Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Video: Cannabis Brought Local Ag Back from the Brink

Posted on February 5, 2020

Growing Together. Growing the Economy. Growing the Community. Cannabis brings tremendous public benefits.

Data keeps rolling in, and the numbers tell a compelling story. Cannabis has been a lifeline for local farmers and the local ag economy. Carpinteria was once labeled “America’s Flower Basket.” Carpinteria Valley was flower-farming central, but free trade agreements pushed flower farming offshore to South America.

Resilient farmers adapt to the times by planting new crops. The legalization of cannabis provided an opportunity to grow a crop that can only be grown and sold in California.

Flowers were no longer profitable. Cannabis entered the picture at precisely the right moment.

According to a UCSB study, cannabis farming adds $458 million each year to the county economy. In farming alone, there are over 2,000 cannabis jobs averaging $65,000 per year in compensation.

As far as ag jobs go, cannabis pays better, provides stable year-round employment and is free from dangerous chemicals. Word on the street is that if ag workers aren’t employed in cannabis, they want to be. In Carpinteria Valley alone, cannabis employs over 1,000.

Tax revenue from cannabis has been an added benefit. In the 2018/19 fiscal year, Santa Barbara County collected $6.7 million from cannabis taxes alone. Reports from this fiscal year show taxes are climbing and exceeding projections.

Carpinteria enjoys a unique landscape. Beach. City. Farm land. Viable agriculture keeps Carpinteria small. Cannabis is viable. The saying goes, “Cannabis or condos?”

Taxes are an important component to why voters approved legal cannabis. Instead of spending money locking people up for possession, the county is collecting money. Funds go into roads, libraries and critical services.

Part of the county permitting process is reassessing property values at cannabis farms. Values are going up across the board, which leads to larger tax receipts to the county. Half of all local property taxes in Carpinteria Valley go directly to the Carpinteria Unified School District.

Where did you go to, 2019

Posted on December 31, 2019

Time flies when you’re having fun. For CARP Growers, 2019 was a year of dedication—- both to the community we share and to bringing cannabis cultivation into full compliance with regulators and into alignment with neighbors. 

Our 2019 milestones in a nutshell

1. Permitting in place   

Glass House Farms received full permitting and business licensing after a unanimous vote by SB County Supervisors. To satisfy the appeals process, we reached out to atmospheric scientist Will Vizuete of University of North Carolina. He said conclusively that cannabis does not foul our local air. That’s a good thing, and we hope neighbors who had concerns find comfort in knowing that cannabis farming has no unique ability to harm those around it. (Yes … it’s nearly 2020, and we know from being on the farms every day that cannabis isn’t dangerous. Still, it was important for scientists to have the final word on air quality.) In the words of Santa Barbara County Supervisor Peter Adam, the farm operation that got permitted represented the platinum standard for cannabis farms. We look forward to all responsible farms reaching the finish line in the permitting gauntlet.

2. Supporting local schools and youth programs

Community outreach through philanthropic partnerships is a big part of why CARP Growers was established. To this end, we became aware of needs at Carpinteria Middle School last spring, and through many discussions with administrators and counseling experts, we were able to support the hiring of a youth counselor at the school. This means children will have mental health services available to them on campus in an effort to build a healthy culture of success for local students and families

We also threw our full support behind Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and its mission to cultivate “Strong, Smart and Bold” girls. This is such a great institution, so it was a no-brainer when the call came in asking for support from farmers. “An Evening in Bloom,” in September, was a fantastic experience and successful fundraising gala.

Graham Farrar and Jason Downs of Glass House Farms

3. CARP passes its 1st birthday in April

For the second year of our nonprofit, in April CARP Growers elected a new board of directors and officers. Graham Farrar of Glass House Farms became President, Kyle Hardy of Cresco Labs became Treasurer and Anthony Staal of Arroyo Verde Farms joined the board as Secretary. The rest of the board of directors is as follows: Hans Brand, Tristan Strauss, Mike Palmer and Winfred Van Wingerden (past president). This board has acted in lock step in its leadership in establishing what it means to be a responsible cannabis farmer. 

