November 26, 2020 • 44:06 minutes

#122 – Farming hemp for the first time with Len Mackey of SHIMA HILL HEMP FARM

Len Mackey is the owner of Shima Hill Hemp Farm, a small-scale hemp farm near Canton in New York. Len also offers ancient Earth skills classes, little tracker homeschool programming and wellness courses at local universities and on the farm.

Show Notes

After a short break, we return to guest Len Mackey of Shima Hill Hemp Farm located in Canton, New York

Hemp: the newest addition to the world of small scale farming.  Curious what all the buzz is about?  What’s it like to grow this crop that is basically the same as cannabis… but legal? Join us to find out. 

We discuss Len’s spiritual approach to small scale hemp farming along with shifting community attitudes around cannabis and more. 

Highlights

  • Getting started in hemp farming
  • Hemp farming techniques
  • The connection with spiritual wellness
  • Cannabis, culture, and community
  • Hemp theft and security issues
  • The market for hemp flower

Links of Interest

To get in touch with Len, you can email him at [email protected] and visit his YouTube channel Ancient Earth Skills

Summary Keywords

hemp, plants, cannabis, garden, farm, land, grow, cbd, people, field, friends, buckwheat, year, farmer, farming, started, community, flour, new york

Speakers

Jenn Procacci – Host, CBD School Podcast
Len Mackey – Owner of Shima Hill Hemp Farm

Podcast Transcript

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • THE BEGINNING: TENDING THE SOIL
  • Hemp FARMING TECHNIQUES
  • SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
  • CANNABIS, COMMUNITY AND CULTURE
  • Hemp Theft and Security Issues
  • THE MARKET FOR HEMP FLOWER
  • WRAP-UP AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Introduction

Jenn  00:10

Welcome to CBD School. I’m your host, Jenn Procacci. Thanks for listening today. I’ve got a great guest with me here today, Len Mackey. He is the farmer at Shima Hill Hemp Farm. And we’re going to be talking all about his experience as a first time hemp farmer. But before we get started with that, I just want to let you know that if you think the CBD School Podcast sounds great, thanks the guys at The Base Sound Creations. Whether you’re thinking about getting into podcasting or you already have a show, I highly recommend getting in touch with them. They’ll help you with sound editing and mixing, publishing, even distribution, promotion, branding, content analysis, tech support, and basically every other production aspect you could imagine. They can really take your show to a whole new level of quality and visibility. You can email them at [email protected] Making sure to use the coupon code MYPODCASTNOW to get a free 30-minute consultation. For more information, visit thebasesound.com and start podcasting the right way now. 

All right. I’ve got Len Mackey here with me today. He is a highly motivated, adaptable and spiritual individual who has been growing the sacred cannabis in small secret gardens from the age of 15. They’ll be turning 40 on the 20th Yup, he’s a Scorpio. Len currently runs Shima Hill Hemp Farm outside of Canton, New York, and offers ancient Earth skills classes, little tracker homeschool programming and wellness courses at local universities and on the farm. These include programs such as feral human outdoor fitness, yoga, corrective exercise and personal training, ninjutsu, and West African drum and dance. 

In previous incarnations, he was a professional wedding photographer, exotic dancer, ballroom, teacher, Reiki practitioner, and modern dance accompanist. Either he is a renaissance man or he just has ADD. He’s not sure which. As a northern New York native, he grew up getting stung by honeybees in the family garden and playing in the woods — hunting, fishing, trapping and talking with the Earth Spirits. As an artist, he has been the recipient of art start and decentralization grants provided by New York State by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council for six years now, offering music performance and cultural education. He is the founder of the YouTube channel Ancient Earth Skills – Len Mackey and Song of the Spheres, Inc., a multimedia company specializing in education and entertainment for children of all ages. Find him on Instagram @ancientearthskills. All right, Len, are you here with us today?

Len  03:06

I am here in one form or another.

Jenn  03:09

Great, thanks so much for taking the time to join me. And as we get started today, I just wanted to ask you to share with our listeners, what is your personal relationship to cannabis?

