Conscious Cannabis Cultivation

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The Emerald Exchange (EmEx) Farmer’s Market 2017 is the benchmark for the conscious cannabis cultivation and consumption movement which strives to educate, medicate and inspire a new vision for holistic health and wellness.  

The most impressive aspect of the EmEx community is the energy they create when they come together as one family voice. From growers, healers, activists, artists, scientists, industry professionals and consumers, each person speaks of Mary Jane with the highest reverence and respect for “her” medicine.  

“The quality of the cannabinoids found in a plant directly correlates to the quality of the growing environment,” explains Emerald Exchange co-founder Justin Calvino, who also founded The Mendocino Project.

He speaks of his relationship with her healing medicine: “Growing outdoors using natural sunlight instead of indoor grows with artificial grow lights; using composted soil which cultivates symbiotic organisms versus manufactured soils and synthetic additives; natural pest control as opposed to pesticides. All this makes a difference in the quality of her cannabinoid and terpene expression,” says Calvino. “Treat her right and she’ll treat you right.”

Tall cannabis plants are everywhere at the EmEx festival. She flanks each vendor booth, speakers’ stage, food trucks, wellness village and kiosks. The uplifting, yet chill energy of Mary Jane is ever present and palpable—even without any medication in one’s system.

Regenerative agriculture, conscious farming practices and holistic land stewardship are keywords at EmEx where enthusiasts understand the importance of a no-till or minimal tillage farming policy to promote soil fertility. Use of cover crops, crop rotations, compost, animal manures and well-managed grazing practices increase soil fertility, insect and plant biodiversity and soil carbon sequestration.

Like growing grape varietals for wine, cannabis strains pick up the quality and characteristics of the terroir method of farming and climate. In the Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Sonoma and Humboldt, water conservation is not quite as critical as it is in Southern California.  

“If you want to learn about dry farming techniques for desert climates, you should research Moroccan grows,” says Sunshine Johnston, owner with husband Eric Johnston of Sunboldt Farms in Redcrest, California.

“I’ve been growing for some 30-odd years,” she says. “Growing on top of one-yard compost pits builds favorable organic bacteria and helps to retain water.”  

Sunboldt Farms is a cooperative that grows cannabis sustainably and are all about serving the community. Johnston is a member of the Southern Humboldt Community Alliance and hosts a monthly talk show on KMUD community radio where she covers all things cannabis. “Quality and integrity of experience through growing with sun and soil yields a euphoric farm-to-table experience,” she smiles.  At Sunboldt they eat the leaves in salads, juice the bud, make all kinds of infusions. “We eat, drink and smoke the finest cannabis in Humboldt,” Johnston boasts.

For preserving water in dry chaparral, try the Tree T Pee invented by a humble non-cannabis tree farmer    Johnny Georges, who took his invention to the Shark Tank to find an investor. His simple device is made of recycled plastic and helps farmers across the country conserve water when using irrigation. In Georges’ own tree farm his water usage has dropped from 25,000 gallons per year to 800 gallons per year.  Georges was not interested in making a big profit from his invention. His heart stayed true to wanting to help farmers support their families.

Thanks to Jean Paul of Paul Mitchel hair products who recognized Georges farming as the backbone of America, he backed Georges vision. See? Not all investors are greedy.

Dianne Porchia is a holistic health and wellness practitioner who works with many advance stage cancer clients using principles and practice of mind-body medicine to support immune function. She is researching medicinal cannabinoids in response to client inquiries. Contact: (310) 455-2851;;


By Dianne Porchia


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