How can you elevate a cannabis farm from simply being productive to being sustainable?
Not only do the crew over at Verdant Leaf answer this question, they make it their mission to cultivate and create the best cannabis products possible with the lowest environmental impact. They are a unique, earth conscious and a Certified Kind organic cannabis farm operating out of Gaston, Oregon. We got the opportunity to meet up with their team and interview Rex Koehler (Verdant Leaf’s Direction of Cultivation), Brady Christopher (Verdant Leaf’s Cultivation Technician), Connor Steward (Verdant Leaf’s Compliance Manager) and Brian Wiggins (Verdant Leaf’s Cultivation Technician) to learn more about their sustainability practices and a bit about their industry perspectives.
Verdant Leaf is a grass roots company that revolves around sustainability and regenerative agriculture. From their facility wide use of LED lighting to limit power usage to collecting all waste water from A/C units and dehumidifiers, the team over at Verdant Leaf sets a high standard for their environmentally friendly farming practices. Across their entire operation their cultivation consists of living soil beds and their outdoor grows are a regenerative project by turning clay into usable soil by introducing organic matter through cover crop and compost. They are currently working to bring IMO (Indigenous Microorganisms) into the field as well as fungi inoculation. Verdant Leaf uses minimal inputs on all aspects of their farm to create minimal waste and they compost all unusable plant materials.
Verdant Leaf explained their Research and Development to us, “We do have a very small experimental hydroponic area of the farm. The purpose of this R & D area is to formulate our own nutrients based on leaf tissue analysis which tells us exactly what the plants deficiencies and toxicities are before they become visible. With this knowledge we are able to formulate our nutrients to the plants nutrient uptake which in turn lowers the amount of nitrates and phosphates leached into the water table to a minimum. We are doing this R & D to further our knowledge about the nutritional needs of the plants and to discover a hydroponic fertigation formula that can lower the impact that hydroponic cultivation has on the environment.”
Rex Koehler | Director of Cultivation
GF: What type of cannabis business do you operate?
RK: Verdant Leaf has a diverse love for the planet, people and cannabis. This love is what has inspired us to become a kind certified organic cannabis company and USDA certified organic hemp farm. We operate a grass roots sustainable business with a passion towards regenerative agriculture. This company strives to cultivate high quality cannabis and produce high quality products. We care about the customers that support us and the incredible employees that work with us. Verdant Leaf demonstrates this level of care through our cultivation practices, dynamics of operations and constant drive to learn and improve all aspects of the company.
GF: How has Greenforce been able to help facilitate and or streamline your business?
RK: Verdant Leaf has seen a lot of growth over the past year. We have added 3 new hoop houses and a large outdoor area over the past 12 months. This has added an additional 12-14,000 square feet of canopy space. Our partnership with GreenForce has allowed us to grow by providing the labor force we needed to keep up with our high standard of cultivation. Working with GreenForce has given us the ability to maintain our harvest schedule. We have grown to rely on them in all aspects of the cultivation. We appreciate GreenForce and look forward to a long quality business relationship with each other.
Brady Chistopher | Cultivation Technician
GF: What is your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
BC: Cannabis and beer are cousins. Beer hops are in the same family of flowering plants as cannabis plants.
GF: In your opinion what is the best quality a person can possess to succeed in the cannabis industry?
BC: A good work ethic and an open mind. The ability to work with the plants when they need it and a strong passion for cultivation.
Connor Steward | Compliance Manager
GF: What changes do you see on the horizon:
CS: Keeping up at the forefront of this ever growing competitive market and positioning ourselves to be ready for federal legalization.
GF: What was your first experience working with cannabis? How has your view of the plant shifted since then?
CS: My career began as a trimmer in the medical market of Arizona. My love and passion for cannabis and the industry has stayed the same. I now have a greater understanding of how much more is involved to be successful in the industry.
Brian Wiggins | Cultivation Technician
GF: What recommendations would you give someone looking to join the industry?
BW: Learn, learn, learn! This industry is in a constant state of change and knowledge is what pushes us forward. Some may know more than others but we are all learning together.
GF: Who were your pioneers? Who inspired you?
BW: Paul Stamets
and Jorge Cervantes
. I think it is safe to say that without them the research and information in both mycology and the art of cannabis cultivation would be far from the public view.
Thanks for sharing your farm and practices with us Verdant Leaf! We’re all about their mission: Plant, Planet, People. To learn more about Verdant Leaf check out their website and to keep up to date with their daily happenings you can find them on IG!
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