Important developments have included consulting with engineers to improve odor control, developing uniform landscape plans, working with avocado growing neighbors and supporting schools and Carpinteria causes including the following: Carpinteria Arts Center, Tomol Interpretive Play Area, Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, Junior Warriors Football, Carpinteria Lions Club Festival of Trees, California Avocado Festival, Carpinteria Valley Girls Softball League, Relay for Life Carpinteria, Franklin Trail Turkey Trot, Coastal Cleanup Day and several other community causes.

In Cannabis, Arroyo Verde farms employs 100 workers.

4. $6.7 million collected by Santa Barbara County in cannabis taxes

Part of being a responsible farmer is paying taxes. In 2018, CARP Growers supported a ballot measure that would allow the county to collect taxes from cannabis farmers. This tax, that applies only to cannabis commerce, is used in enforcement and can be spent on critical county needs like roads, libraries and mental health services. With more cannabis retail coming on board in the future and other cannabis-related ventures, the county will only reap greater benefit from the healthy ag economy and cannabis farming. 

DID YOU KNOW? Local property taxes pay for our local schools. Part of the county permitting process is reassessing the property values at greenhouse farms. That means property values will go up and revenue to the schools will follow. 

Hello 2020
We can’t control the future, but reaffirming the goals of our mission and remaining dedicated to improving our community is the launch point for a promising new year. We will continue inviting neighbors onto farms. Cannabis farming is an open book, and shedding light on our transparent farming operations is the best way to overcome the shadow of stigma. CARP Growers will continue to tell its story in 2020. There’s plenty to talk about, from great economic news for our entire area, to the family farmers and hundreds of employees who are a community among themselves. 

Our big goal for the new year is to launch an environmental initiative that will be a long term investment for Carpinteria Valley. There’s work to be done, and when possible, CARP Growers will step up and pitch in to continue to grow a better future for all of our friends, neighbors and soon-to-be friends. 

Here’s to a joyful 2020!

‘Tis the Season

Posted on December 2, 2019

Just like that, it’s December and time to get together, be thankful and spread love to everyone in our orbits. There are a couple of ways CARP Growers is GIVING BACK this year. You can be part of it.

The Lions Club Festival of Trees in Carpinteria is the must-see event of the holiday season. Big winners!


First is the annual Carpinteria Lions Club Festival of Trees. It’s on display at 700 Linden Avenue through Dec. 14. CARP Growers has a tree decked out in the bounties of local agriculture. In all, there are about 20 trees donated by local businesses and service groups. Admissions to Festival of Trees is free and it’s $1 per raffle ticket for a chance to win a tree. Winners announced Dec. 15.

The “Homegrown Carpinteria Christmas” tree sponsored by CARP has over $1k in locally shopped gifts and gift certificates. The “big prize” is that Lions Club donates all proceeds to community causes like school parent groups. 

Take in the lights and delights of the holiday season on annual Holiday Lights Tour.


We are also proudly powering the Parents for Canalino School Holiday Lights Tour. By powering, we mean providing the trolleys, so this event is a true fundraiser for the schools. Buy a ticket and that purchase price won’t go toward paying for trolley rentals. It’ll go to school supplies, field trips and other important classroom needs. The Holiday Lights tour takes place on Saturday, Dec. 7.

A portion of select purchases from The Farmacy SB will go back to Freedom Warming Centers, which hosts shelters all over the county.


Freedom Warming Centers do a lot of heavy lifting for the housing challenged segment of our communities by opening temporary emergency shelters during inclement winter weather. This year, The Farmacy of Santa Barbara has teamed up with CARP Growers member farms to GIVE BACK a portion of sales in support of FWC. Customers at The Farmacy can count on 5% of their purchases of local products going back to Freedom Warming Centers for items like socks, blankets and whatever else is needed for these critical, life-saving operations in Santa Barbara County. 

