yeah and pesticide drift isn’t as much of an issue here in this area and so I mean we can consider that a huge production advantage as long as we understand you know our baseline levels of whatever contamination may just exist in our in our environment but yeah we don’t have somebody sprints and stuff we can’t use on down the couple next acres on down the way so we’re really lucky in that way

Ken: Dan, did you want to add anything to that?

Dan: Yeah, I just wanted like I see the silver lining in this you know we’re under very stringent testing, new parts per trillion billion so it’s pretty stringent but for me what this brings up is what we don’t know in terms of food in, terms of wine in, terms of you know grain and even in terms of meat products, you know, bioaccumulation and stuff so hopefully this will also spawn industry regulators asking questions more deeply now in taking a look at how clean is our food? How clean is our water? Because I think this this brings up a big issue with like the half-life on things the things that have been certified you know food safe for human consumption, and say hold on a second, at what levels of accumulation and what we’re getting into us so I’m hoping that’s what I’m hopeful with all of this and at the end of the day you know folks who need cannabis

Ken: For medicine need clean so I found there’s since I’ve been in Humble last few years that there really is a brain trust up here that’s remarkable I met one of them Steve Gieder who I consider really a visionary too and Steve you really represent community and it’s not just the community of how we take care of each other but the two communities the cannabis community kind of coming into the light and with your stores and with your work how do you see 2018 as kind of a pivotal year as we try to look at the economy from new angles and maybe even grow the economy in ways that really hasn’t been done before with new skill sets

Well one aspect to that is community and I can’t help but think about the face of cannabis and the events and stuff like this when you spoke about that and the idea that cannabis events are only for adults and I’ve mentioned that because I can look through this window here in our meeting office and there’s kids making faces at us in our office and our one degree in booking office here and how important that is there’s a UN denying community that’s what we like to say all the time in this particular community there isn’t a division between its looked at differently with children. It’s partly it’s our it’s our family you know it’s that we don’t we’re not lying we don’t lie to our kids as much around here about cannabis and these types of things you know in the environment you know the kids around here are future leaders in the world environmental stewards and cannabis enthusiasts for sure but is it something we need to keep the kids out of so I think we need to be creative in this next couple of years and trying to turn trying to incorporate everyone in the community in these business models the small the family farm what does that mean in cannabis how do we preserve that mentality because that’s really a big piece of this small farm the family farm that a lot of our community here locally so as cannabis is now a big business kind of mindset you know there’s lots of big business that once into this or that’s already involved like we think we grew our businesses and they’re big businesses and stuff like that but it’s we’re small businesses all of the businesses that I’m affiliated with and all the ones of the businesses we do business with our small businesses and just this week there’s news of a Hawthorn group buying out the largest distributor in our industry, Sunlight Supply, so that that’s a that’s a supply chain to the industry but it has a big impact and it’s an indicator of things to come so I don’t know if I answered your question but I think being creative and trying to figure out other ways to continue to incorporate our entire community and preserve the small farm family farm local community farmers market mindset

You know when we all thought about cannabis being legal we all thought it would be at the farmers market that’s not the case right now with the work hard still to make that happen so I think those are some of the things to focus on this year and yeah bringing coming together for  our events and things that bring like minds together because they try to keep us segregated we need to bring ourselves together so here’s a hard question we’ve been asking it of ourselves for a while now but when we’re allowed to start establishing ourselves and getting our local commits and aiming toward the post prop 215 collective kind of arrangement world and into this new post prop 64 how do you do you think this year more farmers are taking this more seriously in terms of actually getting into the system trying to get their state license? What are the challenges they’re facing right now?

