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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cultivating wellness from the ground up

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Deep in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, a 40-acre plot is home to a small, renewable farm that serves as a link between the land and a community of consumers eager to enjoy the benefits of its natural bounty. Welcome to moon farms.

The small cannabis growing operation is located in an oak grove in southern Humboldt County, the center of California’s ancient marijuana industry. Tina Gordon, land host and founder of Moon Made Farms, says she realized it was a magical place when she first visited in 2007 to make a documentary about the property’s former owner Joani Hannan, the 1950s and 1960s drummer who caught fire. A trail for gay performers in the mid-twentieth century. Leaving behind the grimness and decadence of the big city, the calm and connectedness of the farm’s natural surroundings speak to Gordon’s spirit and reveal what has been missing in her life.

“It shifted my awareness and opened my eyes to the fact that we live on a living planet,” Gordon said. “Being from an urban area — from a city — I didn’t realize I was living in captivity.”

Gordon marveled at the abundance of nature she found in her new home: fresh air, untreated water, a clearly visible night sky, and food harvested fresh from the ground. Most importantly, the secluded piece of the Emerald Triangle is where her relationship with cannabis fully blossomed.

“Once I got here, I fell in love with the plant,” she said.

Growing healthy cannabis is only part of the picture.

New connection

When I first moved to Humboldt, Gordon had no intention or even interest in becoming a cannabis farmer. But when she saw the health and vitality expressed by plants grown in healthy soil and natural sunlight, she was inspired to make herself part of the process of living. Before long, she was learning to care about soil quality and how to improve its fertility naturally. She asserted that other plants growing among cannabis are useful companions, providing natural protection from pests and diseases. As she tended and developed her garden, Gordon discovered that her newfound passion extended to other aspects of her life.

“When I started taking care of these plants, I started taking better care of myself,” says Gordon. “And that is how I embrace this plant as a living being—as my teacher.”

After Hanan’s death in 2012, ownership of the property passed to Gordon, which led to the beginnings of Moonmaking Farms.

Moon farms
Providing natural medicine remains at the heart of Moon Making Farms.

Natural medicine grows in the sun

Now in its 15th year in Humboldt County, Gordon has transformed Moon Mead Farms into an undeniably successful space that produces therapeutic medicine from plants grown in natural soil and sunlight. Their farming practices go beyond typical organics practices, avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides while incorporating techniques that go beyond input replacement and embrace soil health. And she is not alone. Through a supply chain of like-minded suppliers, processors, and retailers, Gordon works to provide the natural medicine that remains at Moon Made Farms’ core.

“Moon Made Farms’ mission is to honor the most powerful plant on the planet expressed in a feminine form, cannabis,” says Gordon. “By honoring this plant, we are participating in the creation of a renewable supply chain.”

Part of the series is Jesse Dodd, the Emerald Triangle cannabis breeder who works under the Bio Vortex handle. Dodd’s work with Gordon is a collaboration that brings together their deep knowledge. After discussing the traits Gordon would like to maximize in her medicine, Dodd performs crosses that will likely produce the desired traits in the next generation of plants. Working together, they create new varieties that are bred just for Moon Made Farms. Gordon takes over from there, convincing the new seeds of their fertile and productive potential.

Moon farms
Framed photo of former landlord Joanne Hannan, a drummer who paved the way for gay artists in the 1950s and 1960s.

“I feel really happy because the seeds are doing so well on her farm,” said Dowd. “It shows them really well. They get access to their full expression and amazing beauty and quality in both the CBD and THC varieties.”

Gordon says her journey building Moon Made Farms is ultimately an expression of her commitment to healthy living. Even before she moved from San Francisco, she was very interested in nutrition, exercise, and leading a healthier lifestyle. On the farm, this natural tendency can fully manifest itself. Now an integral part of her personality, that commitment is expressed in the therapeutic benefits of sun-kissed cannabis, which Gordon compares to the qualities of organic produce or grass-fed beef. In concert with full spectrum sunlight, clean water and fresh air, Gordon grows healthy plants and clean medicine.

“We want to offer people something that’s pure and healthy and grown to the highest standards, and that’s really an expression of this place, because we want to make people’s lives better,” Gordon said.

Moon farms
Tina Gordon, founder of Moon Made Farms (L) and Life on the Farm.

Sustainable hemp

Looking to the future, Gordon says supporting farmers who use regenerative practices and sunscreen will not only lead to cleaner cannabis, but also to a healthier planet. With climate change causing wildfires, floods, and other global disasters to intensify, farms that feed our ecosystem rather than exploit it will take on new importance. Gordon envisions a mixed economy in which small farms produce medicines in addition to food and other agricultural products needed by local markets.

“This is what will support the communities,” Gordon said. “This is what will provide the public with the best possible cannabis.”

Growing healthy cannabis is only part of the picture. Cultivating a truly sustainable cannabis economy depends on having a community of individuals and families willing to invest in their own health and the well-being of the environment. Key to this investment, Gordon says, is a market for buyers who educate themselves about the origins of their lawn.

“The questions I want consumers to ask are, where does this hemp come from?” “Who grew this?” She said, “How did he grow it?” “And to get a view of the source.”

With this transparency, all members of the supply chain, from the seed producer to the end user, can be empowered to cultivate a healthier planet for all.

This story was originally published on printed edition of hemp now.

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