By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Kind [pron. “Kaynhd”] (def. adjective: of a forbearing nature, gentle) – Merriam Webster
August 15, 2016 – In the crazy world of indoor growing with lights, ventilation, liquid fertilizers, greenhouses, pesticides and additives from who knows where, it becomes necessary to clarify what is considered organic and sustainable from systems that produce large yields, but do so at the expense of the plants, the environment and, eventually, consumers, in the end. One way to ensure clarity is third party certification and, luckily, Oregon has a certification company based right here: Certified Kind.
Certified Kind has been certifying cannabis gardens since 2014 and certified one of the very first commercial cannabis gardens in Oregon—Loved Buds in Josephine County. They certify gardens both indoor and out, and have a rigorous inspection process to determine and establish best practices, sustainable organic systems, and a low carbon footprint. Their website explains, “The goal of Certified Kind growers is to produce crops in harmony with natural systems using methods that are Kind to Life and Kind to Earth.”
“I have been working for Oregon Tilth since 2005 doing organic certification of fruits, vegetables, processed food products, and dairy, and still work for them on a part time basis doing organic USDA certification,”Andrew Black, the owner of Certified Kind told Oregon Cannabis Connection (OCC). “We started Certified Kind in 2014 to offer a similar service to the cannabis community.”
Black’s experience is unmatched in this market, due to his unique experience. He is also centrally based in Eugene, and can travel the state. They will also cover gardens in Washington, and possibly Northern California regions. Travel is involved for them, obviously, but they also make multiple visits.
“We can’t just have one person making the inspection and also making the certification decision,” he explained. “So, for quality control, we always have to bring in multiple people.”
His inspection process is extensive, and he spends a substantial amount of time covering many subjects during the inspection. He checks the water source; takes samples of plants; reviews policies; inspects the soils and water, garden area, systems for growing, recycling, transplanting methods, and more. He spends a lot of time educating and informing, too.
“I contacted Andrew and he responded really quickly and spent almost three quarters of a day here,” explained Brooks. “He pretty much wanted to see everything on the property, our operation, and all our practices of growing.”
Charles Brooks is proprietor of Loved Buds in Josephine County, which was one of the the first registered commercial grows in Oregon. They have been growing for a few years, and have always tried to be good stewards, but thought Certified Kind certification would be a way to show they are truly organic. He found their inspection comprehensive and very informative. Brooks has been a landscaping contractor for 30 years and knows about growing plants.
“I researched the other guys, and they didn’t seem to want to get back to me very quickly, and put me on a list,” explained Brooks. “Andrew responded right away and was extremely knowledgeable, so we went with him and the experience was great.”
A determining factor for any producer is marketability of your goods. In the cannabis industry, the source of your products determines if the cannabis is organic—and organic sells. The problem is that determining if it’s organic can be impossible without an independent third party, which is where Certified Kind makes a product stand out.
“It can help growers access markets that they didn’t previously have access to, necessarily,” explained Black. “It allows dispensaries to know and trust that the product is organic, of a high quality, and sustainably grown.”
One longtime Oregon grower, Jim Wolfe of Camas Valley, thinks the Certified Kind certification is a great idea. He even named his farm Wolf Kind® because he believes in organic, sustainable growing, and being kind to the earth, too. He has grown cannabis since 1972, originally not more than a “baseballs throw” away from where they now cultivate part of their legal commercial garden.
“Having the certification allows me to get in the door easier,” explained Wolfe. “The concentrate company I work with is out of Eugene is also Certified Kind, and they’re just tickled pink that my product is certified and is totally clean and they don’t have to worry about it.”
That extract company is Critical Source in Eugene. They have their CO2 system certified, and were the first processor accredited by Certified Kind.
Black’s company also can certify indoor gardens and greenhouse operations. They check for organic and sustainable practices, examine energy usage, lights, fans, and make recommendations where appropriate. They have an annual flat fee, but it includes a comprehensive analysis and support.
“For that fee, are you coming down just one time?” Wolfe said he asked of Black. “’Oh no, you got me all year,’ he told me, and he has been available as promised.”
“Certification is education and, if you want to empower yourself as a grower, one way to do that is an organic certification process,” explained Black. “Our goal is to empower organic growers and create space for organic growers to compete in the cannabis marketplace.”
Of course, from a consumer’s perspective, having a “certified” organic product is important, as opposed to one that the grower only claims is organic, or that the dispensary determined was organic from a five-page questionnaire a grower filled out. Certified Kind offers a truly independent third party certification of organic product that both the consumer and retailer can trust.
Get more information on Certified Kind at www.certified-kind.com or call Andrew Black at (844) GRO-KIND (476-5463). Certified Kind is an advertiser in Oregon Cannabis Connection Aug/Sep 2016 issue. See their ad in our paper.
Certified Kind Statement of Intent: Certified Kind agriculture is an earth-friendly way of farming, rooted firmly in the idea that the way we farm is just as important as the yield. Certified Kind growers produce crops in harmony with natural systems using methods that are Kind to Life, Kind to Earth. Certified Kind draws inspiration from the creative force of natural ecosystems and the power of plants to shape and transform human culture. Read the rest at: http://certified-kind.com/intent
Main image for article is a Blue Dream at Wolf Kind in Camas Valley, Oregon. All article Image by Andrew Black, Certified Kind.
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