Len  03:20

Well, I’ve been interacting with that beautiful plant since I was a teenager, using it for recreational purposes to relax, to pray, to give offerings in the morning. And first started growing it when I was just a lad there, about 15 and, you know, always had a grand adventure, sneaking out to my little gardens and trying to leave not a trace or a track. So it’s been quite an adventure going from that kind of relationship to the one I am in now, which is a legal farm here in New York, growing hemp, CBD and CBG hemp. So it has been absolutely the greatest pleasure, not filled with blood, sweat and tears, of course, but lots of joy, working through this process and actually being able to grow the wonderful plant out in the open field with the irrigation and all the fertilizer and love that I could possibly put upon her. So it’s been a wonderful dance with this plant. And you know, it’s helped me in so many ways. I can’t even really count them. So I have a lot of gratitude for cannabis. That is for sure. 

THE BEGINNING: TENDING THE SOIL

Jenn  04:39

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. I do as well. So we definitely have that in common. So you mentioned that you’ve cultivated cannabis before. But how did you get started with hemp farming? Is this something you thought you would ever do?

Len  04:52

It’s kind of interesting, actually. I was living in an intentional community called Birdsfoot Farm not far from here, just probably half mile down the road, where I met a wonderful fellow named Phil Hosking, who is the man who owns the land here and as my farming partner. And Phil has been cultivating medicinal cannabis for a number of years in California, and, you know, had enough success to be able to buy the farm here. So it’s kind of like a prayer answered actually. Because the previous landowner, I’ve been hunting here and doing bird habitat projects sponsored by Audubon Society and stuff to develop the land for different species. And the previous landowner was actually planning to log the forest and I didn’t have the money to buy the land. So I was, like, please, you know, whatever you’re called, stop this, whatever. Just make it so this doesn’t occur. And so it wasn’t. A few months after that, Phil ended up buying the land. And he knew that I had been gardening for a while, and we had a good relationship while he was visiting there with a girlfriend of his. So we immediately developed a wonderful rapport, and then a couple years go by, and he’s like, “Hey, Len, you want to grow some hemp?” I’m like, “Well, let me think about it.” And honestly, you know, I didn’t have to think about it that long. Because it was more like a dream coming true than anything, because I’d always wished that it was perfectly legal for me to cultivate cannabis. And now it is here in New York. So I am truly blessed. 

Jenn  06:38

Oh, that’s a wonderful and heartwarming story you shared with us just there. Thank you. So it sounds like you have a pretty strong connection to the land that you work on. And how does that connection that you have with the land inform your farming practices?

Len  06:53

Definitely in every way that I can try to be a caretaker of the land, the soil. This year, we experimented with a variety of methods of no-till farming, as well as some till and cover cropping for the University of Vermont experiment that surveyed different cover crop methods. So you know, basically trying to make as little impact as possible. And actually, you know, over time, if there’s a way to find ways to improve the soil, to improve the local forest, with a little tracker program, we planted probably over 500 black walnut seeds so far, teaching the kids about primary, secondary and tertiary directions. Like “Okay, let’s chuck walnuts to the east, to the south, to the west, to the north, you know, so trying to find fun ways to enrich the land here for future generations in the hemp field and in the surrounding environment, you know, bird habitat, and, you know, lots of nuts for the squirrels and for the humans as well, hopefully, in the future. So that’s kind of what really motivates me more than just loving farming and watching things grow and tending to the soil and seeing the fruits of our labors in a direct way. But hoping to, you know, pass something good on to the next one’s coming up.

Jenn  08:25

That’s really wonderful. It sounds like stewarding the land and also involving the community were definitely goals of yours with this project. Did you have any other goals that you hopefully realized, or perhaps didn’t? 

Len  08:38

Well, I guess, you know, lots of little goals and big goals and just starting the farm here from scratch. And first, okay, I got to build a greenhouse, got some recycled parts. Okay, how can I put this together, so it’s like one day at a time facing the little challenges, like blow ups in the irrigation on a hot day when the hose was not running and fixing it with a piece of an old didgeridoo, you know. Finding those challenges along the way are fun and good to navigate. But I’m hoping ultimately that through all this, that we can actually make a very successful farm here. And you know, I have loads of student debt from my studies in Rochester Institute of Technology studying photography. So if I could eliminate that, oh, well, that would just be amazing. And really, I guess, living life with the intent to create medicine and things that feed the people in a number of manners, you know, a variety of ways, from just food and the fiber and also things to eliminate their pain or help them sleep or, you know, regulate their emotions or whatever it may be. That makes me really happy. And so that way, you know, when it’s my time to feed the garden, I can die a happy man, I suppose. 

