“Organic” is more than a marketing buzzword. People are realizing the impact of the quality of products they put into their bodies—whether as food or medicine—and are making buying decisions that are best for their health. This often includes choosing organic products whenever possible.
Organic doesn’t just apply to food; it also applies to products in the cleaning, fashion, and cannabis industries. For Rebel Spirit, organic is a way of life and a way of doing business. Organic reaches beyond the label and impacts everything from Rebel Spirit’s soil to our sustainability practices and more.
In this series, we’ve covered a few of these topics as it is broken into three parts:
This section will cover “Organic growing”. You can read about our insights into “Soil health” and “Sustainability” by clicking the links in the list. We recommend that you read them all. Knowing about these aspects of cannabis will inform not only your cannabis consumption choices but also your choices as a produce (fruit & vegetable) consumer.
We’ll do our best to answer all your questions about sustainability but if we missed something, please leave a comment below and we’ll add your questions and our answers to this piece to make it a more comprehensive resource for you.
What does “organic” mean?
“Organic” means natural and coming from the earth. This excludes synthetic products. While the USDA Certified Organic program cannot be applied legally to cannabis until we achieve federal legalization Rebel Spirit’s products are organic in every way except for the USDA stamp.
At Rebel Spirit, being organic is a big part of our identity. We care about the land, our product, and the health of our consumers. Those values govern our commitment to being organic.
Why did Rebel Spirit choose to grow organic?
Rebel Spirit is based in Oregon and its founders are Oregonians. They try to live organic lives, and so being organic is woven into the base of Rebel Spirit culture.
Oregonians value organically produced goods. In addition, they are generally mindful of their overall environmental impact. They often choose to eat organic foods and to purchase organic products. Therefore, Oregon businesses such as Rebel Spirit are incentivized to give consumers the organic products that they want.
Growing organically means creating a product that truly comes from the earth. It’s going to have the best flavor, the purest terpenes, and the most natural effects for our consumers.
Both to align with our values and to serve our original market, Rebel Spirit has been, and always will be, organic from seed to sale.
How does growing organic impact Rebel Spirit’s grow process?
We make organic and organic makes us. Organic starts with our soil. We mix all of our own soil, which includes organic, locally-sourced chicken manure. We take pains to ensure that the animals that produce the manure have been fed organically for their entire lives. This organic manure positively affects our soil’s health, our grow processes, and ultimately, our products.
If our plants have pests such as mites, we use organic remedies to control those pests.
To respect our organic ethos, we never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Being a fully organic cannabis producer does affect our growing practices in challenging ways. Organically grown plants often grow more slowly and mature at smaller sizes. In addition, growing organically is more laborious. At the same time, the incredible quality of our product reflects the extra care and hard work we put into producing organic cannabis that ranks among the best.
What is the impact of not growing organically?
Here’s the difference: we feed the soil, which feeds the plants, whereas growers who use chemical fertilizers feed the plants, which in turn deplete the soil.
Chemical fertilizers work by encouraging the plant to suck every nutrient from the soil, and they do a good job of that. That’s why chemically fertilized plants grow so fast and come to be outsized. The end result, however, is that the soil is depleted in this process, so the grower needs to use even more chemical fertilizer to get the same results in the next crop. This process ends with the life having been literally drained from the soil. Furthermore, the chemicals and chelates present in non-organic fertilizers are toxic to microbes and leach into water systems.
On the other hand, we do everything we can to nourish our soil, to keep it alive and robustly healthy. Then the soil gives what it can to the plant, which takes only what it needs. The end result is a plant grown on nature’s timeline to a natural size, and soil that is as alive in the fall as it was in the spring.
When it comes to pest remedies, chemical pesticides are simply poison. The ones that have been approved for use on cannabis are chemicals that the Department of Agriculture claim won’t hurt humans. Use of these pesticides can create super-pests through the process of mutation that makes them resistant to pesticides, which in turn necessitates the use of more powerful pesticides. And the environmental disaster wrought by DDT should be enough to give us all pause when it comes to the unintended consequences of using chemical pesticides.
Rebel Spirit employs all-natural pest remedies. When we started our farm years ago, we populated it with a ladybug colony that is self-sustaining and feasts on aphids and mites. In addition, we mix our own pest-repellent sprays that contain organic rosemary, oregano, and mint oils. A visitor to our greenhouses and fields will find a healthy ecosystem of spiders, frogs, snakes, and mice.
At Rebel Spirit, we live in harmony with nature for the health of our consumers and the health of our planet.
What is the impact of organic cannabis on the consumer’s health?
While we are not doctors, we firmly believe that consuming random chemicals and pesticides is not good for your health.
The health benefits that people get and the highs that they achieve for recreation are directly tied to the quality of the cannabis they are consuming.
The attributes of cannabis cannot be divorced from the level and variety of terpenes and cannabinoids that are in the plant itself, which come from living, organic soil.
We believe this so wholeheartedly that everything from our hand mixed soil to our homemade compost teas is organic and sustainably sourced.
Does growing sustainably and organically make cannabis more expensive to the consumer?
Actually, no! In Oregon, organically grown cannabis and that grown with chemicals fetch about the same price at dispensaries.
Since it is more profitable to grow cannabis by using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, most farms do not grow organically or sustainably. And they are reaping the profits.
But at what cost?
Rebel Spirit sacrifices a portion of its bottom line to grow organically and sustainably. Being organic, sustainable, and healthy for our consumers and our planet is simply part of who Rebel Spirit is. The future of our planet and our consumers’ health are more important to us than making the hugest profits.