|CENTRAL SAANICH, BC – Sun+Earth Certified, a nonprofit third-party certification for regenerative organic cannabis, has just approved its first farm in Canada. Sea Dog Farm was founded in 2017 in Central Saanich, British Columbia, at the south end of Vancouver Island, near the provincial capital of Victoria. In addition to holding a micro-cultivation license for cannabis, the 5-acre family farm grows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, berries, herbs, and cut flowers, using no-till, regenerative organic practices. To learn more about Sea Dog Farm, go to: www.seadogfarm.ca.
Sun+Earth was founded in 2019 by cannabis industry leaders, experts, and advocates with a common commitment to regenerative organic agriculture, farmer and farmworker protections, and community engagement. Currently, there are more than 70 Sun+Earth Certified cannabis farms and manufacturers in the States of California, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington, and now in British Columbia, Canada. To learn more about Sun+Earth Certified, go to: www.sunandearth.org.
“We chose to pursue Sun+Earth certification because we believe it is essential to use both organic and regenerative practices in our stewardship of the land, and while we grow for our community,” said Sea Dog Farm co-owner Katy Connelly. “The Sun+Earth seal will help our customers identify products that were grown using methods that help to sequester carbon and build healthy soil and don’t use fossil fuels or petroleum-based chemical fertilizers,” continued Connelly. “As more consumers become aware of the devastating impact indoor cannabis has on our planet, we hope they will choose ethical and sustainable products.”
Cannabis certified by Sun+Earth must be sungrown and cultivated on farms that strengthen habitats and build living soil. No chemical fertilizers or toxic pesticides are used to grow cannabis certified by Sun+Earth, whose standards go beyond both the USDA Organic and Canada Organic Regime. These rigorous standards encourage the planting of cannabis alongside food crops, and the strategic use of cover crops, composting, and reduced soil tillage. Such practices help sequester carbon from the atmosphere, further reducing a farm’s carbon footprint.
Organic cannabis ranks high among consumers who consider their health and protection of the environment as top priorities. According to an online poll conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies in 2017, organically grown and processed cannabis was important to a majority (57 percent) of Canadian medical consumers and nearly half (43 percent) of recreational consumers. But, even though Canada has a federal organic certification for food, personal care products, and textiles, cannabis products are excluded from its scope, and cannot be certified under the Canada Organic Regime nor bear the “Canada Organic” logo. This landscape compels producers like Sea Dog Farm to seek out third-party organic certifications like Sun+Earth in order to meet consumer preferences.
“Sun+Earth strives to certify farms wherever cannabis can be grown under the sun, in the earth, and without toxic chemical inputs,” said Sun+Earth Certified director Andrew Black. “Sea Dog Farm is the first Sun+Earth Certified cannabis farm in Canada, but hopefully not the last,” continued Black. “Sun+Earth aims to point the cannabis industry—across borders—in a cleaner, healthier, and more ethical direction, and provide needed support for struggling small-scale farmers in our regenerative organic community.”
Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2016. Although cannabis is regulated at the federal level, its distribution and sale is regulated provincially. Until last year, licensed cannabis cultivators in British Columbia could not sell their products directly to retailers. In August, however, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB), which regulates the distribution and sale of cannabis for the province, launched the Direct Delivery Program, allowing small-scale growers and processors to sell directly to independently licensed retail outlets.
The Direct Delivery Program assists small-scale farmers by removing the BCLDB from the distribution equation, allowing for greater transparency and a means to get their products to consumers more quickly. Starting today, pre-rolled cannabis from Sea Dog Farm’s 2022 harvest is available for direct delivery from Western Extraction on Vancouver Island to independent cannabis retailers throughout BC.