Jenn  10:09

That’s wonderful. So was this the first farming project that you took on by yourself? It sounds like you did some farming before at the intentional community perhaps. And you know, it sounds like you’ve had your cannabis secret gardens out there. But is this your first sort of larger scale solo farming project?

Len  10:25

Yeah, this is my first full on commercial farming endeavor. So it definitely upscale everything. And, you know, growing up, we had a garden and I had strawberries and beans. And, you know, we always hunted for food. And so I’ve always had a real close connection to that and did some gardening at Birdsfoot Farm. And, you know, we always had little personal gardens along the way. And so, you know, with everything that’s going on in the world now, I was very much happy to immediately become a full time farmer and spend a lot of time here outside and, you know, alongside the hemp group, lots of squash and pumpkins, and would have had a bit of corn, but the raccoon ate all that. So, you know, trying to raise some ducks and some chickens and a bunch of hot peppers and potatoes and other good stuff. So, you know, at this point in my life, just my heart tells me this, my mind tells me this makes the most sense, at least for me personally to, you know, farm and learn as much as I can along the way.

Hemp FARMING TECHNIQUES

Jenn  11:40

That’s right. I think us farmers are pretty lucky right now with the state of the world, to be out here on the land, being able to provide, you know, food for ourselves and hopefully for our communities as well. I’m a farmer also. I have a licensed cannabis farm here in California called WildLand Cannabis. And I’m as sustainable as I possibly can be. I try to incorporate regenerative techniques into my farming practices. So I’d love to ask you some questions about your farming techniques. You mentioned some companion planting and some cover cropping and that you had some poultry. Are you growing your hemp in the ground? And what kind of irrigation are you using? Would you just talk a little bit about your farming techniques for us?

Len  12:25

Sure. We did a variety of different planting techniques this year. We did three rows rototilled with a variety of cover crops, basically studying the effects of, you know, using haylage, black plastic, clover or nothing at all through an experiment we did with University of Vermont. So that was quite interesting. And we’ve been collecting data and we’ll be continuing to do that through the final product. So we did that. We also did a bunch of no-till, where we basically dug holes on the ground and added a nice mix of nutrients and then just flipped the sod over and used that to help keep the grass back. 

We did some different companion planting methods. We planted a good row of buckwheat and helps to bring in things that would keep the aphids down or draw the aphids away from the hemp and actually ended up really helping us out when the rodents came in and started girdling the plants and attacking the tap roots, tree gum and cayenne pepper was a major deterrent and then at the time the shrews came into the garden as the buckwheat also came into its full fruit, which drew the voles and other things away from the hemp. So that was very, very helpful. 

And in the field there, we mowed but, you know, basically disturbed as little as possible and there’s, you know, naturally occurring goldenrod and vetch and cleavers, you know, or bedstraw, and other grasses and things that are diversifying the area. So I think that really helped keep the pests down. We had virtually no pestilence aside from the mice, which happened immediately after they heyed the field, they moved right in. So that seemed to really regulate the aphids. Because our friends have a farm not far from here and they tell everything and they had a serious aphid problem last year, but we hardly saw a single one. So I think having that diversity and, you know, disturbing the soil as little as possible was really a boon for us alongside the buckwheat. 

We also experimented with planting different mints in with some of the CBG to possibly encourage the terpene production of the plants and we’re going to play more with that I think in the future. So we have a bunch of different things we’re playing with here, different experiments. So it’s always fun to see, you know, what happens.

Jenn  15:08

That’s super cool. I grow mint in my cannabis garden also with the same hope of increasing terpene production, and I grow some other companion plants for that purpose as well. Yarrow is one of them, sage, I grow some bee balm and echinacea in there too. And jury’s out, I think on whether or not it’s increased my terpene production, but it looks beautiful. And the beneficial insects love it, you know, the bees are all over the men and the bee balm and the echinacea. And it just adds to the kind of high vibe of the whole garden, in my opinion. So that’s awesome that you’re doing that. Good for you. You mentioned several different kinds of experiments you did with different types of cover cropping and sort of like tilling versus not tilling, was there one combination of those that seemed to work the best?

