Sustainable Cannabis Growers to Watch

 by GEORGE GOTT 6 months ago in CULTURE

Sustainable cannabis growers are doing their part to "Go Green."

Don't Panic It's Organic

A real fear for many is the catastrophic scenario –our ocean levels rising, plants and animals dying off– all attributed to global warming. One of the first steps to fight global warming is to become more ecologically sustainable. Sustainability in agriculture is defined as the ability to maintain a balance of our ecosystem and how humans impact the environment. Cannabis growers are on the front lines of the sustainability movement. Many sustainable cannabis growers are members of the 'Agriculture Green Movement' aiming to cut down on carbon footprints. These growers are striving to preserve natural ecological processes, functions, biodiversity while using man made technology, aiming to do less harm to our Earth. True cannabis connoisseurs understand the importance of keeping things natural, particularly the plant they love so much. Just like the consumers of cannabis, these growers understand the importance of keeping things natural as well, which is why they are making strides to make cannabis cultivation more ecologically friendly. By reducing manmade carbon footprints cannabis growers are going green.

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Shelton-Tacoma’s Forbidden Farms is Willie Nelson approved

A close-up look at Forbidden Farms' marijuana growing operation in Shelton and the processing facility on the Tacoma Tideflats. Owned by the Balduff brothers Garrett and Taylor, the premium producer even supplies cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson. Steve Bloom and Drew Perine sbloom@theolympian.com, dperine@thenewstribune.com

BY CRAIG SAILOR
csailor@thenewstribune.com

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A Shelton- and Tacoma-based pot business is now growing marijuana for Willie’s Reserve, the brand launched by country music star and cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson.

It’s another major twist in the South Sound company’s story, which was run out of one county only to be embraced by another.

Brothers Taylor and Garrett Balduff are the owners of the cannabis operation called Forbidden Farms. They grow their cannabis in Mason County, near Shelton, and process it on Tacoma’s Tideflats.

“To get an endorsement from an American icon is pretty awesome,” Taylor said.

The brothers smoked some of their Maui Wowie strain with Nelson backstage July 23 at his Marymoor Park concert.

“He was a fan,” Taylor said. “He liked it most definitely.”

Nelson is selling his brand, to which the Balduff brothers are contributors, in various Washington pot shops. Forbidden Farms is one of three in Washington listed as growers for Willie’s Reserve.

To get Nelson’s approval, an inspection team visited the farm in early 2016.

“They were absolutely blown away with what we were doing,” Taylor said. The team was impressed with the natural light the brothers use to grow their cannabis while still maintaining top quality.

Taylor, 32, manages the processing operation. Garrett, 35, manages the farm. They employ 18 workers. Both brothers and employees switch between the two sites as needed.

“It’s the new American Dream,” Garrett said. “Working together, owning our own business. It’s a new industry, and we were able to get our foot in the door.”

Co-owners Taylor, left, and Garrett Balduff inspect some of the approximately 300 marijuana plants hanging to dry in the Forbidden Farms processing facility on the Tacoma Tideflats on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Drew Perine dperine@thenewstribune.com

STARTING UP

The Balduffs grew up in Bonney Lake and Buckley. Taylor worked in property management while Garrett worked in home remodeling. Both dabbled with collective marijuana gardens before taking on cannabis full time.

It wasn’t easy getting off the ground.

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