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Oregon Buds: Sustainable Cannabis Cultivation with Eco Firma Farms

If you’re looking for social responsibility in the cannabis market, Jesse Peters is your guy.

Happy Monday, Buds! And welcome to our 22nd episode. This week we brought on Jesse Peters, co-founder and CEO of Eco Firma Farms. If you’re not familiar with Eco Firma, that should change soon because they are back from a year-long hiatus during which they built out their cultivation facility to drastically surpass any environmental standards set before them. Find the full episode on iTunes, Libsyn, and anywhere else you enjoy your podcasts!

Founded in 2012, Eco Firma Farms has always been on a mission to improve and legitimize the cannabis industry. Whether it’s creating sustainable and carbon-neutral growing practices, or lobbying for legalization, chances are Jesse has something to do with it. He helped to found the Oregon Growers’ PAC and the Oregon Cannabis Association, both of which are bringing the industry together to influence rulemaking in a way that allows our community to continue to grow and thrive.

Deciding to shutter the doors for an extended period of time in order to make positive changes would be terrifying for any business, but in the Oregon cannabis market the stakes are even higher. That didn’t stop Jesse from carrying out what he knew to be the sustainable choice - becoming the first farm in Oregon to use 100% wind power. In 2017, Eco Firma Farms became Green Mountain Energy Gold Certified for their exclusive use of wind energy. This year, they are on track to reach Platinum Certification. Their next step? Transitioning to solar energy. Eco Firma is already approved for a grant from the Energy Trust of Oregon that will help to offset costs of installation. The farm plans to produce more energy than they will need to operate, allowing them to sell the excess energy back to the state.

It’s very clear from hearing Jesse speak that his drive to do good comes from a deep-rooted passion for cannabis. After all, Eco Firma Farms began as a small husband-and-wife Medical Marijuana operation that was focused on bringing high quality medicine to their patients. Jesse’s wife, Kate Guptill, is the Vice President of Operations and Finance at Eco Firma Farms and still enjoys spending time in the gardens as a cultivator when she can. It’s always been a family affair for Jesse, whose parents were hobbyist growers who raised him in an environment of cannabis being extremely normalized. When asked what the future holds, Jesse filled us in on his plans to expand to Maine, and a peaking interest in the Nevada and California markets where they are open to expanding the Eco Firma brand or to work with other established brands to further the idea that environmental friendliness is important to the reputation of our industry.

Community plays a big part in the success of our industry as a whole, and Jesse hopes to see cannabis business in general continue to grow - to grow so big, in fact, that the lobbying power shifts to our favor. In that case, he makes a great point: how great would it be to see giant cannabis companies use their big-business influence to push for positive change in the agricultural market? Some examples thrown out were to label all pesticides used to spray our food crops, and banning GMOs altogether. There's still a long road ahead, but the groups and associations that Jesse has been a part of are certainly going in the right direction.

We are so grateful to Jesse and Eco Firma Farms for fighting the good fight and for taking the time to share with us about it! This was such an educational episode which we always love to do, we hope you take some time to listen to Jesse’s thoughts because there was no way to cover it all here! Find the episode on iTunes, Libsyn, Castbox, Stitcher, PlayerFM, and anywhere else you enjoy your podcasts! Have a great week, Buds!

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