What Does Organic Mean?
When you think of an organic product, the first thing that comes to mind are probably words like “clean”, “pure”, “untouched” and “healthy”. We all hope those are part of what has gone into any organic products we use or consume. First let’s define organic and what makes something organic.
The actual key definition of organic is not what you might believe – it is “related to or derived from living matter” (Google dictionary). This is the chemistry lesson part of what organic is – it has to be something that comes from something that was alive. High quality pure spectrum hemp oil definitely comes from something that was alive – the complete aerial parts of whole plant hemp. At Vid, our processing is done under controlled conditions as quickly as possible to retain as many beneficial components as possible. We know that the less we mess with things and the closer they are to the original source, that it will be most likely easier for our customers to find ways to utilize our CBD products in a way that best suites them.
The second definition is the one we want to zero in on, “(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.” We are a strong believer in growing and processing our pure spectrum CBD oil with the introduction of as few chemicals as possible. We use no artificial pesticides, and use only natural pest control. This might involve hand checking plants, natural insect control, or other means. We know that chemical fertilizers are one of the key problems in the aquifer systems, and the water that goes on our plants also goes in our bodies. Our only fertilizers are natural and organic, including our composts. We use as few chemicals as possible in any processing, and as natural ones as we can find. We are also vegan, non-GMO, animal cruelty free, and pareve. We vet all our vendors for these same standards as much as possible, too.
Organic is a labeling term created by federal regulations and applied to any agricultural product that is produced using practices that cycle natural and landed resources, ensure the ecological balance, and support biodiversity. The endorsement seal from the USDA stating “USDA Organic” is a certification standard that is a lengthy, expensive application process. Organic standards also are supposed to make sure producers build up their soil, protect their water, conserve wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Artificial fertilizers, synthetics, sewage and sludge, genetic engineered materials, and reprocessed water for irrigation generally may not be used.
Both our CO2 (carbon dioxide is part of the air around us) and ethanol (an alcohol) used during extraction are natural. Ethanol is made from corn, and is the same grain alcohol that is found in ethyl alcohol contained in adult beverages, cosmetics, food additives, and other agents. Ethanol has to be used to get the oil – and the “sticky” – from the flowers of the hemp plant to get a release of the important components that contain the high levels of cannabinoids in our CBD products. While the ethanol we use for processing is very concentrate, it is not harmful in very small amounts. Still, we low temperature distill our products to remove absolutely as much as we can, just to be totally safe. You can always rest assured that all Vid products, from our hemp plants to CBD to the MCT we use as carrier oil are fully organic, as well as any other essential oils, waxes, or materials we compound. We would not want anything less in our bodies, and we are pretty sure you don’t either.
What about the USDA Organic standard?
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the federal guidelines for organic agriculture. Actually, the federal standards are very low, and actually, the federal government does not take care of the certifications any longer. It is a long and expensive process that is now handled by the states, and many states, like Colorado, have gone to private vendors that handle the certification process. Colorado is very conscious of keeping their beautiful state clean, and the program runs pretty well.
Since hemp was only legalized as an agricultural product (again) in the US in Dec. 2018, there has not been enough time for most in-state hemp growers to go through the process, as you have to submit a lot of paperwork and go through a number of inspections. Also, the responsible growers, such as Vid’s farmers, already grow to organic and well beyond organic standards, since the standard only states that a field has to be “fallow” from artificial pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemical application for 3 years. The federal standard does not take into account air quality or other things that can seriously affect a crop.
Our farmers utilize pasture lands to start, and they have not seen chemicals in decades for the most part. We then plant cover crops mostly of cilantro and alfalfa for green cover to encourage pollinators and to retain moisture. We do what is called organic no-till planting, which disturbs the soil as little as possible, to avoid erosion and loss of nutrients. The cover crops and no-till keep weeds to a minimum, and hemp naturally discourages weeds. Native pollinators love our fields, because the cover crops offer them high quality nectar and protection. We use no artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides, period. A well and thoughtfully planted hemp field creates a biome, or special ecosystem, that is healthy and sustaining, just like Mother Nature would prefer.
Vid is committed to products that are as clean and as pure, as healthy as we can produce. We believe that is part of our moral compass and is part of our whole life philosophy about making products that can afford people and their pets improved wellness*, better quality of life*, and are sustainable for the planet.
What is non-GMO hemp?
One of the big explosive watchwords in organics these days is GMO. A lot of people do not know what GMO actually means and how it applies to hemp farming, however.
A GMO is a genetically modified organism, meaning that genes have been moved around by scientists in a laboratory to make a different, new organism – as far as the genes, or chromosome structure looks like. The scientist who developed the first GMO-modified vegetable, a tomato, was Dr. Ron Turco, head of the agronomy department at Purdue University in 1994. While one of the big Cannabis growers is in contract with Bayer Pharmaceuticals (think Monsanto) working on the task, Dr. Turco, and others in the know, all state there is no evidence to date of hemp that has actually been successfully modified into GMO hemp as yet. There would be little benefit unless a hemp plant that produced no THC could be developed, and only things that have a high rate of return get the attention of major pharmaceutical/chemical houses, including Bayer-Monsanto.