Cresco California joined Santa Barbara Channelkeeper last week to scour the creeks of litter before rains came and washed the trash out to sea.


Sometimes the holidays and winter season call for rolling up our sleeves and giving a gift to Mother Nature. In preparation for the first significant rains of the season, a team from Cresco California got out and cleaned up the Carpinteria Valley watershed. Volunteers collected over 100 pounds of trash before the rains could wash it down the creeks and into the ocean. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Cannalysis Testing Lab Dishes on the Science of Clean Cannabis

Posted on November 18, 2019

CARP Growers Honorary Member Cannalysis does a lot of the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting that’s necessary to protect consumers and deliver clean, quality cannabis to the California legal market. All legal California cannabis has an extra stop before making it to the dispensary … that stop is the testing lab. Cannalysis is the lab serving many CARP Growers member farms, and is an expert in the procedures and protocols that make California cannabis a safe and trustworthy product. We caught up with Cannalysis and asked a couple of questions about the technical side of testing labs and the state system of ensuring all cannabis consumers, workers and the environment have strict protections as provided by law.

White coats abound inside the Cannalysis labs.

Cannalysis Overview: 

Cannalysis is a fully licensed and ISO/IEC 17025 accredited analytical cannabis laboratory servicing the entire state of California. We use validated scientific methods to analyze cannabis products for cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, and dispensaries to California state requirements by the Bureau of Cannabis Control 

Tell us about what cannabis is tested for at your lab?

Cannalysis tests a variety of cannabis and hemp matrixes, from flower and biomass to crude and distillate, in multiple forms (see image for a more comprehensive listing).  Cannalysis offers 10 analysis types including: potency (cannabinoids), chemical residues (pesticides), residual solvents, heavy metals, microbial, filth & foreign material, moisture content, water activity, terpenes, mycotoxins.  Cannalysis also recently added the analysis of Vitamin E Acetate, a chemical compound that may be linked to the vaping-related illness that has swept through the U.S. in the past month.

What are some instances when cannabis doesn’t pass the test?

A cannabis sample can fail for a variety of reasons. One of the first tests performed when a sample comes in the lab is filth & foreign material. Filth & foreign material is a visual inspection required by the state. The purpose is to check for contamination of product from rodent hair, fecal matter, soil and cinders, etc.  Furthermore, the presence of chemical residues, or pesticides, within a cannabis sample can lead to a failure if action limits set by the BCC are exceeded. A California compliance panel of the 66 most common and concerning pesticides, insecticides and fungicides is performed on both LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS machines to give accurate quantification of this panel.

In the supply-chain, at what point does cannabis stop off in a testing lab?

If the test is for California compliance, the sample is required to be tested at the distribution step in the supply-chain before it goes into a licensed retailer. However, as a lab, Cannalysis can service every portion of the supply-chain as it relates to R&D testing. We work with cultivators to ensure they have mitigated potential for pesticides or presence of various species of microbials such as bacteria and fungus.  We also provide ‘bag and tag’ services during biomass transactions to ensure clean growing practices have been adhered to and that material is clean before continuing to processing. By that same token, we work with manufacturers to provide insight into extraction and processing techniques, and confirm that there are no pesticides, heavy metals, or residual solvents in their end product.

Does Cannalysis provide services to help growers with quality control?

To expand more on what was mentioned above, Cannalysis works closely with cultivators to help refine their processes and continually find solutions to drive efficiencies.  Even though most cultivators have implemented tested SOPs and integrated technology, such as automation, there are instances where improvement is possible. Some examples of this include root cause analysis for such things as heavy metals or pesticides. We have tested soil, swabbed vents, and carried out potency comparison studies between the stages flower takes from plant to pre-roll.  Locally we have even worked to test surrounding plants and soil in an effort to work alongside local crops to help foster and create symbiotic relationships.

