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.
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.
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.
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!