Why We Started At The Soil: Much More Than A Label
Our label represents hard work in agriculture, the ingredients we put in our products, the history of cannabis and the work our family has put into bringing these products to your home.
In this blog we’ll discuss what our label means and how that translates into all your favorite products. We’ll also discuss:
- The ingredients and materials that go into Meristem Farms products
- The practices we have committed to
- Farming high-THC cannabis in Vermont
- How you can get involved
Cannabis or hemp plants are natural bio-accumulators, meaning the plant will absorb and take up through their root systems anything existing in the soils where they are planted. Because of this, it is critical that the soils in which cannabis is planted for human or animal consumption are free from toxins, such as pesticides or heavy metals, otherwise these materials have the potential to transfer into your products.
To prevent these materials from entering your body, we have committed to a holistic approach to healthy economies and landscapes. We see this practice manifested in a variety of ways by:
- Putting farmers first by partnering and collaborating with existing family farms;
- Focusing on sungrown plants so as not to be dependent on excessive energy consumption;
- Hiring and buying locally;
- Relying on locally produced compost to further support healthy soils;
- Using natural predators to control insect populations;
- Interplanting for efficient use of space as well as repelling pests, reducing weeds and sharing nutrients;
- Companion planting, while similar to intercropping, uses other plant types to create a biodynamic ecosystem also effective for increasing pest resistance, pollinator habitat, flavor enhancement and nutrient providers;
- Managing and monitoring water use;
- Refraining from using plastic mulch (we learned that lesson the hard way!);
- Amending the soil smartly and sparingly;
- Planting cover crops to suppress weeds and revitalize soil health;
- Minimizing tilling–or skipping it entirely–to reduce disturbance of the beneficial mycorrhizal systems that support living soil;
- Creating products that highlight the consumer benefits of our practices. Farming with love leads to products you’ll love!
Agriculture experts caution that it could take years for the U.S. hemp market to mature and stabilize. They say hemp likely will remain a specialty crop, like cherries or tulips, rather than competing with major commodities such as corn and soybeans.
Small scale family hemp farms remain a viable agricultural solution as farmers settle into a rhythm of reliable contracts, a calming regulatory landscape, dependable facilities and discerning customers. And, at least agriculturally speaking, the transition into the high-THC market in Vermont should not be a complicated transition plant-wise. Regulatory-wise is certainly a different conversation entirely and we look forward to a time where cannabis is viewed as a whole plant with a spectrum of medicinal wellness opportunities.
Hemp Matters to Meristem Farms
We became a product manufacturer because we wanted to create products that modeled what we wanted to see in the world. We believe paradigm shifting starts as a groundswell through many different avenues; from the land, on the shelf and advocating at the state, federal and grassroots level. Artisanal products have the advantage of being nimble unlike big corporations who have a harder time steering their ships in an uncertain regulatory future.
We have seen a forward movement on decriminalization and a renewed passion for the medicinal benefits of cannabis, including hemp (whether it is with hemp-rich CBD or hemp for fiber).
Hemp production is foundational for a new economy to spur on climate smart agriculture and as Winona LaDuke urges, a New Green Revolution (a revolution that deconstructs industrialized agriculture and grows soils and community).
The Bottom Line
Hemp has thousands upon thousands of uses beyond its high-CBD genetic sister; fiber hemp markets are growing; and has the potential to transform the materials economy with new building and product innovations.
At Meristem Farms we believe that hemp farming, in all its forms, has an opportunity for ecological and social justice — and we want to be a part of this change.
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