Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cannabis Farms Reach Agreement with Community Group to Grow Responsibly

Posted on August 27, 2021

A remarkable thing happened last week! A cannabis watchdog group praised CARP Growers member farms. We praised them right back. All at a county meeting, where both groups agreed on a path forward for cannabis farms in Carpinteria Valley to Control Odor and operate responsibly and successfully into the future. Carpinteria Valley is a great place to grow cannabis if done right and in line with the community. 

It all started when past CARP Growers President Tristan Strauss began direct dialogue with Rob Salomon of the the Coalition in September 2020. Over time, they saw that cannabis farmers and neighbors had misunderstood each other. They came to a better understanding, brought in a larger group of people and decided on a path forward together. Constructive resolutions do not always happen, and we are thankful that in this case we found common ground and built trust.

CARP Growers and the Coalition For Responsible Cannabis issued a joint release yesterday:

Following 11 months of collaborative dialogue, the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis (Coalition) and CARP Growers reached an historic agreement on August 20, ensuring that cannabis farms work in cooperation with the community group to resolve odor issues in a proactive and cooperative way across Carpinteria Valley.

The agreement holds all CARP Growers member farms accountable to a partnership with the Coalition and a detailed odor abatement plan outlining a new expanded odor response process, and a comprehensive program to develop and implement next-generation odor technologies.  Community engagement in the plan will be encouraged for reporting, investigating and resolving cannabis odor incidents.

The Coalition was formed in 2019 to advocate for closer oversight of cannabis farming and relief for odor nuisances in Carpinteria Valley and across Santa Barbara County. The Coalition has been an active participant in the Santa Barbara County cannabis permitting process, appealing cannabis projects that do not meet its community-focused standards.

Coalition Board Member Rob Salomon said, “In partnership with CARP Growers, the Coalition developed a comprehensive voluntary upgrade to the County’s odor control program.  All CARP Growers members will comply with that program, and unlike today, odor will not be tolerated in schools, parks and public areas.  We credit CARP Growers and its member farms for coming to the table with sincere dedication and a shared interest to make local cannabis farming better.”

CARP Growers (aka Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers) was created in 2018 to foster better relationships within the community of Carpinteria and require its members to follow best farming practices, including using best available odor control technology. Each CARP Growers member will be individually bound to the agreement at over 20 farm project sites at existing greenhouses across Carpinteria Valley.

“We appreciate the Coalition for working with us and building trust over these many months. As fellow members of the community, CARP Growers are eager and motivated to eliminate odor issues.  This agreement will create a new, more transparent odor complaint response program, where residents can work directly with operators to track and resolve odor issues,” said Tristan Strauss, CARP Growers Vice President and CEO of Headwaters, which operates several farms in Carpinteria and a state-wide cannabis wholesale network.

The Coalition has previously negotiated Odor Abatement Plans with individual cannabis farms, but this settlement represents the broadest group of cannabis farms and a proactive and expansive plan to resolve odor issues on a Carpinteria Valley-wide scale. Coalition Attorney Marc Chytilo stated: “The agreement between the Coalition and CARP Growers, including the two supporting documents developed between ourselves and the County, sets forth a comprehensive program to control odor in Carpinteria.  We are currently partnering with the CARP Growers regarding research and development to identify viable alternatives to vapor phase, including carbon scrubbers that are designed to mitigate odors in venting greenhouses.”

The agreement includes monitoring for odor causing compounds, a system of wind stations to help identify odor sources, the use of the best available odor controls, expansion of areas where odor is not allowed, and a tiered response system to address odor incidents quickly and comprehensively.

“I’m very proud of our association for negotiating such an expansive and historic agreement which will truly create more transparency and accountability with our neighbors, long term,” said Autumn Shelton, CARP Growers President and co-owner of Autumn Brands farm in Carpinteria. “We have made enormous investments in advancing the science and research and development around odor over the last year. This is a new scientific field, and we are learning a lot each day about what compounds cause odors, and how to best mitigate and monitor odor.”

