BY GEORGIA SAUNDERS
Nestled in an oak grove in a lush stretch of southern Humboldt County, California, sits Moon Made Farms, where sunflowers and wildflowers grow among towering cannabis plants, and a natural pond serves as a watering hole for local wildlife.
This farm is run by Tina Gordon, a radical cannabis farmer dedicated to regenerative agriculture and sustainable cannabis cultivation. Once a committed urbanite, San Francisco–born Tina lived a life “fueled by rock ’n’ roll and underground culture.” Then, 12 years ago, the touring drummer’s itinerant lifestyle brought her to Humboldt County, where she met a woman who would change her life.
That woman was Joani Hannan. A fellow drummer and a pioneer for female and queer performers in the 1950s and 1960s, Joani had lived an incredible life, traveling with the USO and performing with Hollywood stars. Then she settled down with her partner, Marion, to grow cannabis when it was still an illegal crop in California—and spearheaded the radical farming tradition Tina now continues.
Tina took over the farm in 2007, determined to build on Joani and Marion’s extraordinary legacy: “My goal was simple,” she says: “Cultivate cannabis in a way that will improve the quality of life for all living things ... for the land along with the people, the plants, the entire ecosystem.” She does this through traditional, regenerative farming practices designed to increase biodiversity and decrease pollution by capturing carbon both in the soil and aboveground, via forest reclamation, cover cropping, interplanting, beekeeping, and other restorative methods.
Tina has also continued Joani and Marion’s legacy of activism, “using this place as a platform for people to improve and enhance their life skills [and] work skills, encourage health and well-being, and discover their unique talents and relationship to nature. Regenerative farming involves people as well as plants.”
Tina is invested in changing the cannabis world from the inside out, for instance by educating people about sungrown cannabis—plants that have been grown, well, in the sun, without pesticides or fungicides, and with a mindful approach to water conservation and energy consumption. As Tina puts it: “As the industry matures, people and consumers are starting to ask where their cannabis is from and how it’s grown ... How it’s grown matters.”
Moon Made Farms also furthers its mission by partnering with like-minded brands like Brother David’s and Flow Kana. Brother David’s, a nonprofit launched by David Bronner, grandson of infamous soapmaker Dr. Bronner, was founded on the principles of sustainability and responsibility, rather than profit. After searching for a cannabis supplier that shared the same values, Brother David’s partnered with sustainable cannabis supply company Flow Kana and the resulting products are carried throughout its California locations as part of a larger effort to support regenerative farms like Tina’s. Moon Made Farms, with its holistic agricultural strategy, was the perfect farm to supply the new outfit. Today, Brother David’s uses its profits to support drug policy reform—another cause close to Tina’s heart.
For Tina, all this work is a privilege and a pleasure. “It’s been a revelation,” she says. “It was because of growing cannabis that I began tuning in to the way the plants respond to pure inputs and started looking at how I take care of myself on a totally different level.” She hopes to bring the same change to a greater population: “When I cultivate cannabis that can help people, that can contribute to their life experience, and simultaneously nurture the land... that’s the goal.”
This story and many more are available in the Fall "Freedom" issue of EMBER magazine. You can grab a copy at your local MedMen store, Barnes and Noble, or Hudson News.