Dubbed as the industry's most comprehensive educational event, dedicated to small and large scale farmers and green conscious enthusiasts, the Cultivation Classic Conference in Oregon takes place during May 17-18th this year. As a center of information and learning about genetic profiling, greenhouse management, and understanding business concepts, HSO sat down with one of the public speakers Bio-Vortex. Part of the Humboldt Seed Organization, we find out more about the event as well as his work as an organic specialist.
By Stoney Tark
How would you best explain the Cultivation Classic Conference to someone who has never been to it?
Cultivation Classic is a Cannabis Cup that uses the platform to bring science in the fields of medicine, genetics, and environmental cultivation practices to the Cannabis community and the greater public. Experts in these fields come from around the world to share with the community and to celebrate this most interesting, sacred, and healing plant. The flower contest itself is used as an opportunity to explore genotype, chemotype, and phenotype. Each entry is tested for a large array of cannabinoids and terpenes by Cascadia Labs. These Analytics are used to further explore the healing powers of cannabis. Each winner is mapped into the Phylos Bioscience galaxy through genetic analysis.
The Phylos Galaxy is a DNA map of cannabis featuring thousands of varieties from over 80 countries. It can be used to better understand the identity, ancestry, evolution in genetic relationships of the cannabis plant. The event connects this world of cannabis science with the culture of Oregon craft production in ways that are pushing cannabis medicine and art forward. The competition also uses the flower judging to further medical research and data collection on effects and constancy through the work of Dr. Adie Poe | Co-Founder, Habu Health. The event also covers ethics, community, business, culture, and environmental practices through its speakers and workshops.
This year the Cultivation Classic honored farms with the Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award for having outstanding environmental practices in the way they cultivate, manage land, and work with the community.
How large is the event and how did you get involved with public speaking?
The event houses 1000 people and has sold out all three years. About 5 years or so. I started by doing compost workshops. I have a deep love for soil and all of its beautiful biology. In this global crises of climate change the one thing that can sequester all that out of balance carbon is the relationship between plants and soil biology, we need to promote the building of living soil if we want to survive on this planet.
These workshops led to other events wanting me to do presentations. Even got asked to do a presentation and workshop in the hills of San Sebastian with the HSO crew. We built compost with local farmers that was studied by the University of the Basque country and resulted in amazing hummus-rich compost with a stunningly high organic matter percentage. Living in Humboldt, I saw a need in the cannabis community to start adapting to better, more permaculture-based practices both for the environment and watersheds, as well as surviving the new competitive and regulated business world by saving costs, increasing efficiency, and being beyond complaint.
I also saw a need for those farms to tell their story and for the public to support the farms that are working to heal the planet. So I took on speaking at cannabis events like the Emerald Cup and Cultivation Classic to promote these ideas.
Can you tell us which guest speakers attended last year?
There were a lot of great speakers. A few highlights for me were Nitzan Solan, who spoke with power and presence about medical cultivation in Israel. She spoke about environmentally thoughtful production mixed with extreme control of production for medical consistency. Ryan Lee, who spoke about Breeding Cannabis for Chemical Profiles. It was fascinating and filled with amazing data collection of information that can help guide medical breeding projects. I was devastated when he ran out of time and the presentation was cut short. Luckily we got to get beers together the following day.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer, US House of Representatives, discussed the rapidly changing federal and national landscape of cannabis legalization and how we get this over the finish line. Beth Schechter, who spoke about the Open Cannabis Project. Open Cannabis Project's mission is to protect the cannabis plant – along with breeders, farmers, and patients – from overreaching patents. A key component of this work is to collect as much evidence of prior art about the cannabis plant as possible, which is what OCP's database is built to do. In this workshop, we'll cover the basics of how the patent system works, walk you through this new database, and discuss ways to share cannabis lab data with the project. Most importantly, we'll hear your questions regarding open data, data security, the patent system, and anything else related to creating a future where cannabis breeders and farmers can grow their favorite cultivars without fearing a patent-related cease-and-desist. Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe, habu health; Amanda Rieman, Ph.D., Flow Kana; Philippe Lucas, Ph.D. (C), Tilray. The opioid epidemic is the worst public health crisis in US history.
Fortunately, there is a simple yet underutilized tool at our disposal: cannabis. Join us as we discuss the role of cannabis as a pain-relieving substitute for opioids and a powerful tool to combat drug abuse. Toward a New Taxonomy - Adie Wilson-Poe, Ph.D., habu health; Jeremy Plumb, Farma & Prūf Cultivar; Jeremy Sackett, Cascadia Labs; Mowgli Holmes, and Phylos Bioscience. For the first time, consumers have the ability to navigate the profound diversity of cannabis and begin to have a far more useful and personalized relationship with this plant. At the core of Cultivation Classic is a passionate collaboration between friends and scientists who are all working to rigorously measure chemistry, genetics, resource use, and the effects associated with the ancient plant. This panel seeks to creatively share those insights with the world.
What is Biovortex?
