In an exciting step for the US biodynamic community, the national organization released their summer/spring 2017 issue on the topic of Cannabis, titled “Biodynamic Cannabis: What does it mean for agriculture and for the world?”. Emerald Spirit Botanicals was given the opportunity to share why we think cannabis is an important crop to be acknowledged by the biodynamic community and how biodynamics can support the future of cannabis. This is what we had to say:
Intentionality, Care and Healing: A NABDAP Graduate in Mendocino County
by: Joseph Haggard
Isn’t it interesting that the plant whose fiber was used to make the paper that our Declaration of Independence was written on is now considered a Schedule 1 drug. Law once required farmers in colonial America to cultivate this plant for the production of fiber to make paper, canvas, and rope. In the 1800s it was not only recognized as an extremely useful plant for the development of America, it became recognized for its medicinal potential. Today, it has been shown to alleviate pain, depression, cancer growth and other ailments many people struggle with every day. As laws allowing the cultivation of cannabis return to the United States, biodynamics has an opportunity to demonstrate how this plant can be worked with in a way that supports healing to not only the patients using cannabis, but to the earth and the farmer as well.
I am a recent graduate of the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP) and live with a passion to support healing for the earth and humanity. Through my personal research and experience in this program, I am confident that biodynamics offers an opportunity to be a farmer that produces food and medicine in a way that can bring healing to the earth and consumer unlike much of the conventional farming across the United States. I work on a small farm in Mendocino County, California. We have an orchard of 20 fruit trees, a medicinal herb garden, produce vegetables for a local farmers market and CSA, and grow seed for our local seed company. We farm just under two acres of land and like many small farms in northern California would not have the finances to survive as a farmer if we didn’t have cannabis by our side. We see cannabis as another medicinal plant that can be grown next to nettle and dandelion to bring healing to our land, as well as the patients who use our medicinal products.
The Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program gave me a new way of seeing the plant world and I am bringing this perspective to the medicinal plants on our farm. In the same way that biodynamic farmers watch the dandelion flowers open to harvest for preparations, cannabis farmers can watch the trichomes ripen on cannabis as they prepare for harvest. In the same way that seeds are bred to further develop a farm individuality, so to can the cannabis seed be bred to adapt to the specific microclimate of each farm. In the same way we study the preparation herbs looking at archetypal form to understand the spiritual nature of its medicine, so too can we begin to understand the spiritual nature of cannabis. Applying such insights to the cannabis plant furthers its potential of bringing healing to the earth, humanity, and the farmers who can find a deep connection to a plant that sustains their wellbeing.
Biodynamics offers a method of farming that supports a rich and living soil and allows the cannabis plants to thrive without the use of pesticides, herbicides and heavy fertilizers. In many cases, the cannabis industry gets a bad wrap because of the unsustainable farming practices many growers use to ensure a large yield. We cultivate cannabis alongside our herbs and vegetables to support a diversified farm organism that has a natural resilience to pests and disease. We utilize the compost preps as well as cover crop and plant ferments to bring nutrients to many of the plants on our farm including cannabis. The intentionality and care we bring to our medicine has deepened the spiritual practice on our farm. Consumer feedback is already highlighting our cannabis as some of the best medicine available in the area.
Years ago, the biodynamic community was faced with a dilemma around viticulture and the wine industry. Eventually, they came together and as the wine industry grew, so too did the awareness of biodynamics. Biodynamic wine became sought after and connoisseurs noted the distinct differences of a well crafted BD wine. Through biodynamic agriculture, we are able to cultivate cannabis that out performs those using conventional and organic farming methods in our area and cannabis farmers are becoming curious about biodynamics. Now is the time for biodynamics to embrace this inherent curiosity of fellow farmers and support the cultivation of medicinal plants, including cannabis.
To learn more about biodynamic agriculture visit https://www.biodynamics.com/