I think people have run out of them on hand they’re just hoping for the best correct not everyone a lot of people unfortunately I think it’s a make-it-or-break-it year for most in our community for a large portion of our farmers in our community subculture mm-hmm yeah and that’s uh that’s a challenging scary place to be and I think again just to plug collaboration and getting through this together and you know is it the most cost-effective thing to do to brand your own farm or can you co brand with a cooperative or a group of farmers and you know what does that look like what’s our creative way to do this and come together because other areas in California don’t have the area caps that we have with, you know, the amount of acreage were allowed to cultivate you know there are there are some counties in California they’re going for it and you know how does the small rural family farm compete in Humboldt County with other counties that can grow high quality you know herb and so yeah I mean I think that there’s a some creativity and collaboration and that needs to happen in order I think for this entire  economy for this of this County to survive

So we talked before about the environment and brand and one of the things that we think of up here or sun-grown how is that different to a  novice out there that just looking at the can of density for the first time with new eyes and they’re going I don’t know the difference what does that mean how do you explain that aspect of what Humboldt is to the rest of the world well I think there’s some groups that are trying to figure that out right now in terms of these establishing standards so if you are sun-grown what that mean if you are regenerative? What does that mean and I think the coolest part of that is the conversations that are coming out of it it’s like can we standardize it you know it’s like there’s certain forms of Agriculture it’s pretty simple to standardize but then for what we’ve got going on here it’s so dynamic it’s like you go over the ridge and you’re on a whole different watershed a whole different microclimate whole different set of conditions. So it’s kind of hard to do that so you know so I’m growing under the Sun you know it’s like okay but then what about some lights early on it’s like then where does that fall so I think that conversation is very interesting and it’ll be interesting to see where that you know falls out in the end but I wanted to just go back for a sec here on the industry in the business in 2018 and where we’re going forward and for me what we’ve been seeing just over the last year is business is failing and it’s one thing it’s like if you have a storefront and yours you have a shoe store and you didn’t just didn’t make it right there is another shoe store that just had more business and you didn’t make it storefront closes up it goes up for lease again the new store comes in it’s much different out in Humboldt County especially on farms out in our upland watersheds because when that business goes out of business then what and so and this has been really in our face over the last since the end of last season his properties now being abandoned and so now there’s nobody out there taking care of the roads and the culverts and preventing erosion from happening and it’s like I spent an hour trying to help the sheriff Animal Control catch a dog that had been abandoned, it’s like there’s these I see massive ripple effects from the results of this industry because of how was shaped and formed and where the farms are to where the product hits the shelf is much different than any of their industry and a lot of those roads that Dan talks about our son that were developed just for cannabis use and a lot of them were the same thing happened a few generations back when the logging industry abandoned the same properties that then got bought up for cheap on the middle of nowhere and people thought that that was a good investment because nobody was watching and they could go out there in the middle of nowhere grow cannabis where all the trees got chopped down the year before or a generation before that so it’s we’ve seen that in this community before and before that it was the golden yet golden and the mineral rush so there was there was mining and then the logging industry left a lot of these roads for countless farmers and a lot of this TPZ land or to timber productions own land was prime target for the outlaw cannabis farmer at the time and so in some cases that it looked better there was farmers out there maintaining that land that was once left by the logging community and now if that purse that farm community is gone now again they’ve done that they’re there increased footprint I mean there’s no question about it we can look at the maps and see how big it’s grown over the last ten years just out of control environmental degradation and that’s why we’re in this position now with strict environmental enforcement happening.

Ken: Let me throw this after the group. Since I’m a futurist to things I’m really interested in or models right and then how those models can create their standards we often have shared many conversations up here at Cannifest, with many panels talking about how maybe cannabis coming into the light right now some new agriculture so to speak even though it’s been around forever thousands of years tens of thousands of years but now we are back into the spotlight so to speak how can we create how we’re trying to create new standards that might even effect other Agriculture’s?

