The many geographical regions and micro-climates on the North Coast create a varied set of circumstances and conditions for farms and their farmers. Each region brings much to the table; the friendly rivalry creates an exceptional give-and-take that promotes industry-wide best practices as we all level up together.
The overall quality of sungrown cannabis (specifically in the processing of such) has increased dramatically in the last 10 years; this is at least partially due to the “fake rivalry” we maintain. Mendo-Humboldt-Trinity emulates many American industries; a three-party oligopoly that controls most of the market. The trouble happened when a soulless culture of middlemen splintered our people to gobble up obscene profit margins.
We need to maintain our friendly rivalry with fun competitions like the Golden Tarp and the Emerald Cup, while at the same time solidifying our culture so that we turn this thing back into a seller’s market. In the last five years, we’ve seen buyers effectively divide and conquer our people by telling us one of two things: “Your neighbor’s weed is cheaper,” or, “Your neighbor’s weed is better”. Playing us off against each other in our desperation to make payments on our monocrop reality, buyers use growers like pawns.
Now is our time to come together in self-support of our culture and values. As a group of skilled farmers growing a large, long-season annual with very specific processing steps, we’re one small step from diversifying our product lines and crop portfolios. We accomplish these goals by coming together as community to share in the benefits of self-supportive local economies.
If I raise vegetables and trade them for meat, both parties get something without involving dollars, stores, government, or middlemen. As we emerge from the shadows of prohibition, we build these local relationships. This creates the frameworks for genuine community, so that we can say confidently to the buyer, “I stand with my neighbors and we will not be pushed.”