Closely related to GMO concerns are the field of GE – Genetic Engineering. Close in action, a GE organism has had modifications done within their genetic structure that may be outside the gene or chromosome level, be done as a string replacement in the gene structure, or even the introduction of genetic material from another species. The latter tends to be the worry of bioethics because there is a long history of assuming some things are safe, turning it loose, and finding out they are not. Either way, GMO and GE really have no practical use in hemp production, and are not as Mother Nature created it. The Vid scientists and farmers that are close to the land and the final product, CBD, believe she got it right the first time.
What has gone on with hemp since time began, though, is selective breeding. This is where the various “strains” you may have heard about come from. What’s involved is pretty simple, really, as it is the farmer or cultivator watching to see which plants in their crop have particular characteristics they want. In the case of hemp it might be higher terpene content, or less of certain cannabinoids and more of others. Varieties of hemp that make larger flowers, are self-flowering and not darkness determined for bloom, or other desirable characteristics might be those that are watched for. The different traits are “joined” by cross-pollination to produce an offspring that has the desired characteristics of the parents. It is a time consuming process, but allows the farmer or cultivator to select the progeny that has the best combination and continues from there. This is how the multitude of different Cannabis strains or cultivars have been developed.
Calling a selective bred variety of hemp or Cannabis a strain has become the common nomenclature, but is not actually accurate. When you selectively crossbreed plants for improved characteristics, they are known as cultivars, and if you really want to be correct, a hemp plant is a chemovar. Hemp strains are mostly affected by the soil content and moisture availability, as well as light exposure (hours of darkness) for the production of desirable components. It is the nutrient uptake, the photosynthesis, and when the plant has access to water and how much, that determines as much as lineage in how many phytonutrients, how many and how much cannabinoid content exists, and how many terpenes and flavonoids are present in cultivars.
Why do growing standards matter?
Hemp is an amazing plant. Far from the “wildwood weed” image it had for years, hemp is a highly adaptable plant that is one of the few that processes ground chemicals. (Cattails are one of the other strong contenders for removing pollutants.) Their extensive root systems hold soil well and help prevent erosion. What does root structure have to do with how the stuff is grown?
Since hemp is such a versatile plant, it will grow in almost anything. The quality will vary a lot, as well as the components. But, because it will grow in almost anything, it can be grown in almost anything. It is really important to know who you are getting your product from, and what their standards are and even philosophy is regarding their product, what their intent is, and how they grow and process their CBD products. The care and ethical beliefs held by the growers and processors are the ones that make the difference on what is in the products you use to enhance your wellness*.
Think of a comparison in the quality of food you purchase. You can buy fast food, junk food, or organic produce and grass fed protein. What goes into your meals and how you provide your body nutrition makes the difference in how you feel when you combine it with a good, healthy lifestyle, plenty of water, and some exercise. No matter what you do, if you do not give your body good fuel that does not add toxins to your system, you probably will not feel any better.
What is Integrated Organic Management in Farming?
There is a much bigger picture than just using non-GMO seed and organic practices that go into growing the best quality hemp possible for all the products in the Vid family. In agricultural circles it is called integrated organic management. IOM is an intra-discipline approach to all parts of the process in raising product. Besides the actual pest control and fertilization, things like nutrient and light cycles, and how the health and condition of certain parts of a field or grow house can affect other parts of the house or field are important. Enhancing the soil and maintaining a safe, clean environment for the growing plants is crucial, as well as sticking to our moral compass when it comes to our social values and beliefs.
HPN/Vid- CBD strongly believes the entire organism is a result of all the parts, and that each part is as important as the next. It starts with our land and goes all the way through how we help our customers with any questions or needs they have. We use the best biological methods and materials blended with the best technology that works the safest with the most natural chemicals (things like alcohol are chemicals, “a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared”) we can find. All these parts come together as a holistic whole, with a careful balance between the parts to protect the environment, meet our social responsibilities, and provide the best possible product while maintaining a responsible, honorable level of profitability for our business. Our farmers are small business owners, and we want them to be able to feed their families and keep their farms.
What is sustainability?
One of the really great things about hemp is the sustainability of the hemp plant itself. A sustainable product is one that does not deplete natural resources by being grown and processed, with a goal of ecological balance. Hemp gives back way more than it requires. A lot of research is going on to see how hemp can be used in building materials, insulation, flooring, concrete products, feed for livestock, and other things. Since over 485 cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and other components are found in hemp, a great deal of research is being done about how hemp can be used for health, and what it may be used for in the future. The surface is just being scratched on what hemp can do, and there will be a lot of exciting discoveries coming yet. Watch our LEARN, blog, and What’s News? areas for new information. We want you to know about it too.
What are Best Growing Practices?
Colorado is known for its beautiful natural environment, clean air, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and quality of life. Coloradans are really proud of were they live and they want to keep it as beautiful a place for their children as it always has been. That is why the state has numerous agricultural standards covering energy use, environmental impact, sustainability of the products being grown, and best management practices. While these are not mandatory programs, they are a solid list of suggestions that help agricultural concerns do the right thing and pass it forward. As we work on proprietary hemp that brings even better things to you, our customer, we have added fields in North Carolina under those same practices. We also have a second processing plant there to minimize shipping and storage in order to be able to get CBD products to you as quickly as possible with as little footprint as possible. HPN believes in green practices and does many of them and was doing them before Colorado even wrote their lists. We believe in doing the right thing for the customer, and the planet.
You have our word on that.