A healer, botanist, mother, farmer, and former Waldorf school kindergarten teacher, cannabis expert Katie Jeane often refers to herself as being “called” to a particular course of action. Katie has experienced this calling multiple times in her life, and she describes it as a guiding internal voice that has led her to build an earthen cob house by hand as well as use her wisdom and careful eye to grow some of the best sun grown craft cannabis in the Emerald Triangle, including the super rare THCV-rich flower she and her family call “Pink Boost Goddess.” A citizen scientist whose experience in botany has yielded fascinating results, Katie Jeane and her family steward a business they call Emerald Spirit Botanicals.
I love outdoor grown cannabis grown in natural soil, under the sun, especially the fine produce nurtured by women. I believe it is important for the plant to experience rain upon each leaf. The stress of growth, plant from seed not an easy venture, Just as it is important for the wind to blow through the stalks, making them stronger and sending more potent THC to the flowers at the top. The plant is female of course, where all the intellect is housed. Outdoor growing in living soil is my preference having grown up on a Biodynamic/Organic farm in New Jersey. When the soil is alive, there are possibilities in terroir. Just as in wine, cannabis can offer a “taste of the place” that brings the afficianto closer to the source of their healing. Sure it’s nice to smoke perfectly tended indoor cannabis, sometimes that’s all I can find out here in the east. But when travel brings me to the west coast, there is very little that I want to smoke more than outdoor grown in the Emerald Triangle. Flow Kana is the guide to this message where the cannabis really does taste like the earth and the redwood sap oozes through every puff. The irony is these flavors or terroir- the taste of the place remind me of the wines that I want to drink. Not overly oaky and if possible made with natural yeasts. Are you sure this wine/speak isn’t like describing the cannabis growing up in the Mendocino hills? Or is it wine? Try them together and see! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Until then, cheers! WB
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me about yourself. What brought you to the cannabis/botany world and into healing? What was your inspiration to do what you do?
Katie Jeane=KJ: Working with cannabis medicine has always been very important to me, and I can truly say that I’ve been called to it, as I must to all of the important moments in my life. I grew up here in Mendocino County and was blessed with my sons Joseph and River when I was very young. I had my first son when I was just 18 and have been a single mom for most of their lives.
In the mid- ‘90s, when I was 24, I got my first homestead, which is now one of our farms. It was a completely undeveloped 20 acres, and I managed to scrape together $15,000 for the down payment. This property was owned by three women who had wanted to move here and never could. They had it for 20 years, and when they heard that I wanted to buy it, they carried the mortgage for me. They liked the idea of an independent woman living on the property. So, did I.
I moved onto the land with my sons, who were just 3 and 5 years old at the time, and we lived in a tipi while I built a cob earthen house myself by hand. I followed Michael Smith’s book, The Cobber’s Companion, and did it using the dirt from the land mixed with sand and straw.
I was called by spirit to do that.
After that, I was called to be a Waldorf kindergarten teacher. I did that for eight years and then 14 years ago, I was called to cannabis. Cannabis was still illegal in California, so I had to become elusive. On the positive side, I was able to just be home on the land working.
Today, my sons are 26 and 28, and we run Emerald Spirit Botanicals together. My older son Joseph married his wife Catherine on our property, and she is now an integral part of our team. We have two farms about 20 minutes away from each other, and we move around from one to the other. This year, I sleep on one farm and my sons sleep on the other farm, but we do everything together. We have a house on one farm where we have communal meals every day.
WB: Please tell me about your company? What do you do that’s different, therefore better than your competition? What stigmas do you face?
KJ: Emerald Spirit Botanicals is a family-owned business managed by myself, my two sons, and my son’s wife. We are an organic farm that cultivates vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs, and cannabis on two plots situated high in California’s Emerald Triangle. Sustainable, spiritual, and scientific — we work with strains and genetics to grow the best possible plant medicine, focusing on cannabis with diverse cannabinoid and terpene profiles. We’re also a Sun+Earth Certified farm, which means we only grow cannabis under the sun and in the ground, sustainably and regeneratively, without chemicals or other unnatural inputs. The taste of organic produce is incredible, and likewise, cannabis that has been cultivated organically produces an unparalleled experience.
Together, my sons and I share a mission to tend to and care for the land while producing nourishing food and medicine. I carry a vision to produce cannabis from seed that has a unique range of cannabinoids, this includes CBD, THCV, CBDV, and more. The breeding aspect of farming is really my favorite part, because it is the seed that will lead us to a healthy and diverse future.