That’s a great question and I think so I think with the regulations again I’ll just talk about some of the pesticide regulations really pushing this cascade of effects on practices pushing them more towards regenerative practices right and I feel like sometimes I talked to farmers and they feel really over regulated which I definitely understand why but this is actually a huge opportunity I think for cannabis you know cannabis is a healer on all kinds of levels and I feel like if we can create a new model of a regenerative agriculture / horticulture or somewhere in between there and show the world that you can produce high quality products cost-effectively, ecologically sound I think that we have an opportunity as an industry to like for lack of a better word show them up. Let’s do this, like let’s do this, let’s do it better now care about the regulations let’s do this better and we can we can show agriculture maybe how things can be done I think that that’s a reality I think we can do that

did anyone happen to see the last issue of the cost connection. No, the cover says the future of Agriculture and it has a picture of greens being grown in a plastic trough in a greenhouse with robots irrigating and spraying pesticides so is that the future of Agriculture because I don’t want to eat any food that was grown in a plastic trough so I think cannabis is the same thing too right so how do we set ourselves apart well do you grow in a plastic pot or do you go in native sweater do you grow under the Sun or you grow under lights and I’m not making a judgment on one or the other but there are many different ways to cultivate and how you cultivate will then open you up to a consumer market hmm right folks choose to buy organic food and folks choose to buy conventional food and it’s going to be the same for cannabis I choose to buy cannabis that’s grown under the Sun in native soil or I choose to buy cannabis that’s grown under lights in a greenhouse I think that’s how do we get there right it’s like how do we get from the farm to the retail which could be hundreds of miles away and completely disconnected from the realities of what’s happening on the farm and obstructed by branding because that tends to be where we go first is fancy labels and then we stop so I’m inspired by a lot of things in Humboldt since I’ve been up here to the redwoods the rivers the beautiful ocean views of the people it’s amazing and I’m also inspired as a futurist that I think we’ve got a can of tourism industry that wants to come up here every time again what are you doing I’m living a Humboldt, oh you’re living in Humboldt you know that look that you always get I would like to come up and see Humboldt and so as we invite people up and go to the farm to experience the products get out on the land and I think education is a key component can you guys speak I would just like to say that I think a really important thing is getting our stories out as farmers that came to Humboldt years ago and are revolutionaries in this industry people really relate to that and want to hear what we’ve been doing and how we’ve forged ahead through all these changes and I think that’s just really important as speaking our stories and getting those out there and I think that will relate then to the brand and you know keeping interest in Humboldt and our products up here keep on bull grant mmm

So last thing we talk about collaboration what we talk about models of agriculture or maybe how we can invent some new standards these models we talk about collaboration we talk about Humboldt are there models there that are maybe dormant or actually being innovated right now of how farmers can work with each other or how is communities we can work with each other I mean we don’t just have farming up here we have accountants there helping out and we have other people that you know if your soil analysis other people that sell supplies we have a whole ecosystem of businesses that are now going to be actively supporting this because it’s coming into the light how do we include some of those outside groups to collaborate more with us other than events like Humboldt Green Week. We invite people in there’s a lot of people that I’ve noticed that are coming for these that are haven’t traditionally been cannabis oriented but they’re curious and they’re stepping out and they’re asking questions this podcast is a great example of you know it can be listened to over and over again which may be scaring you but right now helping posterity

Yeah, any comments on what makes you the Humboldt community and the collaborations we have unique from other places of maybe you’ve lived your visited I’ve seen some really creative things going on I like our cooperatives I think that they’re lovely organizations that are bringing farmers together and it allows the farmers to rally and exchange information at you know cooperative gatherings and I find that really inspirational at dirty business we’ve been doing working sessions with farmers for integrated pest management planning and usually I’m out on the farm with these with these cultivators you know getting dirty looking at their soil looking at their plants and instead there’s you know 30 of us in a room and every single one of them has a laptop and we are talking about pest management and compliance with the Department of Pesticide Regulations and it’s just a whole different world and whenever I see you know 30 farmers in a room with their laptops talking pest management compliance.