That’s a Wrap: Santa Barbara Sustainability Symposium

Posted on October 15, 2020

Full Video: Santa Barbara Sustainability Symposium moderated by Seth Streeter, CEO of Sustainable Future. See below to join the 30-day sustainability challenge.

Stars aligned on Sept. 25 in an informative and dynamic virtual symposium. A cross-section of Santa Barbara Industry leaders joined forces with sustainability experts to discuss creating a better future through best practices and looking outward into our communities. Graham Farrar, President of Glasshouse Group, shared the environmental advantages that are inherent to the cannabis farming industry and its culture of sustainability. Beyond caring for the environment, Tristan Strauss, CARP Growers President, detailed how building sustainable communities is essential to resiliency, particularly when facing a crisis like the global pandemic.

Join the Sustainable Future 30-day Challenge.

Seth Streeter’s non-profit Sustainable Future has generated a 30 day challenge that anyone can join. In this challenge you will see sustainable actions that these sustainability leaders have recommended, and the first place winner will win a prize! You will need to sign up for an account to partake in this challenge.

Click here to join the challenge.

County-by-County cannabis policy comparisons

Posted on June 9, 2020

When Santa Barbara County residents voted to place a tax on cannabis cultivation, the economy was strong and the added revenue appeared like a bonus. Hotel bed tax and sales tax revenues covered costs, and cannabis would be a brand new revenue stream used to expand existing county programs and enforce rules on the new cannabis industry.

Fast forward to 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is now clear that Santa Barbara County cannabis and the tax revenue it generates are vital to the Santa Barbara County budget. In the county fiscal year for 2019/20, cannabis revenues will be nearly $10 million. During the shelter-in-place order, predictably, the county lost millions and millions of dollars from hotel bed tax, sales tax and various other fees from development projects and other frozen areas of the economy.

During this period, cannabis farmers still contributed $1.9 million to the county, and in projecting next year’s county budget, which begins in July, the county will backfill $7 million in losses with cannabis funds. To cover its added public health expenses spent in response to the pandemic, the county will earmark $3 million in cannabis revenues.

In the words of County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, “That’s $10 million we didn’t have before.”

Tristan Strauss, CARP Growers President, said, “We as cannabis farmers supported a county level tax and are happy to pay it, but we never predicted a time like this, when our taxes would become so vital to county operations.”

While some California counties plan to slash their workforce, which include public health and law enforcement personnel, Santa Barbara County has signaled it will be able to retain workers, largely due to the added cannabis revenues.

We reviewed some figures from Solano County, which is just southwest of Sacramento, has a similar population to Santa Barbara County and does not permit cannabis business. The figures are eye opening, not just for added tax revenue and jobs, but also when looking at items like crime and home sales. Those who think Santa Barbara County should dramatically limit cannabis farming have said that farms will lead to crime and real estate market decline. The numbers tell a different story.

First off, Santa Barbara County will collect $9.2 million in cannabis cultivation taxes this year, which Solano County will not have the opportunity to collect. SB County cannabis supported over 6,000 cannabis jobs in 2018 , according to a report authored by UCSB. On the issue of crime, SB County has seen felonies drop by 9.2 percent, compared to just 3.1 percent for Solano County. Home prices have grown by 13 percent in SB County over the same period while they grew just 3 percent in Solano.

One number that CARP Growers member farms in particular point to as a benefit of successful cannabis farming is our community giving programs during the Covid-19 response. Our members gave over $150,000 to nonprofits and small businesses over the period beginning in mid-March until June. Compassionate companies can have a great positive impact on our communities, and Santa Barbara County cannabis farms have led the way.

