NUG Garden – Oakland, CA
In “Promenade,” a song by Street Sweeper Social Club, Oakland artist Boots Riley asks over Tom Morello’s thunderous guitar,“How much cash could an o-z grow?” Industrial East Oakland’s NUG is a large-scale producer that has cultivated and manufactured cannabis for over 10 years, employing 120 people. “We are Oakland family, Oakland people, who strive to help Oakland,” asserts Extraction Specialist Chris Harkins. NUG slowly manifested their space by building a vertically integrated business that grants full control over their final product. Before spearheading Oakland’s Equal Equity Program, NUG was approached by the city, which hoped to obtain a share in ownership. NUG refused the share, though agreed to an equity program. Through OEEP, NUG works to build a stronger community by hiring locals, single-sourcing product, growing organically and volunteering for city cleanup days.
Towering kolas and beatific aromas surrounded us as we toured a couple of NUG’s indoor facilities, easily the largest I’ve seen. Kolas spiraled perfectly tight. Their exceptional yield is a testament to NUG’s growing experience and longevity in the business. Conscientious growers display excellent stewardship, utilizing organic nutrients, drip irrigation, fungal biopesticides and predatory mites. Master Grower Ryan Tonsberg emphasizes NUG’s continuous improvement cycle for peak quality. Ryan explained how oxygenated acid runs through their PVC lines, keeping them flushed. Star strain Premium Jack has taken home several awards, including 1st place at High Times; Strawberry Banana Diamonds sugar concentrate received 1st place at Blazers Cup for Highest THC.
NUG plans to sponsor eight extreme athletes by March, including Adam Emery, Curtis Ocampo, Eric Royce and Anthony Mazzotti. Being a diverse team of cannabis community specialists and ambassadors, team NUG admits there can be productive conflict at times: “It’s like walking onto a film set, everybody wants it to happen and it’s a big production,” states Edibles Specialist Jordan. NUG chocolate is also award-winning. “I pretty much work with all-organic ingredients,” notes Jordan. “We want to make things that represent the population.”