I’m like I’m inspired I’m like I think we can do this but you know so I think people have to be creative with their solutions and we are I think we are you know necessity is the mother of innovation I think that’s a good point I’ve seen some of the more creative things I’ve ever seen in my life living here in Mobile County from the way people live their lives to the way they farm their cannabis to the way they raise their  children whatever it is there’s we’re in a unique place in the world and we have limited resources some would say others would argue that we have a plethora of the right resources that a society might need to survive and live and I think we’re gifted in that way we have an amazing soil, amazing air and we have plenty of water in all forms here that were really blessed to live in such a beautiful pristine place even though the human plague has had it’s had its way with the environment since the existence of humans coming here to take things from the earth and build stuff and do all the things we do. But I think where we got we’re in a unique position to set the right types of trends in the industry if someone talks about Humble anywhere around the world or if you people know what you’re talking about people know that there’s a bunch of hippies here growing wheat up in the redwoods on the ocean hmm for the most part you know people know that this is the culture at least existing here to some extent you know once you get behind the redwood curtain peel it back a little and look in there and say, “wow this is a little different than the news said it was,” but it’s still such a unique community and I think it’s so important that piece of the aspect of  community and people looking out for each other and folks that are that are that are more in tune with the environment around them.

I think that’s something we have to hold on to and I think it will go a long way in business as well I know I’ve been fortunate enough to apply some different business tactics than the average guy in my in my experience selling supplies to farmers in Humboldt County and I think it’s allowed us to build a culture within our businesses that is unique and does not exist in the horticulture supply industry around the country.  I’ve been to a lot of the stores and I’ve talked to lots of the folks and it’s just a whole different world I think we need to embrace that that different piece we have and the idea that we are reliable and sustainable here just by nature of living landlocked a little bit void of some resources but we’ve gotten a little a little lazy in some way in the industry because it’s been so plentiful the value of the crop was so high end it’s changed quite a bit so can I ask you on that point you said something the other day that broke down because I thought it would really intrigued me you said expecting to depending can you explain yeah I just came up with that in our meeting the other day but I was just talking about you know how a lot of the folks in our community were always expecting these big yields and they would they would do really well and they were getting a good price for things and they were expecting to go on vacation at the end of the season you know for a few months that’s right it was really common I know I was I worked inside the retail store for the last 17 years or somewhere in and around the retail store and the offices that were in and it was always interesting to see people at the end of the year the loads off you know all the weeds out there somewhere on a highway in the US and at least they made they made it that far and now they’re just coming they know it’s gonna come back because they put good energy into it and the Karma’s gonna work – one way or another and they’re off to vacation and the vibe was so  different, you know, and I believe that expecting peace of expecting to be on vacation and now depending on that crop to keep the property I guess that was the big that was what I was talking about us expecting that crops gonna get you these three month vacation and traveling and a mellow lifestyle and now it’s a little more of something people are depending on to sustain the livelihood that they’ve once it’s started with so yeah, that’s a tough one but I feel it’s that’s just where we are right now in so many ways there’s so many folks that are dependent upon the fluctuation and the price of cannabis to decide whether or not that this is even a lifestyle they can continue living and the lifestyle. I just mean the farming piece of it the rest of the lifestyles that come along with it or everyone’s different in that way but everyone that was farming and depending upon that money to go on vacations is really looking at that I’m hoping that they can pay their bills this year a lot many people and in a very short period of time like a two-year period so bitching we’ve been talking about how important brand is and the strategic equation of how we get through this messy middle we’re in I know you’ve paid a lot of attention and you’ve looked at a lot of different markets to see how maybe your design motif fits in or doesn’t fit in without doing anything proprietary for the public. Can you talk about your approach that used with Kiskanu to make it pop in the marketplace?

Well we started with what we liked and it was very roots-y logo branding and all our humble friends loved it and really believed it was us because they knew us and it represented us and we started working with some professionals and they came up with a new logo and then in spending time in LA and in San Francisco and the marketing and branding industry a little more which I ended up in a bunch of different meetings down there. That’s really what the customer is, caring about at the retail store when you go in and look you’re looking at 10 20 30 of the same thing you can’t try them all you’re just looking at the visual effect and what makes you feel good so we had to step away from what we thought represented us tomorrow what two people in LA want to see her the whole of California and try to reach out to what people want instead of what yeah so to me that when we go back to education again

