On July 18, 2019, Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. a manufacturer of hemp CBD extract products, entered into a research initiative with Rodale Institute and Natural Care to pioneer regenerative organic hemp farming.
After being unfairly outlawed by the alcohol industry decades ago (because it’s hard to distinguish visually from its beer-competing cousin, marijuana), sanity is being restored, and hemp—formerly one of the largest crops in the U.S., primarily for hemp rope and fabrics—is now legal to grow in 36 U.S. states.
This new research ties the restoration of this valuable crop with the rise of the regenerative agriculture trend. It will be conducted at Pocono Organics, a start-up regenerative organic farm in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. In alignment with its corporate social responsibility values, Charlotte’s Web has been active in responsible farming practices since 2016.
As people become increasingly aware of the benefits of organic and regenerative agriculture for their own health and the health of the planet, Charlotte’s Web is partnering with Rodale Institute, the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, to advance the development of healthy agriculture practices for the burgeoning hemp industry.
Natural Care, one of the largest and only regenerative organic hemp research and cultivation operations in the country, is funding the multi-year research initiative. In collaboration with Rodale Institute, Natural Care will oversee and host the research at the Pocono Organics farm.
Over the past five years, Charlotte’s Web has been transitioning its hemp farming from conventional to sustainable organic agriculture practices. Charlotte’s Web already has certain cultivation fields that have been certified organic as it pursues broad organic certification for its end products. This new research initiative will take that effort further. Regenerative organic agriculture, which has been pioneered and led by Rodale Institute for more than seventy years, goes beyond simply “sustainable” by supporting the ecosystem’s natural tendency to regenerate.
“We’re very proud to be an active partner supporting this research, which aims to bring regenerative agriculture to hemp in this region of the country, through our collaboration with Rodale Institute, Natural Care, and Pocono Organics,” said Deanie Elsner, CEO of Charlotte’s Web. “As the industry leader, Charlotte’s Web aims to continually raise the bar for responsible hemp farming practices. It is our intent that the data from this research will support furthering sustainability for hemp farming.”
Hemp has demonstrated a powerful potential to promote soil health, which is critical for supporting cleaner water and air, as healthy soil can store a significant amount of the greenhouse gases. A Rodale Institute study estimates that converting the world’s croplands and pastures to regenerative organic agriculture could offset an entire year’s worth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
“As hemp farming returns to the United States, we’re excited to lead the way in working with farmers to grow this crop without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and in a way that supports soil health and the health of people and the planet,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute executive director. Rodale Institute’s research on hemp, now in its third year, is focusing on the crop’s ability to suppress weeds, one of the greatest challenges for organic farmers, while improving yields for subsequent crops and reducing tillage. Preliminary results are promising, showing hemp as a viable cash and cover crop option for farmers. “We’re proud to be working with industry partners who can roll out these regenerative practices at scale around the country.”
The expanded research at the Pocono Organics farm examines new CBD varieties that grow differently, comparing the impact on soil health, nutrient consumption, and the ability to suppress weeds.
“We know that research is a key component for transitioning conventional and organic agricultural practices to regenerative organic standards – both to promote soil sustainability and to increase hemp crop quality,” said Ashley Walsh, president and founder of Natural Care and its sister company, Pocono Organics. “So, it was a priority for us to provide the financial and farm resources to not only bring this vital hemp research to life, but to also stand alongside industry leaders Rodale Institute and Charlotte’s Web in this mission.”
The research will be jointly published by Charlotte’s Web, Natural Care, and Rodale Institute to help promote regenerative organic farming practices in the hemp industry, which is still a relatively new and fast-growing area of the agriculture sector.
“Better understanding hemp’s nutrient uptake and soil health can improve organic and regenerative hemp farming,” said Bear Reel, Senior Director of Cultivation R&D at Charlotte’s Web. “We have a responsibility to give back to the planet and at Charlotte’s Web, we believe that organic agriculture is the future, and that hemp crops can be a great addition to an organic crop rotation on regenerative organic farms.”
Charlotte’s Web is also using the research to determine the best hemp varieties to grow in a large portion of the Appalachian Region including New York state, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. is the market leader in the production and distribution of innovative hemp-derived cannabidiol (“CBD”) wellness products. Founded by the Stanley Brothers, the Company’s premium quality products start with proprietary hemp genetics that are responsibly manufactured into hemp-derived CBD extracts naturally containing a full spectrum of phytocannabinoids, including CBD, terpenes, flavonoids and other beneficial hemp compounds.
Charlotte’s Web product categories include CBD Oil tinctures (liquid products), CBD capsules, CBD topicals, as well as CBD pet products. Charlotte’s Web hemp-derived CBD extracts are sold through select distributors, brick and mortar retailers, and online through the Company’s website at www.CharlottesWeb.com. The rate the Company pays for agricultural products reflects a fair and sustainable rate driving higher quality yield, encouraging good farming practices, and supporting U.S. farming communities.
Natural Care grows the only certified regenerative organic industrial hemp for the wellness, food, textile, and manufacturing industries in North America at Pocono Organics. Pocono Organics is one of the largest, public-facing regenerative organic farms in North America and is located on a 105-acre parcel of land in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
Rodale Institute, the global leaders in Regenerative Organic Agriculture practices and research, will manage the farm operations at Pocono Organics. The farm draws power from 3MW, 25-acre solar farm, it reclaims rain water from its greenhouse roofs for irrigation, and it has initiated a robust composting program as part of a first-of-its-kind, “closed loop” Farm-to-Track initiative with Pocono Raceway.
In addition, the farm property will include a beautiful venue for special events, an organic farmer’s market and café, and host a calendar of annual festivals. Pocono Organics is the winner of the Green Sports Alliance’s 2019 Environmental Innovator of the Year award. Natural Care is a Women Business Enterprise-certified company that is focused on growing and distributing products that will heal people, the environment, and the planet.
Featured photo courtesy of Charlotte’s Web.