In the world of agriculture, small family farms are becoming a rarity. However, there is one hemp farm that is bucking this trend. As a small family-owned and operated farm, Alive Market Farms is passionate about growing high-CBD strains in Southern California. Josh and Nicole started their farm in 2019 with the goal of becoming fully integrated from seed to bottle. They are committed to providing the best possible products to their customers, and they are excited to update you on their journey so far!
1. Background Of Starting The Farm
When most people think of hemp farms, they picture vast fields of green plants rustling in the breeze. However, Alive Market Farms is changing the perception of hemp farming with their small-scale 1 acre farm.
Josh and Nicole founded Alive Market, a CBD brand, in 2018. At that time, they sourced CBD from small farms in Colorado and Oregon. When the laws in California allowed hemp cultivation, it was their goal to start their very own hemp farm. With years of education and experience on regenerative gardening and living soil, they were excited to finally have the opportunity to put their knowledge into developing their own farm and growing hemp.
Their 1-acre farm produces high-quality hemp while minimizing a negative impact on the environment. Through sustainable gardening practices, they are able to nurture their plants without using harmful chemicals or pesticides. Additionally, by focusing on quality over quantity, they are able to produce a more potent product. As the hemp industry continues to grow, Alive Market Farms is leading the way with their innovative approach to sustainable farming.
2. Owners Starts The Seeds and Harvests
Not only is Josh and Nicole husband and wife and business owners, but they also share a love of gardening. Every spring, they spend hours together selecting the CBD strains they want to cultivate that season. They start the seeds by hand together and nurture them up until they are ready to be transplanted into their prepared field. For Josh and Nicole, their CBD farm is more than just their business - it's a way of life. And they wouldn't have it any other way.
Nicole spends her days running the business, while Josh is out in the field, ensuring that each plant is healthy and happy. Every day, Josh wakes up early to water the plants, feed them compost teas, and scout for pests. Everyday is a labor of love, and they feel grateful for each and every plant, and knowing that their hard work will provide someone with so much relief.
Their hand harvest is a time-honored tradition at this family farm. Each year, the husband and wife team, friends and family carefully harvests the CBD flowers. This is a time to celebrate the bounty of the land and to give thanks for the abundance that nature has provided. They take a slow approach to each harvest to ensure the cannabinoids and terpenes are preserved, which is why they harvest before sunrise. By harvesting before the sun's rays are too intense, they prevent the degradation of these important compounds. As a result, their products retain all of the beneficial properties that cannabis has to offer. This slow and careful approach is just one of the many reasons why their products are so popular. In addition to being effective, they are also safe and trustworthy.
3. The Farm and Farmers Are a Design of Permaculture
It is a closed system in which all the elements are purposefully placed to create an environment that is self-sustaining. Permaculture is a term that is used to describe a way of living and interacting with the land that is based on the idea of sustainability. This means that permaculture seeks to create a society that works with, rather than against, nature. Permaculture is not just about gardening or agriculture, but about creating an entire lifestyle that is in harmony with the earth.There are three basic principles of permaculture that Alive Market Farms practices: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. These principles are applied to all aspects of their life, from personal relationships, to CBD production and giving back to earth by building living soil. Here are some examples:
- The first order of business was to improve the quality of their soil. They had a soil test done, which showed that the soil was lacking in nutrients. They amend the soil and add some organic matter to it. This helped to improve the drainage and aeration of the soil.
- Alive Market takes advantage of utilizing resources on their own land, like soil, native plants, wild flowers, grass clippings, wood chips and water from a well. This helps to conserve money and maintain the same ecosystem.
- The hemp field is situated in a location that optimizes the temperature, wind, and humidity levels for the plant.
- Water is a precious resource, and it is important to use it wisely. At this farm, they have done just that. They have a strong underground well, and they have positioned the ponds and hemp field at the bottom of the mountain so that the rainwater runoff is diverted into the ponds and hemp field.
- They made a Hugelkultur by burying tree branches, logs, and other organic matter. Creating a mound that slowly decomposes, providing nutrients and moisture to the soil. The best part is that hugelkultur beds don’t require irrigation or fertilization – they’re self-sustaining!
- Once they had the soil and water supply they started planting and establishing the main systems of the farm – cover crops, trees, woody crops, and annual and perennial plants.
- Practicing permaculture at the farm goes beyond the boundaries of the property. They also source grass clippings, manure, and mushroom compost from the neighboring farms to help create a more sustainable system. By doing this, they are able to improve the quality of the soil while supporting the local farmers.
4. Living Soil
Living soil is often thought of as a nurturing environment for plants, and it's no wonder why. An active microbiology is essential for creating a healthy soil ecosystem. At Alive Market Farms, they build soil using worms and their castings, protozoa, healthy bacteria, amoebas, kelp extracts and even glacial rock dust. All of these elements work together to create a living soil that is teaming with life. Not only does this create a thriving environment for plants, but it also helps to break down organic matter and keep the soil healthy.
Mulching is an important part of Alive Market Farms. One of the most common ways they mulch is by using a layer of avocado wood chips and grass clippings on the surface of the soil. This can help to reduce the amount of water that evaporates from the soil, greatly reducing the need to water plants. Mulch can also break up clay and allow better water and air movement through the soil, which can help to improve soil health.
6. Regulated By The State and County
Alive Market Farms is a licensed hemp farm that takes its compliance seriously. Every year, the farmers go through background checks, have to register each strain, and the county officials come out to test each strain for compliance at time of harvest. They take their duty to produce quality hemp seriously and are always innovating to ensure they are offering the safest product possible.
7. Purchased a New Farm in San Diego County
Josh and Nicole had been wanting to purchase a second farm for awhile and finally found the perfect one in Bonsall, San Diego County. They fell in love with the property immediately and knew they wanted to build their dream home there and expand their hemp farm. The farm is situated perfectly with beautiful views, a coastal breeze and rolling hills. They are excited to add animals to the farm and create a space that is truly their own. Josh and Nicole feel incredibly lucky to have found such a special place to call home.