Len  15:59

Well, you know, it’s interesting. As far as ease, fluidity, and you know, the ergonomics of putting in the plants and digging the holes and preparing the fields, definitely having the rows rototilled made that process a lot faster and easier. And those plants did do really well. We basically put black plastic on one portion, another portion was seeded with clover, another portion was covered with haylage, you know, composted hay. And then the final section was just left to the open air. And actually a whole lot of chenopodium or lambsquarters ended up moving in there from one of the experimental rows with the buckwheat, I think. We have a bunch of migrants. 

So those plants did quite well. And one thing I did notice in the rows where the area where it was not covered with anything, the plants seem to grow a lot more vertically, and they were taller and skinnier than the other ones, which was interesting. You know, it was such a dry year, I don’t know if that was a reflection of the taproot going deeper and straighter versus having the cover of the other stuff to keep in the moisture. I’m not sure exactly, but that was quite noticeable. I haven’t calculated the final weights and measures of bucked flower and trimmed flower yet. So that will be the final kind of tell tale for that experiment. 

And, you know, the biggest plants that we had were actually in a section of the garden where we did no-till. But they happen to be in the area where the hillside drained and a lot of the nutrients I think settled in this one row and so that soil was particularly rich. And I mean, those plants just did amazing. And that was basically just digging about an 18-inch hole a foot and a half down and putting in, you know, our chicken poop and bone char and mycorrhiza and other good stuff. And, you know, having a drip line irrigation system that was run off of a pump that came out of the Little River, it’s a small river that runs through the land here, made it really easy and just saved us because we had the driest year here, I think on record in some cases. And so having the drip irrigation was very, very, I mean, just essential to the bounty of the garden this year. 

We use the gold pump, a Xylem pump that worked just fantastic and could be used for a larger area than what we ended up cultivating, which wasn’t probably much more than an acre. We put in about 470 some plants and after we lost maybe three dozen to the rodents, and then some other, you know, side damage and we had some teeny tiny cherry wines. Something to do with those genetics. We had about 40 plants out of 100 and some seed that was planted to just be like these little bond’s eyes, and they were so cute, but they didn’t get very big. So that was funny. So we planted them with the buckwheat and that was kind of like our tribute to the cherry wine and to the cannabis and to the earth. You know, a little offering and thanksgiving, gratitude. Definitely, that’s a big part of it too, you know, with every seed planted and every transplanting and every planting and just little offerings of gratitude and herbs and prayers of thanksgiving, you know, I think it sweetens the medicine that much more.

SPIRITUAL CONNECTION

Jenn  19:43

Absolutely. And I know when we had spoken earlier about preparing for this interview today, you mentioned that there was this spiritual component of what you do is very important to you. So would you speak to that for our listeners? 

Len  19:57

I guess it just makes me feel good to say thanks. And, you know, I am very much a believer, I feel very deeply in my heart that plants are just as conscious as animals are. And, you know, they might communicate on different frequencies, electromagnetic frequencies, that maybe we don’t detect as much with our brain, but more with the receptors in our heart and our gut, you know, those neurons are kind of like an antenna for those signals. And so I feel very much that plants and animals, you know, any living thing in the water or the air, it all has, you know, that frequency and so it feels very good to me to just acknowledge all those forces and I feel very much that the plants certainly respond to it.

I had an indoor, a small indoor garden once in a small side room in this apartment I was renting, and I would sit in there with them, and I would play the didgeridoo and just send them, you know, loving energy and Reiki, just kind of said that intent and I swear to God, they would go from like this relaxed state and then they would just slowly go, woo. And they would just stand up. And I don’t know if I was just hallucinating it or if it was just all the excess CO2 from my breath, but I can’t help but notice, you know, how plants respond to, you know, our intent. 