Here at the one degree offices we have presentations we had vendors out there before conversations some of the presentations are really interesting one is a genetics company called candor it’s doing an or barium project for cannabis first ever we’ve been working with them on some projects Steve maybe you could talk a little bit to even Humboldt State University some of the smartest kids have met recently helped us with an energy model that they put into a spreadsheet to help people learn how much energy is going into different types of cultivation grows yes it’s a carbon calculator and we worked with I grow induction lighting a couple of years ago in the city of Arcata to the iGrow and ourselves work together to develop this carbon calculator because the city of Arcata needed some metrics for the businesses that would be going in there on how to tax them and how to come up with some baselines and how to help green the practices there even if it was you know allowing people to buy credits for the air that’s above the trees and the Arcata forest or whatever it is there’s a number of different ways to offset the carbon use of some of these some of these farms so about a year ago we started I started a conversation with Kevin sorry Kevin MP gurmann fingerman yeah last year our kids go together to school we were on a camping trip with the kids we started talking in the river about carbon and cannabis farms and then it turns out he’s a professor and he was working up at the college and some graduate students there we’re doing this project and they wanted to do a similar project which was to gauge the carbon inputs to the outdoor greenhouse and indoor models of cultivation so we did our best to work with them and provide them with as many numbers that we could, find real numbers from farms and farmers and equipment and they came up with a calculator to help figure that stuff out and we’ve had a number of farms participate in that project and that’s something we hope to see go further as well that was a three month project that they did at the end of their graduating part there and there they’re gonna be here today to present that and they were here earlier talking with some people out there.

Yeah that’s a great project obviously that’s a big piece of what needs to be done to create this higher standard like we need to do especially I think that’s one of the things that we’ll do here and humble and other places like this on the North Coast by setting standards like that you know it’s important what the people want to buy like Gretchen was saying earlier what do people want to buy in our land you know. Do they care about sun-grown or not? You know? Well it’s our job to educate people in one way but also to get people to like this stuff if growing doesn’t have the cool logo not too many people are gonna buy it and that’s unfortunate but that’s the facts those are the facts you know so working with professionals from out of the area to take like these goals and mindsets or ideals we’re professionals in the area wherever they happen to be more and more coming into the area so maybe this table who knows you’re never

Dan I saw a presentation that you did you kind of conducted. It wasn’t really a presentation but you had like three different farms come up and tell their story what they were doing on their properties to kind of exceed almost any other farming standard no matter what planets can you just kind of give a snippet of because it was really inspiring I was in the audience and listen to these people and I don’t know if I grew tomatoes or lettuce I’d be going up I need to learn from these people

Yeah, about three years ago Jesse Dodd from BioVortex went up to Tim Blake man Taylor Blake from the Emerald companies like, “Hey we need to start like showcasing farms not just the products and not just a warning product but we also have to like make the connection.” This is the largest cannabis event in California cannabis is you know grown all throughout the state we need to like change the paradigm here on how people see cannabis and that first year you know we have like this little room and we packed it and that got traction and then the next year got to put people up on stage and that was Dragonfly Earth Medicine, Moon Gazer [Farms] and Green Source Gardens and it’s less of an award and more of an acknowledgement of these folks are cultivating cannabis in such a way that they’re not just and they’re not just being you know environmentally conscious, they’re actually restoring habitat, restoring land they’re being regenerative in their practices They’re fully conscious about everything that goes into not just the production of a plant and a product but also their life in their community and then we got to do it again last year and you know hopefully as long as the Emerald cup takes place and in fact we’re gonna be up in Oregon and Portland at the cultivation classic doing it up there so it’s really gained traction and the most important thing is it’s like no these are farms like we’re not setting standards. I’m not creating something people are doing this they’re living this and they need to have the stage and the mic to tell their story because it’s their story that people need to hear to make the informed conscious decision and I think that that speaks greater volumes than any stamp on a product ever will ever will and it’s just been it’s been amazing it’s been really cool and that piece right there inspired so many folks now they get constant emails and direct messages on social media about hey we’re talking about you know whatever you know your compost system or I’d really like to start integrating animals but I have no idea where to start and it’s where human traditions came out of which was that oral tradition right sitting around the table with multiple generations talking about how things are done and we’ve we disconnected from that culturally we’ve disliked you know for us growing up it was a fruit and I can’t wait to graduate high school and get out of here like parents are such a drag let’s go let’s get away right you just wanted to separate yourself from that but ultimately when I got older I was like hold on a second my parents and my grandparents were doing cool stuff like my grandparents had his garden in their backyard and it took me like separate myself to realize what a value they were and that’s how our community is as well you know it’s it comes out of the environment we live in and the isolation we really have here and I think that’s how we’re gonna survive. That’s it. That’s just the bottom line.