CARP member farms acted quickly to start our “Keep the Lights On” lunch program and the 93013 Fund, both of which have proved critical to the Carpinteria community during a time of deep economic stress and pain. The lunch program directs cannabis farms to order over 1,000 lunches weekly into the local economy. This was important when restaurants had no other business. The 93013 Fund has served over 20,000 meals to date and provided school supplies for students to keep up their studies at home.

Both locally in the Carpinteria Valley, in Santa Barbara County and in counties across the state, the numbers tell a story supporting legal cannabis and the vast benefits brought to communities.

CARP Celebrates A Very Covid 2nd Birthday

Posted on April 22, 2020

At the CARP Growers Annual Meeting on April 14, Tristan Strauss, CEO of Headwaters, was unanimously appointed as CARP’s new President. CARP’s Annual Meeting as a Zoom conference lacked in Pomp and Circumstance, but made up for it in productivity. We cannot wait until we can all meet again, face-to-face in the conference room at Island Brewing Company.

Headwaters Farm Team Shot in the pre-Covid-19 era. Photo by Fran Collin, featuring Frank the lovable rottweiler and company mascot front and center.

Tristan is a standup guy, and Headwaters is an outstanding company. In addition to farming about 10 acres of cannabis in Carpinteria, Headwaters sources bulk cannabis throughout the state. Tristan has been a CARP Board Member since Day 1 and has spent a lifetime in agriculture and ag business. Headwaters is built on modern business practices and a data-driven structure that ensures consistent quality product for the state’s legal cannabis market.

Graham Farrar, who was President during an exciting CARP Growers Year 2, commemorated the year that was. Proudly, CARP gifted over $100,000 to community causes during its second year. More than half of that total went to local educational programs, including funding a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor at the local middle school. Carpinteria Unified School District prioritized funding this position, and cannabis farmers saw it as a great opportunity to support the health and well being of young Carpinterians.

Another big focus for the association over the past year has been eliminating any lingering cannabis odors. To this end, we’ve engaged engineers, atmospheric scientists and the Nasal Ranger to collect data and continue to refine our approach to eliminating odor.

Air quality and odor monitoring are important parts of what CARP Growers does in efforts to be good neighbors.
Research Assistant Sydney Pahle uses a Nasal Ranger to record odor levels throughout Carpinteria Valley.

As an association, we firmly believe that if cannabis didn’t have a distinct odor, our farms would operate without opposition. There are so many benefits to a thriving ag sector in Carpinteria Valley, as we’ve seen very clearly during the current dual crises — public health and economic emergencies. Cannabis tax revenue has continued to support Santa Barbara County and its 4,200 employees, including firefighters, sheriff’s personnel and healthcare workers.

To make a better future for cannabis farming AND for building lasting relationships with our neighbors, odor elimination is priority Number 1 and a major focus of daily business among all of our members. Farms cannot be members of CARP Growers without a thorough audit of odor control practices at the property. This year, we will further standardize best operating procedures for odor control among member farms.

Past President Graham Farrar will shift into the VP/Secretary Position and continue to be a leading voice for the local cannabis industry.

At the Annual Meeting, Past President Graham Farrar of Glass House Farms shifted over to the VP/Secretary position, where he will remain active as a leading voice for the local cannabis farming industry. Hans Brand of Autumn Brands became Treasurer.

Hans has been incredibly active in creating the 93013 Fund to support the community response to Covid-19. The idea of the fund is simple: all contributions will be spent on food and supplies to reach those in need in Carpinteria Valley (zipcode 93013). Small towns like Carpinteria are sometimes overlooked by agencies conducting regional response efforts, so 93013 Fund guarantees a robust local response to the crisis.

CARP Treasurer Hans Brand of Autumn Brands is also President of the Sunset Rotary Club, which created 93013 Fund. Hans is not only the President, he’s the workhorse/workforce behind delivering Weekend Food Boxes to Carpinteria residents in need.

Other Board Members for Year 3 of CARP Growers are: Winfred Van Wingerden of Pacific Stone Brand, Mike Palmer of Ever-Bloom Inc., Jason Moriarty of Rincon Ranch and Kyle Hardy of Cresco Cannabis.