Jenn  21:35

Absolutely. And I have to say, I don’t think you are probably hallucinating it at all. I think that there’s absolutely a spiritual connection between people and plants and animals. We all coexist here in this realm together. We’re all definitely operating on different frequencies, like you mentioned, but all of our existences intersect with each other. And we’re all dependent upon each other in many ways. The relationship between plants that are cultivated by humans and the people that cultivate them and the history behind that is absolutely fascinating. So even just by farming any plant, I think you’re engaged in a deeper spiritual relationship with that plant, probably beyond our consciousness, beyond what we can even understand as people. You know, the plant creates a relationship with us. It wants us to grow it, it wants us to help it survive, to help it evolve. And then the plant helps us evolve also, especially cannabis. I mean, it’s one of the most tangible plants in that regard, where we can really physically feel the change and the shift when we ingest it. Have you ingested any of the hemp that you’ve grown this year? Have you smoked any of it?

CANNABIS, COMMUNITY AND CULTURE

Len  22:49

Yes, I’ve been enjoying it. It’s my first experience with CBG flower. And I also grow my own tobacco, some Abenaki and Mohawk strains and collect mullein and incorporate sage into different smoking blends, you know, for medicinal mixtures. And I am a huge fan of the CBG because it really… I like to be awake and moving and grooving and doing stuff. And you know, until I’m ready to fade into my pillow, you know, I want that kind of stimulation. And so that has just been amazing. The CBG whey, I’ve really been mixing that in a lot, also with regular THC strains and the CBD is… the Lifters have been quite delicious and the SR1. Haven’t sampled the cherry wine yet. It’s still being barked. And that is really nice when I am ready to settle down and you know rest or sleep. 

There’s a local professor who brings me eggs. He has chickens that he raises organic eggs from. So I’ve been giving him some of the CBD flower. And you know, I mentioned to him about how he could extract it in coconut oil or ghee or butter and then put it into some kind of tea. You know, and I asked him, you know, “Do you want to be awake or do you want to hang out on the couch?” He’s like, “Oh, yeah, I definitely want to hang out on the couch.” And yeah, he’s such a lovely fella, but he does enjoy his relaxation time. So he said he and his wife made some tea with it and he said, “Ah, we just slept like babies, Len.” He said, “I was great.”

So I’m having a good experience with the flowers and other folks are as well. When we were talking earlier I mentioned my friend Madison and her family growing hemp, that Grasse River Hemp, outside of Canton here. They do the local farmers markets and they produce some wonderful oils, like a maple flavored oil. Oh my god, it’s like a little dropper of desert, it’s so good. And then just a regular flavor. And then also some balms. And so they’ve been handing them out at the farmers markets, and some people will walk by and be like, “Oh, you know, it’s the pot people” or this or that, and, you know, they’re not sure what to think. And some people will be like, “Oh, you know, what is this,” you know, and kind of approach it, you know, cautiously. 

And so there’s this one woman who had fibromyalgia, has had it for a number of years. And, you know, none of the pharmaceutical meds are working for her. And so, you know, she had heard about CBD, but, you know, wasn’t really sure because it was related to cannabis and marijuana and those kinds of stigmas were playing in the back of her mind. And so she didn’t want to sample the actual CBD oil, because she was afraid it would affect her ability to drive, though it’s not intoxicating, you know. She wasn’t aware of that. And so she did put some balm though on her shoulders, in her hands, and, you know, just walked around the market. And so after about 15 minutes, she came back to Madison’s booth. And she’s like, “Oh my god, I feel such relief. I can’t even tell you.” She’s like, “I need to get some tinctures.” So she bought a couple of the tinctures and another thing of the balm and brought them home and started dosing them. 

And the next day, she left a 15-minute voicemail on Madison’s phone, you know, apologizing for being so long, but you know, that she had all these things to say. And so she was saying how she, you know, had tried the oil. And she actually, for the first time in years, found some relief and actually was brought to the point of tears in the message. And now she’s like, “Please, you know, tell everyone, you know, my story. And I hope that it can help a lot more people,” and she’s just thanking Madison so much. And so I’m finding a lot of benefits and the people in the community that aren’t even familiar with it are now just discovering it and finding very direct and immediate results. 

