Emerald in Oakland

Meet Your Farmer

By Laura Matise

Flow Kana and the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association teamed up to provide an evening of farm-to-table cannabis at the Oakland Cannabis Creative – the nation’s first cannabis space dedicated to community and social consumption. All the proceeds went to support the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association (ICFA) whose mission is to empower traditional cannabis farmers through education, research and advocacy. The sponsors for the event were all sustainable, sun grown cannabis farms, and farming collectives, including Flow Kana, Humboldt’s Finest, Emerald Grown, Redwood Roots, True Humboldt, and Moon Made Farms. All sponsors provided samples of their sun-grown flower to guests who mingled amongst the tables meeting farmers and learning about the importance of sustainable cannabis farming practices.

Tina Gordon, who is also a board member of the ICFA, represented moon Made Farms. Tina is passionate about sustainable farming, and views herself as a steward of the land. All of Moon Made Farm’s cannabis is grown from seeds, using sunlight, rainwater, and organic farming practices. As a member of the ICFA board, Tina emphasizes the importance of educating cannabis consumers on ecological protection.

Humboldt’s Finest was represented by CEO Joey Shepp. The company is devoted to sustainability right down to their packaging, which is compostable. In addition to their thoughtful packaging, Humboldt’s Finest grows their cannabis using light deprivation greenhouses, and harvested rainwater. As a second generation cannabis farmer, Joey still remembers the raids, secrecy and sirens that plagued his parents as well as other local farmers. Now that cannabis has gained more mainstream acceptance, Joey is able to connect with his consumers and share the values of Humboldt County growers. Joey tells me that Humboldt’s Finest support’s ICFA because it is important for sun grown farmers to have a voice in advocacy, and because he believes in the importance of farmers connecting with their growers to understand how their cannabis was farmed.

Redwood Roots is a collective of 29 independently operated farms who are currently making the transition to commercial sun-grown cannabis farming. Holly Carter, a representative of Redwood Roots is passionate about a farmer’s duty to be a steward to his or her land. Holly tells me that “people are not stewards for warehouses the same way they are stewards for the land that their children will play on.” She goes on to say, “what is good for the land is important. We cannot use this plant to heal our bodies and our minds while poisoning the land around us.” Redwood Roots supports the ICFA because they believe in a collaborative voice for farmers and patients advocating for regulations in favor of sustainable farming.

​The International Cannabis Farmer’s Association is comprised of scientists, stakeholders and supporters who are committed to best agricultural practices, the promotion of sun-grown cannabis and the preservation of traditional farming methods. The ICFA advances the argument that despite overwhelming evidence that traditionally farmed sun-grown cannabis is both better for the environment, and of the highest quality, regulations often require that cannabis be grown indoors or in all-season greenhouses. The ICFA states that this policy trend has had devastating ecological consequences, and leaves the consumer without access to traditionally farmed goods.

To achieve its mission, the ICFA has undertaken three main initiatives. First is to research and develop sun-grown industry standards that address best practices to reduce ecological impact, and to standardize the quality of traditionally farmed sun grown cannabis.  To do this, the ICFA has undertaken an environmental study asking farmers, especially sun-grown farmers, to self report on their inputs, water usage, electricity usage, wastes, etc.  They’re also working to develop appellations of origin by conducting an international feasibility study and bioregional mapping. Additionally, the association is developing standards for grading and sorting sun-grown cannabis.  

Secondly, the ICFA is working to educate farmers, consumers and policymakers about the quality and ecological superiority of sun-grown cannabis. In order to support this mission, the ICFA works to develop compliance programs for farmers, sustainability and best agricultural practice programs, regulatory and advocacy toolkits, and finally consumer direct education programs.

Third and last, the association advocates for increased access to traditionally farmed sun-grown cannabis, and the preservation of these traditional farming communities. In support of this, the ICFA establishes regional chapters around the world, lobbies for responsible public policy, and raises public awareness about the benefits of sun-grown crops.

The ICFA is advancing sustainable farming and ecological protection at a time when our environment is in more danger than ever. The large and supportive turnout this event received points to ICFA’s successes on the educational front. As consumer demand for organic and sustainably farmed produce continues to rise, one can clearly imagine how the consumer will soon look for the same qualities in his or her cannabis, especially with education and advocacy from the ICFA.


For more information on the International Cannabis Farmer’s Association, visit ICFA.farm

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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