America’s First Cannabis Grange
The Grange, if you’re unfamiliar, is a national farming community organization for families and farmers. It’s been advocating for American farmers, farming communities, and families since 1867.
While on our winter break from our weed tours, we went to visit Hessel Grange #750, America’s first cannabis focused Grange at their Conscious Cannabis Christmas event. As with other Granges, it represents and welcomes all farmers, but the vast majority of the farms it advocates for grow cannabis among their other crops.
The event was a cannasseur’s delight! Several of The Emerald Triangle’s best organic cannabis farms were there, Sun Roots Farm, Radicle Herbs, Tall Tree Society, Down Om Farms, Bunny Moon Farm, Mandolin Gardens, Hill Craft Farms, and our good friends, First Cut Farms, and Martyjuana Farms were there, representing some of the very best pot farms in California’s Emerald Triangle.
Several groups who support the farmers were also in attendance, like The Mendocino County Producers’ Guild, who promote sustainable small weed farmers from several legacy Mendocino farms, Africali Culture, who on this side of the pond provide licensed cannabis transportation services to local cannabis farmers, and have their own family pot farms in South Africa, and Sun + Earth Certified, a fair trade certification group who certify pure sungrown cannabis grown in the earth without the use of chemicals by fairly paid farm workers.
President of The Hessel Grange, Vince Scholten has run an organic nursery in Sonoma County for years, originally specializing in banana plants that can grow in Northern California’s more temperate climate, now moving into cannabis. When The Hessel Grange fell into dormancy, he saw an opportunity to both revitalize the Grange, and to organize the small family cannabis farms that are getting squeezed out by large corporate cannabis grows and onerous regulations that hurt small organic family pot farms, and to organize these farms who never were able to organize before because they had to keep under the radar by, among other things, staying isolated from one another. It’s a constant uphill battle, but he’s hard at work saving both the Grange and the farmers. His military experience gives him a strong work ethic, and the Grange’s ultimate success seems to be predestined.
You see, The Hessel Grange was originally founded in 1949 – on 4/20.
You could say that every visit there is a 420 tour. If you find yourself in Sebastopol, check ’em out!