Innovator Spotlight: Rainforest Farms
In addition to driving change at the capital, James and Giono have always valued environmental stewardship and applying their principles to growing cannabis. Like most growers, Giono started cultivating cannabis under HPS lamps. When scaling his business into commercial production, Giono re-evaluated his lighting needs to achieve better crop quality while achieving greater efficiency. Under HPS, the rooms required additional cooling and HVAC equipment, and the plants took longer to develop. With the cost of electricity in Juneau running more than 40% greater than the national average, the opportunity to reduce energy consumption not only fit their environmental goals, but also their business objectives by cutting electricity usage and costs in half. His research for broad-spectrum lighting led him to the Fluence SPYDRx PLUS. “I found that with the SPYDRx PLUS the plants grow a lot faster than I am used to. I actually haven’t seen plants look like they have been grown outdoors until I started growing under SPYDRx PLUS, it keeps the nodes really short and produces a healthy stalk as opposed to the stretched-out plants we saw under HPS.” said Giono.
Since growing under SPYDRx PLUS, Giono has seen dramatic improvements in his plants and in the growing environment. As a farmer, Giono’s agriculture experience led him to cultivate with living soil instead of pre-mixed amendments. He relies on foraged amendments harvested from his property and composts his soil after each harvest, staying true to the local and sustainable model the Barrett brothers strive for. “I feel that with the living soil I get a lot more flavor and aroma out of the plant in the end. If the plant has biologically what it needs in the soil, then when its ready to uptake the nutrients its going to have a great output. That output is what I am looking for, that terpene profile and expression of the plant is what maintains that high quality product.” As the commercial cannabis industry in Juneau (and throughout North America) continues to grow, prices for cannabis continue to drop. “If you can’t grow good cannabis and you can’t do it for the right price, it’s all for nothing” said James. By growing in clean, Alaskan living soil, Rainforest Farms is able to produce high quality cannabis. By growing under Fluence LED solutions, Rainforest Farms is able to produce high quality cannabis that is environmentally and economically sustainable.