Flow Kana – Emerald Triangle, CA
Despite the breathtaking beauty that is the landscape of the Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties, the Emerald Triangle is more than just the pretty face of the cannabis industry. It’s one of the only places in the U.S. where outdoor, sun-grown cannabis is not only a possibility but a relatively easy feat to manage. Our finicky plant needs the right ratio of light and temperature to grow, and when that balance is thrown off, cannabis doesn’t thrive — which is what makes the sweet-spot environment of the Emerald Triangle so ideal.
This is where Flow Kana comes in. The company prides itself on embracing sun-grown cannabis and sourcing only from local, sustainable farms. While their services include packaging, processing and distribution, they will only work with companies that share their core values, allowing small businesses to thrive in an often-unforgiving industry.
“Our hope is to bring in as many farmers and brand partners as we can into our eco-system,” said Flow Kana CEO and co-founder Mikey Steinmetz. “We have grown quickly and expanded our services to a network of more than 200 farms and offer a range of distribution and white label services to a variety of licensed cannabis companies who share Flow Kana’s values to provide consumers with clean, compliant, and sustainable products. We want to find as many paths to market as possible for our partner farms.”
In a time when the cannabis industry is being swept up by big-dollar promises to expand the industry, many fear that the integrity of what was once a small, mom-and-pop business model will fall by the wayside. Flow Kana strive to only work with businesses that are in line with the ethos of small industry, sustainability, and protecting the environment.
“We identified parallels between industrial food distribution models and industrial cannabis cultivation—both weighing negatively on the environment—and Flow Kana was born,” Steinmetz said. “We shared this vision of a future of regenerative cannabis farming, regenerative food farming, and regenerative capitalism—using business and sustainable cannabis as a tool to create the kind of world we want to live in. Our hope is to bring in as many farmers and brand partners as we can into our ecosystem..”
We spoke to some of the farms that work with Flow Kana about what makes sun-grown cannabis so special and why sustainable growth is the way of the future.
Moon Made Farms
“When I first moved up here, being from the city, I wasn’t tuned into the night sky,” says Tina Gordon, founder and owner of Moon Made Farms. “I was really aware of the sun and daytime, but I wasn’t in an environment where I could appreciate the night sky, and when I started realizing how that changes nightly, and what that means when you’re outside on a mountain, I started integrating the lunar farming calendar into our farming methods. We use the lunar calendar for every part of the seasonal process, from when we crack seeds to when we plant to when we harvest.”
Finding herself more in tune with what nature provides, Gordon started listening to the sun, the moon and the soil. This wasn’t an exercise in ideology, but a reality for a sun-grown cannabis farmer. Everything Moon Made grows is sustainably grown outdoors. Originally from San Francisco, Gordon first visited the farm because the previous owner was a drummer like herself, and she wanted to bond over music. She had no previous experience as a gardener and didn’t even keep house plants, but soon decided to try her hand at gardening and cannabis growing.
“People need to be focusing on getting to know the land they are farming on and having access to what is on the land, engaging with the land and going deep into the relationship with the land,” she adds. “I think a sustainable model means developing relationships to the land and really going back to the source, learning new ways and unlearning old ways.”
“ … Gordon started listening to the sun, the moon and the soil. This wasn’t an exercise in ideology, but a reality for a sun-grown cannabis farmer.”
Briceland Forest Farm
In an industry moving seemingly faster than the speed of light to keep up with changing times, giant demand and a huge influx of money, it’s easy for companies to skip over sustainability and focus instead on profit margins. Despite the green rush, Daniel Stein of Briceland Forest Farm feels that the land and process need to come first.
“I think an industry coming out into the light is what I’m really enjoying, but the thing I think that could change the most is the industry focusing on what we are doing, and not on money,” he says. “Everybody in this industry is kind of grabbing for a share of the pie and trying to create business in the profits, and I think we really just need to, as an industry, look at what our values are and why we are in the industry, and the legacy we want to leave in the world with the work we are doing.”
Like Moon Made, Stein grows outdoors and relies on the rhythm of nature for his growing. Above all, however, he feels seeds are the key to the future of sustainable growth.
“When you’re talking about seeds, you’re talking about intelligence,” he explains. “A seed is all the intelligence, all things a plant and the breeders had in that moment, so when you work with something like that as a farmer, you have the potential to collaborate with all the farmers and adapt to both your desires and needs for medicine and your landscape and your land so you can really create strains and work with plants that aren’t this cookie-cutter idea of what the plants can be.”
Emerald Spirit Botanicals
Raised on the farmland he now works, Joseph Haggard knows all about sustainable farming.
“Here on the farm, I build compost heater systems, so instead of using propane to heat our greenhouse, we harvest the heat from compost piles breaking down. There’s not really one aspect that farms should focus on; it should be the relationship between all aspects that really make a farm sustainable.”
By interspersing cannabis with vegetables and other crops, Emerald Spirit grows crops that are varied enough to be resilient without pesticides while simultaneously providing food and medicine to their community.
“One thing I like is that legalization has allowed us to sort of come out of the shadows, and it has allowed us to come together from individual farms into a community of small farms,” Haggard says. “This allows us to share our genetics of cannabis, other veggie seeds, our practices, and it allows us to come together, to become a strong force in this emerging industry so that small farmers can still be recognized as a viable business plan.”
While each of these farms share similar characteristics, their unique approaches to sun-grown, sustainable farming create distinct products that, with the help of Flow Kana, are changing the way consumers in the California view cannabis.