What role does the state play in the testing system?

The state sets the standards for everything from sampling to required testing and destruction or potential remediation of failed product. As a licensed third-party cannabis testing laboratory by the state of California we are required to undergo annual audits to ensure our SOPs adhere to guidelines and standards.  

If a consumer is buying product on the black market, what types of risks are they taking?

The toughest part about purchasing products as a consumer is that many may not even realize they are purchasing from a “black market” retailer.  Before diving into the variety of risks, it is imperative that consumers educate themselves on where to find licensed retailers and get in the habit of asking for a COA (certificate of analysis) for each product they are looking to purchase; also if they do have questions they should contact the lab that tested the product and have them walk through any terminology or testing. That said, some risks that are assumed if these actions are not taken and a potentially non-tested product is purchased, include contamination and ingestion of harmful pesticides, heavy metals, and other microorganisms or toxins.  Additionally, the potency may not be as indicated leading to either heightened or lessened effects.  

Have you ever had an opportunity to test black market cannabis? If so, what did you find?

We as a lab have not had the opportunity to test black market cannabis in any capacity, however, if individual consumers are curious about what is in the product(s) they purchase we are more than happy to help test, and subsequently walk through the results. We pride ourselves on transparency and want to help consumers better understand the products they use and purchase.  Furthermore, and finally, Cannalysis refuses to support the black market in any manner, including testing.  

What are a couple of neat, “sciency” things you’d like to share about your testing facility?

In an effort to create more efficiencies in the lab, the use of robotics has been introduced. This is due in large part to the hiring and work of our Director of Automation & Robotics, Chris Scholl.  His work has helped to improve the precision and accuracy of testing results, which can fall victim to mistakes as a result of human error. By injecting robotics into the lab workflow Cannalysis has completely eliminated human data entry while also developing a way to transmit data between devices (ie. instruments and scales).  Robotics has also allowed for the batching and prepping of samples, eliminating the human component for such tasks as solvent addition and weighing. The heavy use of automation also allows users to track the progress of their samples in real-time. It also allows users to access Cannalysis’ APIs to automate the flow of data between third-party platforms while integrating directly with internal ERP systems. This further reduces the chance that human error will lead to mistakes that could be costly for cannabis purveyors.

Meet Kaelana Organista: a Carpinterian working in a cannabis career

Posted on November 15, 2019

Kaelana Organista calls Carpinteria home and has since before her career brought her into cannabis cultivation with Headwaters, which operates a farm in Carpinteria and has its headquarters in Summerland. Kaelana works on the sourcing end of Headwaters’ distribution arm, so in addition to being on the Carpinteria farm, her territory extends to North County Santa Barbara all the way to Salinas, where she seeks out brands and premier products in the emerging legal cannabis industry. Headwaters is one of a dozen members of CARP Growers, which overall employ over 900 in Carpinteria Valley.

Headwaters Carpinteria farm crew takes its family photo. (Fran Collin Photography)

Q&A with Kaelana

Q: Tell us one neat thing about you.

A: I am 4th generation Carpinterian. 

Q: What’s your favorite Carpinteria spot off of the Headwaters farm?

A: The same as everyone else — the beach 

Q: How did you land in the cannabis industry?

A: A close friend knew the Headwaters crew, I connected with Headwaters, and was working here shortly after. 

Q: What do you do for Headwaters?

A: I work in the sourcing department. I visit farms in north county Santa Barbara to Salinas and look at product to purchase for our sales team. I’m transitioning into working with brands and getting cannabis for their product needs.

Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned about cannabis farming the last month that surprised you?

A: I was surprised at the anticipation of a saturated market affecting market prices without an actual increase in product. 

Q: Outside of cannabis, what is one of your passions?

A: Outside of cannabis, I am passionate about art. In my spare time I enjoy painting, portraits in particular, as well as nature. 

Q: If not for your current career, what would you be doing? 

A: Working in some creative space.