The San Luis Valley. Largest alpine mountain valley in the world. The size of Massachusetts with just 46,000 people. Rich cultural heritage. It’s where Colorado began. Although economic stats are among the lowest in America, there is a strong sense of community. Rimmed with rugged mountain peaks and dominated by big blue skies.
Farming is where the Valley shines. Generations of innovative farmers have learned how to grow at high altitude, with very little water and soil that needs enriching. From large scale potato and barley operations, to many small farms that thrive collaboratively, to the oldest and largest quinoa farms outside of the Andes, to whole tiny communities that still use the ancient acequia form of irrigation.
Onto this stage, hemp enters, in 2014 when Colorado became one of the first to approve growing it.
Farmers quickly saw the benefits of this plant and began the learning process. Every gathering to discuss hemp was dominated by farmers. Perfect rotational cash crop. Nourishes the soil. Little water usage. Naturally controls weeds. Interesting market potential. Seemed like a good fit!
Growers were lined up, but it’s understood growth can’t exceed the development of the industry. Processing and markets must be in place. The historical trend of shipping raw agricultural product from the San Luis Valley to places far beyond for processing and creating value added products needs to be avoided this time so the people of the Valley can benefit more fully all aspects of an industry.
The San Luis Valley Hemp Company (SLV Hemp), was formed and intended to help solve some of these issues. SLV Hemp was founded in 2014 by Monte Robertson to research and develop products made from Hemp and explore potential markets.
In 2018 two potato and barley farmers, Shanan Wright and Dion Oakes of Wright-Oakes LLC had switched their focus to mostly hemp farming. They initially thought they wanted to partner with Monte who was starting a Hemp Seed Processing Facility. After a year or so Wright-Oakes decided to abandon the partnership discussions and left SLV Hemp to start their own processing facility.
The issue always has been and is, there has to be a market and the market needs to be educated before it starts to adopt products. The market also needs reliable businesses with integrity in order to trust these products. SLV Hemp remains dedicated to being a thought leader in Hemp Seed Processing, education and product development.
Our most important goal so far is to help teach the teachers and educate the markets about the Hemp Plant's potential. Farm to Health, From Seed To Self!
Wright-Oakes Hemp circle, 2017
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