The time has come for us as humans to get a grip on our consumerism and this also applies to cannabis production. There is one simple fact that everyone who lives on this planet needs to think about daily,
The top 6” of soil keeps the entire planet alive. Without this top layer of soil, we are all dead. Period.I bring this up because standard agriculture that uses chemical methods to grow plants is killing this top layer of soil, which then makes it more reliant on even more chemicals, and erosion becomes uncontrollable. You can only rape the land for so long. Eventually chemical methods will no longer work, pests will be resistant to your chemical pesticides, and plants won't grow in your dried up eroded dirt.
But I grow weed dude, I don't really think this applies to me does it?
It does indeed my dude, it does indeed. In the short term weed is grown indoors, outdoors in soil beds, and pots, and in greenhouses. To a lesser degree it is grown straight in the grown. Hemp however is grown mostly in the ground, but still there are indoor farms and greenhouses growing hemp.
In the long term cannabis as a whole will be grown in the ground just like any other traditional crop. When the entire industry is grown outside in the ground, how we grow that crop will have a major impact on our planet. Just like traditional ag, if we choose to use chemicals to grow cannabis, the result will be an inferior end product, and a fucked up earth. The top layer of soil that keeps us alive will be dead, and our planet will have yet another nail in it's proverbial coffin.
Erosion will wear away fields, water will be contaminated, and over spray from chemical fertilizers and pesticides will be in the air, and in us. None of this is good for our planet or us. The soil will slowly die, and the way you have grown for years will no longer work. Eventually we are all fucked.
But I'm growing weed in a warehouse today, 10 years from now doesn't matter.
Oh yes it does. Let's look at hydroponics in today's marijuana grows. You buy these expensive ass bottles, an inert growing medium, and then pump this “nutrient rich” water into the medium and flush it all down the drain. You are using RO water which dumps 4 gallons per 1 gallon used. This is just fucking insane. You are literally throwing out 4 times the water you are using, but then you eventually throw it all out, and now with high levels of chemical nutes in it. In case you haven't noticed, water is a dwindling resource, and doing this is not a long term way to ecologically grow plants.
I grow in soil though, so this for real doesn't apply to me.
It sure does. When growing in traditional soils indoors, outdoors, etc.. you use that soil one time, and then throw it out. That's wasteful as fuck. Also traditional soils are watered until there is runoff, wasting tons of water. We already covered that water doesn't have an unlimited supply. Your soil will need to be replenished of nutrients because to save money the company that made it juiced it full of fillers. This leads back to using bottles, having runoff with nutes in it, and its not that far removed from hydro. Although you get to say,” I grow in soil”, it's not anywhere close to how mother nature works.
I just saw a report that said growing organically is fucking up the planet.
Sad to say, but most of what we do is fucking up the planet. Including harvesting organic inputs for gardening. Really this whole ramble is about choosing the technique that fucks up the planet the least amount. That's about as good as we can do at this point. No-till living soil is that way of growing that is the least damaging currently.
The weed industry won't ever be big enough to make a difference.
Everything makes a difference. All the small things add up to make a big thing. All it takes is one person to change the entire world. Don't believe me? Both Gandhi & Hitler changed the world, one for the better and one for the worse. It's the same with farming. You can choose to promote regenerative practices that will sustain healthy lands for generations to come, or you can rape the land and inject chemicals into it so that future generations are fucked. Industries overlap, and technologies can be shared. With the high price of cannabis currently it, allows the farmer to experiment on different techniques that can be used to grow their crop. With traditional ag the margins are much tighter, thus slowing the farmer themselves from experimentation. Instead of relying on ag companies to “teach” you new methods that involve their products, you can develop your own. These methods can then be shared with other farmers of traditional ag crops, thus creating change. Again, all it takes is one person to change the entire planet.
Alright, you have some valid points, what are the main benefits if I switch to no-till living soil?
With aged no-till soil, your water usage can be dramatically reduced compared to hydro or traditional soil products. There is zero water runoff. You can setup a full commercial grow without a floor drain in your warehouse. There's no need for one because if water hits the floor, you watered to much. With no-till you can either buy inputs, or source inputs locally. If you have a line on rock dust, or fish scraps, you can use that in your soil. Try this with hydro. Once you buy those bottles, you are a drug addict that has to keep buying those bottles to get your fix. This is not the case with no-till living soil.
With no-till and a little extra land, you can plant your own inputs and use them fresh, dry, or make ferments, all from things grown right on your property. Comfry, yarrow, nettles, hemp, etc.. can all be grown and used as inputs. If you have farm animals, or plant scraps on your property you can use the waste as a compost source for teas, and even mixing new soil. Again, hydro can't do this because you will be addicted to those bottles.
The number one thing about growing in no-till living soil is that you use it over and over and over. Hydro and traditional soil can't do that. This will save you money on inputs, and labor, all while saving finite resources on our planet. You get to help the planet, and still be able to make a living. It's a win win in anybody's eyes.
There is no perfect answer, and not one thing we do on this planet will fix the issues we are facing. However if long term the industry changes over to no-till farming practices, and we keep input sourcing as local as possible, then we can slow down the rate at which we are fucking up the planet. With the right techniques we can even take that chemically filled traditional ag land, and return it back to a dark, rich, earthy smelling, microbially active soil that will resist erosion, and retain nutrients.
6” of soil stands between you and the end of the world, what are you going to do about it?