Collaboration is the foundation on which the Wildfire Collective was built. As we’ve watched the profits of seasoned, professional farmers continue to dwindle in an era of commercial agriculture, cannabis has ushered in an industry ripe with possibility. Across Ontario and Canada, farmers are looking for new opportunities and rural areas, in particular, are in pursuit of economic development. Small towns that were previously devastated by industry moving off-shore or mega-corporations wiping out the independently-owned shops on main streets are now welcoming the legal cannabis industry and sharing in the benefits.
Already, the Collective counts four farms that span across Ontario, from the shores of Lake Huron to the Ottawa Valley. In addition to our headquarters in the valley outside of Canada’s capital city, we have farms in Lambton, Glencoe and Lanark. With plans to gradually scale each site to maintain the small-batch quality, the Collective will look to double the number of partner farms in the next four years to meet the demand for exceptional and sustainable cannabis in Canada.
While consumers in more mature markets like California have had the opportunity to experience the difference in terroir – the effects of the environment on the plant and finished product – from one region to another, Canadians largely have not. What does a pink kush grown on the lush Vancouver Island taste like compared to the red earth of PEI? Canada has many different microclimates and some of the richest soil on earth. Much like a CSA program, it is nice to know your farmer and support local business.
Set in the heart of the beautiful Ottawa Valley, our Renfrew farm is our headquarters, tucked away on 130 acres, with 40 of them being exceptional highly productive organic farmland. The well-draining sandy loam soil is ideal for cannabis and isn’t contaminated by pesticides or herbicides like most of Canada’s desirable conventionally-farmed land.
“We spent a considerable amount of time carefully selecting a site that had the potential to produce exceptional, organic cannabis. Ensuring we had the support of the municipality was another essential criteria,” said Spear. “This location will be our first wholly-owned site in operation, and we can’t wait to get a crop in the ground next spring and our products into the hands of consumers late in the year.”
Located near the shores of Lake Huron in Southwestern Ontario, our partner farm in Lambton anticipates being able to produce a yield of 1,500 kilograms in 2020, and 5,000 by 2021. The farm, which has 150 acres of tillable land, is run by long-time organic farmer Carrigan McDougall, who is optimistic about the construction that is already underway.
“We’ve had shovels in the ground for months and we’re absolutely pumped to get going. Our license is considered an advanced application so we’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to have plants in the ground soon. Everything will be done outdoors and organic, but the result will absolutely be craft. I’m excited.” Carrigan McDougall
Construction is in full swing y at our partner farm in Glencoe. Also home to 150 acres of cultivable land, Glencoe will dedicate itself to growing high-grade cannabis, organically, outdoors. The site is being run by seasoned farmer Greg Martin who is excited to be a part of the Wildfire Collective.
“When the idea of joining the Collective came across my desk, I was immediately interested in getting involved. We’ve been growing organic crops out here for decades and cannabis has always been a passion of mine. I can’t wait to see how this great partnership works out in years to come.” Greg Martin
Our wholly-owned farm in Lanark County is beckoning for plants in the ground but an untimely interim control bylaw has halted construction. We expect to have our cultivation license in 2021 and are eager to work with the community that, on the whole, has been very supportive.
This site is critical for the long-term success of the Collective, as it will be home to R&D for our cutting edge outdoor-specific cultivars specifically selected for the various Canadian growing climates. Having a dedicated site for this purpose will eliminate the risk of cross-pollinating our commercial crop, which would drastically decrease yields. It also allows us to test pest and disease resistance without putting our commercial crop at risk. This will produce a more consistent, predictable results year over year with minimal crop losses.