And just like that CARP is back in its groove and a full year older. Priorities remain the same as in the previous two years: Make good on our promise to be good neighbors in the community we call home. Continue to refine best farming practices in a way that leads the state’s legal cannabis farming industry, and to do it all as professional, productive business leaders operating transparently and compliantly … so there’s no question about how legal cannabis fits in with local and state interests.

CARP Response to Covid-19

Posted on March 27, 2020

Covid-19 and the community response to it happened quickly. Social distancing is the new normal. People are out of work. Small businesses are bearing the brunt of a near economic shutdown. CARP Growers has responded in collaboration with local organizations to identify needs and help to launch the 93013 Fund, which is named after our local zip code.

It’s simple. Rotary Club of Carpinteria Sunset Charitable Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, created the fund as a central point for local contributions. An Advisory Committee of local nonprofit, business and government leaders was assembled to guide fund distributions, which will target food and housing insecurity for those in the community who are most vulnerable. Funds will be distributed to the nonprofits to bolster their programs and serve their clients.

93013 Fund was set up as a central point for local donors to deliver quick Covid-19 relief in the community.

In less than a week, with a $20,000 contribution from CARP Growers and the generosity of other local donors, the Fund has grown to $65,000. The Advisory Committee is identifying urgent local needs through a network of local nonprofits and will efficiently distribute funds to ensure these programs can support and sustain the community for the duration of the challenge brought on by Covid-19.

Participating in this hyper local response has highlighted how much caring there is in this community and the great skill and expertise we have in the local organizations that are already serving Carpinteria.


Cannabis farms are exempt from Governor Newsom’s order restricting many industries, and we are thankful for the “essential industry” designation. Since 1996 cannabis has been available legally for medical use in California, and it is an important medicine. Public acknowledgement of this fact during this crisis is heartening.

Member farms display this poster throughout facilities in English and Spanish.

In order to continue to operate, member farms have taken aggressive action to ensure the health of employees and establishing best safety practices as a local industry.

Since farms are still operational, we’ve also gotten together as a farm group to make sure we are supporting local businesses. We have launched a coordinated lunch ordering program at local restaurants. Member farms are designating two days each week to provide individually wrapped employee lunches, and restaurant owners created special menus for the program. Restaurants are disproportionately impacted and really appreciate the business.

Employees at Glass House Farms have their lunches provided by The Food Liaison as part of a coordinated CARP membership program to support local restaurants.

CARP member farms had one goal in launching this program, and that is to make sure that when this crisis is over, our community remains vital and the small businesses we rely on have weathered this crisis. We hope supplying lunches to the over 1,000 employees at local farms can soften the economic blow.


CARP Growers President Graham Farrar also owns The Farmacy of Santa Barbara, the first adult-use cannabis dispensary to open in Santa Barbara last year. Through this connection, CARP member farms are able to join together in support of local causes.

5 % of select purchases at The Farmacy will support Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

The 5% Give-Back Program operated by The Farmacy is a big achievement for the legal cannabis industry. Customers at The Farmacy select local CARP-certified products (grown responsibly in Carpinteria Valley) and a portion of purchases is directed to important community causes.

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will receive the funds on purchases made through the end of May. Foodbank is integral to combating heightened food insecurity during Covid-19. More and more grocery distributions to families are being set up all around the county, including in Carpinteria Valley.

Last Wednesday over 400 families received two large grocery bags of staples to bring home. With job displacement and wage losses pressuring so many vulnerable families, keeping people fed is a top priority as we all join together and do what we can during this challenge.

In Carpinteria, the Foodbank distribution program had served about 120 families once per month, and now that is being ramped up to weekly distributions that serve over 400 families. This is clear evidence of the needs many are experiencing.

We look forward to continuing to help as we can and monitoring the local response to step up whenever possible.