You know, I have friends who give small amounts of CBD to their children, and that helps them to be more emotionally balanced and be more focused. And so I feel very hopeful for, you know, hemp and believe so much in the power of this plant as medicine. I mean, not to mention, like the food and clothing and shelter. And you know, I mean, you can actually make fire by friction with it. Such an incredible plant. And you know, we’ve lived with it for so long that, you know, as you’re saying, it wants us to help it and it wants to help us and I’m really seeing a lot of benefit from the CBD and CBG flowers personally and all around. 

Jenn  28:04

That’s such a beautiful story you have about that community member with her fibromyalgia. And a question that I had for you was about your community in hemp farming and how those things had intersected and interacted with one another. There’s so much stigma still surrounding cannabis and hemp — which are the same thing — all throughout the country. And in places like California, where I grow cannabis, it’s in ways more accepted, although there is still definitely a stigma. But you’re on the east coast, totally, you know, different culture and environment. Was there any negative reaction from your community towards your hemp farm or your friends’ hemp farmer, other hemp farms in the area? Are people shocked to see weed plants being thrown out in the open? Maybe positively shocked, maybe negatively, maybe a little scared?

Len  29:00

I think mostly they’re like, “Wow, that’s beautiful.” You know, you definitely get the full gamut, the full-spectrum reactions. Like my mom was at the hairdresser’s telling a woman who does her hair that I, you know, got a license with my friend to grow, you know, legal hemp in New York and she was like, “Oh, well, who’s he grown up with? And it’s illegal and rummer,” you know, just started firing a million questions, you know. And my mom was like, “Man, I almost wish I hadn’t even told her.” 

So, you know, you have those kinds of reactions where people are like, “Well, what are they doing is, you know, it’s got to be illegal or it’s got to be bad” or you know, because of these kinds of subconscious seeds that have been planted. But then, you know, my friends at Little River Hemp, they have a farm on the other side of Canton, on one of the main highways there. And my buddy Joe, who’s there, he’s the main farmer. It’s actually on his land. He said there’s always people driving up and stopping and pulling over and just looking at the field or they’ll drive up and slow down and peek out or they’ll drive by and honk, you know. So, you know, you can sense the excitement, and perhaps a degree of apprehension, but also great entry. Because I think somewhere deep down no matter what someone’s mind is telling them, like some other sensor in their body is like, “Oh, that’s something very good and it sure is beautiful.”

Hemp Theft and Security Issues

Jenn  30:41

Absolutely. Super beautiful. Have you or any of your other hemp farmer friends had any problems with theft?

Len  30:48

You know, actually, Joe’s like, “Yeah, I’m just waiting to wake up in the morning and see like a big chunk gone.” But fortunately, that never happened. We over here never had anybody come and mess with the plants. We have had a trespasser on the land — a guy who likes to wander across people’s property with his four wheeler, but he didn’t mess with the garden. I think he has his own secret garden anyway. He’s probably just trying to lay low at this point. So we didn’t have any trouble. 

And there’s another farm off of Route 37. And I don’t really know them. I haven’t met them just yet. I’ve just heard different stories and stuff. But fortunately, I haven’t heard much about theft. You know, I think some people may also think, “Oh, it’s hemp. Why would we steal that,” you know.

Jenn  31:39

Right.

Len  31:40

Because we can get high off it or I mean, who knows? Which is fine with me, you know. So, you know, fortunately, we haven’t had any. And honestly, we only had one leaf on one plant of the cherry wine nibbled by the deer. And she took a little bite out of the tip of one leaf and then decided to eat the lamb’s quarters right next to it instead.

Jenn  32:03

Definitely tastier. 

Len  32:04

So, you know.

Jenn  32:06

I’m just imagining myself as a high school student and my friends sneaking into the hemp field to snip some buds. But I’m glad that hasn’t happened in any noticeable capacity. Do you guys have a fence? What are your requirements from the state, I guess, is what I’m really asking here. Because, you know, I grow cannabis out here in California, you grow hemp in New York. Like it’s the same plant. Spoiler alert for everybody out there. It just has different levels of certain compounds. it’s the same thing. But you know, we have to have all kinds of crazy security requirements, cameras and fences and stuff like that, even though we’re way out in the middle of absolutely nowhere. So is there anything like that that you have to comply with? And do you have inspections? Like what’s your relationship like with the state of New York in terms of your hemp operation?

