Environmental health is a universal concern. Everyone wants to improve upon the environment, but there are functional issues at play. Agriculture is incredibly important to society, but since the earliest farmers found out about crop rotation, some crops have played a role in adding to rather than depleting resources.
Cannabis and Sustainable Agriculture
Cannabis, like other crops, can deplete some resources. But research is discovering that cannabis can also enrich soil providing additional nutrients, and cleaning the surrounding area. Cannabis has even been proposed as a rotational crop.
Mono-cropping is the practice of only drawing out a single crop, such as tomatoes or beans. When mono-cropping is done with marijuana, the results are predictable. Over time, there can be lower and lower yields. Farmers today can supplement the soil with additional fortification, but that doesn’t change the core problem: Resources are being used up.
So, even when marijuana is the primary crop, there’s an advantage to crop rotation. Under crop rotation, multiple crops are used which promote different types of nutrient.
Cannabis provides for something more than just sustainable agriculture, but also regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative Agriculture: The Future of Environmental Agriculture
Regenerative agriculture is agriculture that actively makes the soil and surrounding environment better than worse. With a myriad of sustainable policies, organic pest control services, and other improvements, farmers can involve themselves in regenerative agriculture rather than sustainable agriculture. Marijuana is an excellent crop for this, because many of those who are using marijuana want to make sure that it’s produced sustainably.
Here are the benefits of marijuana:
- It can help depleted soils. Marijuana can introduce many nutrients into the soil which then makes it more productive for other crops. Farmers can benefit from crops of marijuana because they’ll help them rotate their crops with a crop that is extremely valuable.
- It can prevent pests. Marijuana makes it possible to reduce pests organically. Not only does this help the marijuana itself (which can then be badged as organic), but it also means that other surrounding crops may have reduced pests.
- It reduces water consumption. Marijuana is a crop that needs less water production. This is also important because many crops across the world are using up quite a lot of water, such as almonds.
- It reduces power consumption. Marijuana also reduces power consumption simply because it doesn’t take a lot of power draw. Marijuana plants are fairly easy to grow, even if advanced, sophisticated farming technology has been used to draw out more THC/CBD.
But these things also don’t happen in a vacuum. Farms need to take conscientious action in order to really see the regenerative benefits of marijuana.
Better Farming for Farmers
For farmers who are truly interested in the benefits of regenerative agriculture, there are some specific things that they may want to do. First, they should start using natural light more than artificial. When grown inside, marijuana requires quite a lot of lighting. But using natural light is far more environmentally-friendly. Marijuana can be grown in greenhouses and protected to take advantage of natural light rather than having an array of other lighting systems.
They may also use rainwater systems; this reduces the amount of water that has to be used. Rainwater collection is an excellent thing if the farm can do it; some farms in some states may be forbidden from using rainwater collection systems because it can reduce the amount of groundwater available. Mulching can reduce the amount of soil erosion and also preserve water, which is an excellent benefit for those who both want to engage in regenerative farming and those who want healthier plants.
Finally, there are worms; worms are being used throughout may sustainable, eco-friendly farms in order to make the soil a little richer. While worms can be more difficult to use than just directly enriching the soil, they provide long-term effects without artificially impacting the environment.
Overall, regenerative agriculture isn’t just better for the farmers. It’s also better for marijuana quality. More nutrients do mean that the plants will grow better, and it also means that over time, farmers will be able to get better yields from their crops. But farms do need to operate with intentionality, too; they have to engage in sustainable, regenerative methods and commit to eco-friendliness in the future.