I’m not going to lie: IMHO the Emerald Cup is a hub of a wheel of the machine crushing small cannabis farmers in California right now.

This column has detailed elsewhere how prices have dropped off a cliff here in Northern California. The growth was out of whack. That’s why the fabled Emerald Cup moved to L.A., for the growth that limelight brings—and the national press. 

Still, Santa Rosa’s consolation Emerald Cup Harvest Ball is not a bad deal. The music program is solid, and the stoner-business vibe feels posh like a trade show should.

But are we just glorifying the Big Money beasts? The growth-hungry entities again run amuck, capturing all the attention with their neon-lit geodesic booths?

Having emerged from the sacred grounds of the Emerald Triangle, Cup head Tim Blake and the Emerald Cup team know the importance of the farmer. They want to honor those community members and to do so, they launched the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative with a variety of events at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball as well as the 18th Annual Emerald Cup Awards.

“The Emerald Cup began as a celebration of small-batch Northern California farmers,” says Michael Katz, executive director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. “Tim Blake and his daughter Taylor … made sure that this year they would put their resources into providing free access to small farmers because of the incredible challenges that the small-farming community is facing.”

I’m not going to pretend that this initiative is enough to set things straight, because truthfully, I don’t think anyone knows what to do to fix this.

But it is something big for these 27 farmers: Bella Farms, Briceland Forest Farm, Bud Farm, First Cut Farms, Flower Lady Farms, Flying Tiger Farm, Frogville Farms, Hash and Flowers, Higher Heights, Lovingly & Legally, Magic Meadow Farm, Mendocino Family Farm, Mendocino Producers Guild, Native Humboldt Farms, Neukom Family Farm, Noble Gardens, OG Gardens, River Txai Farms/Arcanna Flowers, Sol Spirit Farm, Sovereign 707, Spring Creek Farm, Sunnabis: Humboldt’s Full Sun Farms, Sweet Creek Farm, WAMM Phytotherapies, Whitehorn Valley Farm, Woodnote Farms and Yuba River Organics.

Frankly, many of these farmers aren’t going to have much of a web presence. But if you think you recognize a brand, or its name implies it’s from your area, look into the farmers above. Many of these growers will gain traction and start to “grow” into statewide names, like the champions of cannabis so boldly on display at the Ball.

Others, thankful for the boost to help stabilize their business, will be happy to go on “growing” as they always have, attentive to the earth and the plant it brings, bringing from their farm the gift of cannabis to their community.

Originally posted on PacificSun.com