Biovortex is a living conceptual art piece utilizing the mediums of gardening, soil building, breeding, photography, writing, imagination, social media, conversions, and presentations with the goal of influencing the cannabis industry in the direction of a profitable and environmentally regenerative future. It's my hope that, through the development of restoration cannabis farms, we can create tremendous economic growth while having a positive impact on the environment.
By building living soils and creating on-site nutrition we reduce costs and waste while sequestering carbon and improving the quality of medicine. Through protracted and thoughtful observation, Cannabis farms have the power to be a part of rebuilding healthy, native and biodiverse habitats and watersheds. It is my belief that if we build regenerative Cannabis farms that are immensely profitable, the rest of agriculture and business will have to take note. I truly believe that the way we grow Cannabis has the ability to influence the world in a direction much more conducive to our survival, as a species, on this planet. If the rest of the agricultural adopted regenerative restoration and soil building techniques, we could potentially stop climate change within a decade and solve most of our health problems while we produce higher quality food and medicine.
What exactly do you talk about when you are on stage?
Well, last year through my project Biovortex and in partnership with Hightide Permaculture, we presented the Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award. The Award is designed to honor, promote and tell the stories of the farms that are cultivating in a way that is healthy and healing for their environment and community. We honored Green Source Gardens and Pilot farms: the winners. Both farms are sun-grown from seed who build living native soil to grow pure medicine. Please check out their websites to learn more.
This award has also been featured at the Emerald Cup for the last two years. We spoke about the importance of the regenerative agriculture movement and about the process of selecting the winner. Each farm applies by filling out an application. We then review the applications, pick our finalists and conduct site visits. After surveying the land and discussing the many aspects of cultivation, land management, and community work with the farmer, we grade the farm using a matrix we created to asses and objectively rate environmental impacts. We also incorporate the power score tool created by the Resource Innovation Institute gage energy use efficiency. The matrix is ever evolving and being finely tuned after every farm visit. To learn more, check out our website regenerativecannabisfarming.org, featuring info on practices, farms, the past winners, and a bunch of cool articles, videos, radio shows, book recommendations. Also check out the Emerald Cup for this year's Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award talks, panels, and presentation December 15-16.
You have been described by your colleagues as a specialist in organic growing. How long have you been growing organically and what is your involvement with Humboldt Seed Organization?
My whole life. both my parents practice organic gardening. I was pretty much brought up peeing in a compost pile. I have been close friends with the founders of HSO since before the beginning. We are pretty much brothers that love the shit out of each other and get excited about fun projects all over the world. Living in Humboldt, we have been breeding and growing and building soil together for years. I created Biovortex as a conceptual art piece utilizing the mediums of gardening, soil building, breeding, photography, writing, imagination, social media, conversions, and presentations, with the goal of influencing the cannabis industry in the direction of a profitable and environmentally regenerative future.
Through Humboldt Seeds, we have promoted these ideas as well as genetics. A little over a year ago, we released Black D.O.G as a Biovortex cultivar. This selection of a Blackberry Kush x (Cali Sour D x Lemon OG) was really special so, after growing it and loving it for years, we decided to release it to the world. For the last 6 years, we have continued to cross and backcross her giving birth to all kinds of wonders. Last year, Black D.O.G. won cup after cup, especially in the non-solvent hash categories. Check out #blackdogkush on Instagram to see how people are growing her all over the world. I really love to see how many people really put care into the way Black D.O.G. is grown. It has really been adopted by the living soils and the organic cannabis community.
Do you have any tips for growers who wish to learn about No-Till growing, and what is your experience with organic compost tea?
Yes. Plants grow best with healthy balanced and diverse biology. I encourage people to cultivate with polyculture as well as biodiverse soil. Cover cropping, mulching, composting, and companion planting are the best ways to achieve nutrition, health, resistance, and pest management. It is about balance and working with nature; not against it. I have a lot of experience with compost tea. I find myself using it less and less because the soil is the ultimate tea brewer and it is best to build your soil and microbial life in cultivation sites through compost building, polyculture, cover cropping, hugelkultur, mulching, worms, and animal integration.
That being said, compost tea is a great way to build high microbial populations out of small amounts of good-quality compost through food and aeration. I believe compost tea is an invaluable tool for indoor growers and outdoor growers who are just starting to build up their soil biology. I encourage people to keep it simple and use a lot of air using holes and pipes (not stones), high-quality compost and/or worm castings, as well as quality complex food sources like kelp and fish. Make sure to clean the brewer after every use.
I also like to build and use air lift vortex brewers for some of the biodynamic preparations. Where is the best place for somebody to learn about organic growing? To learn more about organic and regenerative cultivation, check out our website regenerativecannabisfarming.org. It features info on practices, farms, the past winners and a bunch of cool articles, videos, radio shows, book recommendations.
Do you have a social media page our readers can follow you on, and where can readers go to find out more about the Cultivation Classic Conference 2019?
Yes, I use Instagram and you can follow my art project @biovortex and learn more about the Cultivation Classic visiting cultivationclassic.cc.