The Phantom Farms: a window to a sustainable future
Phantom Farms have been licensed recreational cannabis producers in Oregon since 2008 on the premise that the best produce comes straight from the land. Using organic methods, sustainable practices, and filtered volcanic water in their indoor and outdoor facilities, they provide a thriving ecosystem: the perfect environment for tasty and potent cannabis.
A tour of their facilities was organized in an effort to educate consumers and promote transparency about their sustainable growing practices by visiting their indoor grow as well as outdoor operation in Bend, Southern Oregon.
If you haven't noticed, health and wellness have been the biggest trends in cannabis since 2018. People are starting to pay more attention to what they put in their bodies and how their products are. are transformed. When it comes to food consumers can trust labels, we know we are looking for things like organic vegetables, wild fish and eggs from free-range hens, but what about when? it's about finding responsibly sourced cannabis?
Just like consuming organic vegetables, consuming organic cannabis is better for your body and the environment. However, due to regulations and the relative novelty of the industry, it is a bit more complicated to make organic. The term "organic," used on food and crop labeling, is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Since cannabis is illegal at the federal level, growers cannot take advantage of official USDA organic certification, which means there are no universal standards for growing organic cannabis. Although there is evidence that some states are adopting language and certifications that will allow consumers to determine whether the cannabis they are purchasing is sustainably cultivated and obtained. A few companies are trying to change this, notably the Cannabis Certification Council, Certified Kind and Clean Green, a non-profit organization. In Washington State, the WSDA is in the process of creating a certification program for organic cannabis.
But not all farms wait for regulatory oversight to put organic farming principles into practice. Since 2008, Phantom Farms has strived to provide its patients and recreational customers with top quality, sustainably grown buds.
“We've always been organic,” says Allister Schultz, master farmer and one of the founders of Phantom Farms. “We wanted to do it from the start. It is part of our philosophy and it is important for us that we do it the right way because we want people to see that we are not taking the shortcuts that have a negative impact ”.
Located in the Rouge Valley of southern Oregon, Phantom Farm's outdoor operation boasts 12000 square meters of cover (in addition to its 450 square meter indoor facility, which includes a distribution warehouse). wholesale and an extraction laboratory located on site). Their responsible cultivation methods and permaculture principles go hand in hand with a focus on developing quality terpenes. The secret to their “tasty and potent cannabis” lies in the soil.
“There are test results that show that growing organically and growing in living soils produces higher nutrients, phytonutrients and phytocannabinoids,” said Schultz. “Since we started down the path of living soil and 'Korean' natural agriculture, we have achieved better terpene results. "
The terpenes are best known as the aromatic combinations responsible for the smell and flavor of the bud, but their main purpose as phytocannabinoids is to protect the plant. Terpenes are largely determined by strain and growing environment, which is why organic methods like “Korean” natural farming produce a richer taste and flavor.
“Korean” natural agriculture, also known as peasant farming, is a permaculture technique that emphasizes nourishing the soil, not the plant. The aim is to create a favorable environment for micronutrients to thrive and multiply. Instead of just trying to block the plant full of nutrients, KNF produces a soil environment where life is abundant and naturally creates plant nutrition.
Part of it is making ferments and tinctures and using them at specific times during the plant's growth cycle. Phantom relies on nutritious compost teas made from local ingredients that they themselves have nurtured or grown. Think of it as a kombucha tea made to help their crops thrive, except it's infused with things like leftover fish and Himalayan blackberries.
“We collect seawater and put it in our teas, it adds some really awesome minerals to your soil. We make water soluble calcium from the eggs of our hens, which only mix the eggshells and vinegar to extract the calcium the plants really need at the end of flowering. We use animal bones to make calcium phosphate, ”explains Kristopher Edin, the ghost farm farmer. “There is a list of things you can do with brown sugar and things that grow on the property. "
The theory is that the plant material itself contains all of the growth hormones, enzymes, and nutrients that plants want at any given time. This is an inexpensive, bio-regionally specific product, which allows you to sample from really healthy plants in your area and get crops that are strong and healthy. When done properly, it takes three years to get the soil to a place where it is no longer necessary to use external inputs.
“We're still trying to figure out how to keep it to scale, our soil is constantly changing,” Edin says. “We're still going to have to do traditional organic amendments because of our size, but I think it's really great to start experimenting and committing to it, which Phantom really is, and we're realistic too. "
Although it is an organic farm, no one can claim that their cannabis is organic because it is not recognized as an agricultural crop, but rather because Phantom Farms is certified Clean Green, which is the benchmark in the cannabis industry. Clean Green is a private organization that requires on-site inspections and third-party laboratory tests. Much like the USDA's National Organic Program for traditional agricultural products, the entire plant life cycle is considered, from seed selection, to harvest and processing, to soil, nutrients. , pesticide use, mold treatment and dust control. Clean Green companies must also have a carbon footprint reduction plan, water conservation measures and fair working practices in place.
Most growers still use synthetic fertilizers, which reduce soil nutrition and lead to runoff into nearby ecosystems. While this may seem like an easier and cheaper option, Schultz believes it's a long-term mistake.
“It's very easy to buy worm casts and make your own tea, but people don't do that. They prefer to buy a 20 liter container of saline fertilizer which is not organic. When you break it down, it's not really cheaper, but it's easier because you don't have to do anything, you get rid of it. Much of this material is lost in surface runoff which bleaches streams, ”said Schultz.
As legalization expands, growers no longer have to hide their crops in the mountains and energy-hungry warehouses, and consumers demand more natural and sustainable cultivation methods.
“It's really easy to be organic if you put your heart into it, do a little research and talk to people. It's simple and much more respectful of the environment and the consumer. "