So we’ve got a few minutes before the magical moment of 4/20 oh and you guys are all involved with things that are happening events and things like that so do you want to start joining what are you guys doing out there training what do you want folks that are listening this podcast to know what’s coming up

What’s coming up from dirty business soils is I’m teaching another IPM workshop a working session with farmers and doing another one of those we’ve been popping off those pretty frequently because lots of people need these plans so we’ll be hosting that at our laboratory on the 28th from 12:00 to 4:00 and then on May 5th I’ll be teaching a pest monitoring workshop also at the lab and I really want to get into using microscopes and pest identification and how to actually integrate the monitoring on the farm and getting people to practice because the best thing you can do is look down the binoc’s of a scope in order to learn it you got to do it so we’re gonna be hosting a microscope workshop well on that same no I know we just talked about the other day about having more workshops at our retail stores and incorporating just that workshop that Johanna was talking about is something hopefully work that’s coming up on something at Northcoast Horticultural Supply stores too all week for the for the rest of the week till the weekend here until the until Sunday we’re having a ‘Vendor Dayz’ at the retail at Northcoast Horticultural Supply retail stores where our community gets to directly engage with the suppliers and some educators that are in our industry and yeah we’re gonna continue doing other things you do on a regular basis here at the one degree consulting offices and to help out the community and with Humboldt Green events will finish up Green Week this this week at the end of the week and we’re looking for other sites for Cannifest 2018 and into the future 2019

Gretchen I am a part of women cultivating community group it’s group of women up here in Humboldt the manufacturers and people in the camp women in the canvas industry but we are going to be opening it up for other women up here and wherever we’re gonna have an event in July but just to support women in the industry so stay tuned for more information about that and Kiskanu is forging forward with our permitting on both manufacturing and cultivating and just by our cannabis and cannabis products

Yeah Compliant Farms started the watershed fund two years ago and it’s housed by Humboldt Area Foundation and we have overs I think

$35,000 in there and the thing that we really want to make clear is that that was all cannabis farmers donated money to the fund and the goal with that is now that we’re at this phase is through science tracking and developing protocols from regenerative farming techniques that can then be replicated and working with local nonprofits and agencies to collect that information and for these practices to become more of a better management practice if you will in terms of BMPs so we’re really excited about that right this phase now where we’re starting to have meetings with nonprofits and agencies and working with farmers and putting all those pieces together on how particular farming practices can really benefit not just the farm but also the environment they’re like better management practice yes

ooh sorry miss partridge it’s very humble yeah to see one have any last things to say before I close it up for 4/20 I think I’d like to end with the keynote of adaptability is really at the heart of what this industry has always had that I think you know the history of the back-to-the-landers coming here and moving from an urban lifestyle to an extremely isolated intense environment and adapting and surviving and thriving and the community and culture that has grown from that is that how this is just another level of adapting and being fluid so it’s one of my mantras be like water right so that’s us humble happy like water I just liked special thanks to Seer Snively for helping a us with though we hope very high production quality today and with that I really appreciate you guys kind of joining us today and where’s it at yeah letter so it’s just about 420 here and humble it on for 419 we got funny we’ve know

[Laughter]

there’s another joint another joy well I guess it’s appropriate for us to spark this kind of this medical kind of disjoint or recreational depending on what your medical record on needs are this is this is a kind of this cigarette a pre-roll as the state likes to call them here from Kiskanu it’s the Kiskanu Blue CBD RJ signature pre-roll 14% CBD 7 percent THC I believe that’s a two-to-one ratio after yes and their blue matches so  here we go always on time thanks for joining us keep them both green

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