Len  33:00

As far as fencing and protection and stuff goes, we haven’t — not that I’m aware of. I mean, ours is an open field. My buddy’s address over hemp, theirs is an open field. We do have to provide, you know, when we apply for a license, we have to, you know, have like coordinates of where the garden will be and then where it will be processed and dried and stored. So we have to have all that stuff kind of laid out for the state. And we had a very friendly fellow Chris from Ag and Markets Comm and he came and checked out the field before there was anything in it, but the wild grasses and cleavers and the goldenrod. And then he came back in the spring after I’d put up the greenhouse and started the seeds. And then he came back later on after we had planted and, you know, was intrigued by the companion planting and stuff we were doing so he had another local farmer out. It’s also her first year growing in ruby botanicals there in Vermont below the Adirondacks. Delightful, hardworking, spirited lady, and she came out with a niece and they checked out the farm. 

So I’ve had a very, very friendly relationship so far with the state. And we’ve had to make some amendments to our license application. Just things got changed around and stuff. But all in all, it’s been pretty positive. They didn’t come out and actually inspect or test our flower this year. Though we did that on our own but it’s pretty relaxed as far as security. You know, we don’t have to have a fence or cameras or anything that I’m aware of at this point. So, you know, I don’t know if that will change when New York does legalize recreational cannabis, if we could possibly get a license for that, if there will be different requirements. And I know that this year the state just changed all the regulations and made it a whole lot more expensive and all that to grow CBD, cannabis or CBD hemp. So things are definitely changing all the time here. Like we didn’t even know if New York was going to be in charge next year or if the feds were until like a couple weeks ago. So it’s been kind of a rocky ride with that. But, you know, just trying to make everything work positively as best we can at this point, really.

Jenn  35:36

It sounds like you’re on the cannabis roller coaster ride just like everyone in the whole country who’s cultivating cannabis or have been in any capacity. It’s like things are changing every five seconds and you just have to breathe and let go and be so grateful for your opportunity to work with the plant because otherwise you’ll just drive yourself crazy trying to plan the next move. It’s like you really just have to go with the flow, it seems, at this point,

Len  36:05

Right. Go with the flow and we will never surrender!

Jenn  36:10

Exactly. 

Len  36:12

We will never give up. 

THE MARKET FOR HEMP FLOWER

Jenn  36:13

Exactly right. That’s exactly right. What do you see as the market for your hemp flower this year? Are you going to try to sell it as a smokeable flower or, you know, tincture or balms, combo? What are you thinking for that?

Len  36:27

At this point in New York, see, it’s kind of weird, I don’t fully understand the legislation around it. Because I know some farms like there’s a farm downstate that is able to sell hemp flower tea at the farmers market. But then there’s also some kind of thing where we’re not supposed to sell the smokeable flower in the states. So if we can sell it as tea, then perhaps it can be marketed in that way. But then when I go to the local smoke shop, they have hemp flower in there, you know, they have an ounce, and they have a quarter ounce and all that stuff. So it’s honestly really confusing for me at this point as far as what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do or how we’re allowed to present it. 

So my plan is at this point, because you know, the hemp flower is there in the store, I’d like to go and start locally at the local health food store, offering it. Also, Phil has some connections with some lovely people that may be interested in CBG or CBD and pressing that into oil. We’ve also talked about that. Though, at this point, you know, being the very first year kind of looking more simply just as far as like, what can we do with just the flower at this point, you know, and how marketable is that. And then if that is not as marketable as we would like, then we could change it into a different form, like the tinctures and balms and stuff like our friends are. So at this point, we are going primarily for smoke flower, out of state, sales or in state, tea. So that’s basically what we had in mind at this point. And we actually did have our first pound sale yesterday.

Jenn  38:15

Congratulations!

Len  38:17

Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah. Oh, I was so happy, you know. So I mean, at this point, it has been pretty much volunteer work, but it’s a labor of love. So what can we do? 

Jenn  38:28

Absolutely. Well, congratulations on your first sale on 11/11. That’s pretty cosmic.

