Commercial Cannabis Gardens Can Heal The Land
Nick and Elizabeth Mahmood
Green Source Gardens
Aug 10, 2016
In this day and age we see commercial agriculture decimate some of our healthiest lands, subjecting them to methods that decrease soil biology, lower soil fertility, decrease water retention, pollute watersheds, and fill the pockets of wealthy corporations with money. Intervention is a necessity at this point, in order to reverse the negative direction that common farming practices have imposed upon our planet.
At Green Source Gardens (GSG) we believe and practice methods that not only eliminate the need to go to the store or open a catalogue, but also aim to provide a positive impact on the land where production takes place. We like the term “garden” over “farm,” because in general it reflects a space that is cared for to benefit more than just an economic self-interest. A farm generally employs tactics that aim to generate profit through securing products that are grown.
Both production and overall environmental care can be addressed. We hope the future of Oregon-grown cannabis is large gardens with a goal of increasing levels of humus and habitat diversity. Pursuing such a goal requires a high level of commitment, as well as a developed understanding and trust that nature is here as a guide. It has the answers to help
lead us toward true eco-stewardship. When we begin to accept nature as our guru, or spiritual teacher, we begin to unlock the mysteries of becoming a real “green thumb” and not just someone who is good at buying the right amendments and soil products.
We have the ability to create all our own fertilizers, composts, potting soils, etc., without depending on a warehouse full of products that leave a harmful trail back to their creation. We mention this often because we see that most people don’t believe they can grow healthy plants without a lengthy list of nutrients, amendments, and products. The truth is that growing is simpler than we want to believe and everything needed to grow healthy plants is usually a short distance away. When
we tap into our ability to see the value in locally available raw resources, we begin to heal our planet, and negate the need to rely on a corporate entity to manufacture fertility. Once we eliminate the need to buy these products, we really start to make a difference and we begin to really put the “place” back into what we grow.
A typical cannabis farm, in preparation for cultivation, will first clear the land of all pre-existing plants and soil life. Then they generally grow their plants in containers or raised beds that are filled with expensive bagged soil mixes that have been created with an array of products and, often, unsustainably mined resources.
These standard practices are resource-intensive, expensive, and
impede the plants’ ability to develop their terroir (conditions in which a plant is produced and which give the unique characteristics, often applied to wine grapes). A region’s cannabis terroir cannot be tasted from a soil mix. Plants need to be in the ground, in living soil, surrounded by diverse living habitat, in order to achieve a local flavor. Any amendment from far away will only detract from this.
A large cleared space for a single crop can only be harmful to the environment. We like to think that a well-cared-for garden improves a space’s ability to remain fertile without human management. This way, our job as producers becomes a practice
of caring for and designing systems that positively impact the future of the space we are caring for. If, and when, we are no longer there, the soil is ideally healthier and more diverse than when we began working with it.
In essence, we can heal the land we are growing our commercial crop on—it just takes the intention to do so.
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