We’ve become well-known for our Pink Boost Goddess, a THCV strain we bred with the encouragement and enthusiasm of Flow Kana co-founder and CEO Mikey Steinmetz. This is our fifth crop of it. It’s said to be good for appetite suppression, quelling pain, focus, and anxiety among other things, and for me, THCV does help suppress appetite.
The strain came into my life from a couple of local women. One of them is a generation older than me. She’s a nurse and farmer, and she had been intuitively working with this strain and doing the breeding work with it. We had a seed swap in 2015, and she shared it with a mutual friend. That friend had it tested and one plant was high in THCV. We were blown away and curious. I wanted to explore this rare cannabinoid. I got a couple hundred seeds and tested them looking for THCV. I got four. I grew the four plants and began from there.
What’s glorious to me about the effects of THCV is that it also inspires a shift in perspective. It helps me to see the larger picture and what’s really important. It’s also good with reminding me to experience gratitude; it helps me to see things positively even if they may be challenging.
We’re also known for our 1:1 THC: CBD strains, particularly Harmony Rose. In 2013, when CBD language first came into my world, I felt really strongly called to it. When someone mentioned CBD, I felt a giant huge YES! — and I knew it was my path. The first year we worked with it, I was focused on high CBD, but I also had some 1:1 strains, and the plants told me that the 1:1’s were the best thing for the people. That’s the medicine for them; it’s not the high THC, it’s not the high CBD, it’s the place in the middle; that’s the best medicine to be putting out to the people in the world.
Our family knows that it is extremely important that seeds are produced in an environment that is healthy, diverse, and balanced — which is why we tend the land in the way we do. We favor growing large individual plants over rows of smaller ones, and many people believe that we are sacrificing productivity by making our garden this way, but we value more the creation of a beautiful space from which our medicine is born than the efficiency mindset that’s pushed so hard in modern day agriculture.
WB: What is your six- and twelve-month plan? What obstacles exist in your professional world? How do you anticipate removing them?
KJ: My long-term plan is simple. I intend to continue vitalizing the soil in my garden and weaving together pollen and flower to produce new medicine. I am excited to continue breeding our strains forward to see if I can bring in more THCV to each plant as well as create a more balanced relationship with it and some of the other cannabinoids with which I am working. I hand-pollinate our cannabis each season in order to produce the best seeds for the land. Flow Films recently produced The Spirit of Healing, a short film about our farm that does a lovely job of showing how we farm, save seed, and hand-pollinate the plants.
I am also very excited to watch the Sun + Earth movement gain momentum. All of the farmers who carry the Sun + Earth seal value the long-term health of the land, the ecosystem, the seed, and the diversity of medicinal qualities this plant can offer. We see ourselves as stewards of the land and messengers of this plant. It’s a movement that is in stark contrast to grow labs focused on THC percentage. This plant is nature’s highest gift, and we are working to spread that message.
WB: What is your favorite food memory from childhood? What does your favorite (birthday) meal look like now? Favorite food?
KJ: Food is a great pleasure for our family. It’s also a good time to pause, to be in conversation. That’s always been important to our family life.
My favorite food memory from childhood is of the boysenberry season. My grandma had an amazing boysenberry patch in the little garden where she taught me to grow plants, and every July the berries would ripen. I would help her pick them to make jam and a pie or two. (Of course, half of them really went straight into my mouth.)
My favorite meals are those that we make from the farm and the wild. We all love tacos. So a special favorite would be blue corn tortillas, pinto beans, tomato cucumber salsa, and lettuce all from the farm with some wild venison.
I love food! It is so amazing how the Sun and Earth provide us with so much delicious nourishment! I have many favorite foods. My top four would be kale, berries, cheese, and corn.
WB: What is your passion?
KJ: My passion is my work with seeds. Life begins with a seed. A small handful of seeds can provide food, natural resources, and plant medicine for thousands. Kale and corn and bean are all of the seeds that we need, because that’s food security right there.
I am also passionate about giving gratitude to life-giving natural forces — taking the time to pause and appreciate what they do for us. I often find myself marveling at a tree or at a spring that comes up from the earth and pours out water and nourishes a whole watershed and ecosystem. There is so much we can learn from nature when we allow ourselves the time to acknowledge and honor it.
Learn more about Emerald Spirit Botanicals on their website and at Flowkana.com