Len  38:35

Oh, yeah. Yeah, good timing.

Jenn  38:37

Right. I hope that bodes well for the rest of your sales.

Len  38:41

Thank you.

WRAP-UP AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Jenn  38:42

So it seems like we’re moving towards the end of our time here together today. So I just wanted to give you the opportunity to raise any topics that you would like to that we haven’t covered yet, or share anything with our podcast listeners that we haven’t shared yet.

Len  38:57

I guess, you know, no matter what happens, just keep on going. All these challenges that we face in the world growing this particular plant, and beyond that, it’s been said that, you know, we have no control over the fruits of our labors but all we have is our labors. And so I guess if we can just do what we love, then we’re putting out that kind of energy into the world. And so no matter what happens, it makes even a small difference, you know. Every pebble dropped in the pond creates a ripple that, you know, as you were saying before, all things are connected and everything feels so. Now, I would just say to people follow your heart and it will not lead you astray.

Jenn  39:41

That’s beautiful, Len, and it’s so true. I absolutely agree with you there. And I know that you do a lot of other activities outside of your hemp farming. So would you share your other skills with our listeners and tell them how they can get in touch with you or find out more about the other stuff that you do?

Len  39:57

Sure, yeah. Infatuated with indigenous knowledge from all cultures all over the world, and so, you know, I’ve been studying intensively survival and ancient living skills for the past number of years, and then fishing and hunting and all that good stuff since I was a kid. So we have a little tracker, homeschool program here, and we do different skills. I have a YouTube channel. We’re just getting out there now. There’s some edible medicinal plant studies on there, some videos on how to make fire by friction in the winter time or after rains, you know, how to prevent hypothermia and those kinds of things. So I try to share that stuff and it keeps me connected to this place that I live in. And so if you’re looking for more, you know, in regards to those kinds of skills, you can go on YouTube, it’s Ancient Earth Skills – Len Mackey. Or you can find me on Instagram @ancientearth skills. And I’d love to share all this stuff with everybody. Got to keep it alive and pass it on to the next ones coming up. And also, you know, definitely, if you’re interested in any of our wonderful hemp, you can reach out to us at [email protected] Me and my brother Phil will be very grateful for all the help in these endeavors. 

And I just want to thank you, too, so much, Jenn, for this wonderful opportunity. I just feel so blessed to meet someone in the world who’s doing such good things as you are and you know, so I just feel quite honored to be a part of it and just want to say thank you so very much.

Jenn  41:42

Thank you too, Len. It’s been so uplifting and beautiful to speak with you this morning. It’s so important for us to remain connected during this very stressful and isolating time that we are all going through. So thanks for sharing your positivity and your knowledge and just all of your great insights with me and with our listeners out there for spreading this love that you have for the cannabis plant and the hemp plant. They are the same plant. Thanks for sharing that joy with us all. And would you just do me a favor and spell Shima Hill so that everyone knows how they can get in touch with you?

Len  42:18

Oh, sure. Shima Hill is SHIMA, Hill, HILL. [email protected]

Jenn  42:28

Great. Thank you. 

Len  42:31

All right. 

Jenn  42:31

And I just want to remind our listeners that if you think the CBD School Podcast sounds great, thank the guys at The Base Sound Creations. Whether you’re thinking about getting into podcasting or you already have a show, I highly recommend getting in touch with them. They’ll help you with production aspects, taking your show to a whole new level of quality and visibility. You can email them at [email protected] That’s T-H-E-B-A-S-E-S-O-U-N-D.com. And make sure to use the coupon code “MyPodcastNow” and you’ll get a free 30-minute consultation. And if you’re interested in getting in touch with me and learning more about what I do, you can email me at jenn — that’s [email protected] You can also check out the website, wildlandcannabis.com. That’s the website for my licensed cannabis farm in Northern California. I also host a radio show called The Cannabis Hour. It’s every other Thursday on KZYX and you can stream it live on the web at kzyx.org. That’s a community radio station out here in Mendocino County that broadcasts out of the coastal town of Philo. And we cover all things cannabis. So check that out. Tune into the next episode of the CBD School Podcast and I hope to hear from you soon.

Article first appeared on cbdschool.com

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments