Meet Your Farmers: Jenn & Joey of WildLandFarm
We’re introducing a new “Meet Your Farmers” series here on the blog at Mendocino Generations. With 60+ farms as active members in the Mendocino Generations Alliance, we thought you’d enjoy getting to know our farmers on a more intimate level. Get to know everything from how our farmers got their start in cannabis farming, to the strains they grow, the techniques they use and more. We begin this series with Jenn Procacci and Joey Gothelf of WildLand Farm just outside of Covelo, California.
Q: Please introduce yourselves
A: Jenn: I am a 35 year old artist, cannabis farmer, and community advocate. I am a board member for the Arts Council of Mendocino County, a board member for Round Valley Growers Association, the manager for the Friends of the Round Valley Public Library's Commons space, and a member of Mendocino Generations. I came out to Mendocino County by chance 10 years ago, from Philadelphia, and fell completely in love with the wild beauty and rugged way of life here. I had never seen a cannabis plant or heard of the Emerald Triangle! I went back east for a few years, but soon returned with my partner to start our life out here. I am so proud to say we now own our land and farm! Having started out as trimmers, that feels awesome. I'm on my 7th year as a cannabis farmer. Our farm, WildLand, is located on 10 wild acres, adjacent to the Mendocino National Forest right outside of Covelo. We are at 2300' elevation, on the southern side of Anthony Ridge, in a sweet banana belt above the Black Butte River. We farm organically and sustainably, and have a passion for growing and preserving the unique heritage strains of our area. I have been blessed to learn from many incredible cannabis community members along my journey with this sacred plant.
Joey: I am a 38 year old artist, Cannabis farmer and the head of our sales department. I have been coming to California almost yearly my whole life as I have family out here. I always loved it here and dreamed of one day calling it home for as long as i can remember. I was co-owner and operator of a clothing company in Philadelphia for many years. When I decided to close that chapter in my life I wound up trimming with Jenn at a mutual friend's farm outside of Willits. I fell in love with the scene, the wilderness, and the rugged lifestyle I saw that fall (and also Jenn). I had already planned on moving to California at that point and when Jenn and myself began dating we decided to come out here together and start a life together. She was already familiar with the area and brought me in with her to Covelo. Teaching me about growing plants and sharing her experiences and vast knowledge with me. We have been growing Cannabis together for 7 years and continue to do so now on our fully licensed farm: WildLand. We are so proud to have a farm on a beautiful and wild piece of land that we own together just outside of Covelo.
Q: How did you get your start in farming Cannabis?
A: Jenn came to Mendocino county by chance 10 years ago from Philadelphia, after getting a job via the internet to work at Emandal Farm outside of Willits. She had never heard of the Emerald Triangle or seen a cannabis plant. That fall, a friend of a friend offered her a job trimming. She returned seasonally every year to work the harvest, and then decided to came out here to live full time and farm cannabis 7 years ago. Joey came out to trim 8 years ago at a friends farm outside of Willits. By chance Jenn had the same plan and we wound up working and living together for that trim season. After that we decided to move to California together and wound up calling Covelo home which led us to pursuing Cannabis farming professionally.
Q: What makes WildLand Farm unique?
A: WildLand is unique for many reasons. It is clean and remote with no chance of contamination from any Agriculture in the area. We farm a piece of land that has remained as it is since the beginning of time untouched by human hands. We have done very little to alter the natural state of the land and our plants grow in the ground in minimally altered native soil which we believe is key to a true example of our appellation. Our beautiful southern facing hill provides our farm with intense full sun and a diurnal swing. We farm only local naturalized heirloom strains that have been bred and raised in this climate. You will not find any "big name," mainstream strains on our hillside.
Q: Which strains are you growing this year at WildLand Farm?
A: We work primarily with heritage genetics that our unique to our area of northeastern Mendocino county. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the generations of cultivators who developed these genetics and shared them freely within our community. This year at WildLand we are growing: Harlequin Blue Goo (Harlequinn x Blue Dream x Jahgoo), Dragon Eggs (WildLand exclusive secret genetics), Platinum Blue Goo (Waska Farms Genetics: Blueberry Afgooey x Platinum Goo), Jelly Roll (Waska Farms genetics: Garberville Purple Kush x Sour Diesel x Highland Afghani Platinum Goo), ACDC Jah OG (Waska Farms genetics: ACDC x Jah OG (Jahgoo x Cherry Creek OG Kush)), Jah's Silver Haze (WildLand Exclusive genetics: Jahgoo x Super Silver Haze), Jah's Cookie Jar (Jahgoo x Platinum GSC), Pink Cadillac (Stinky Pink x Black Cadillac).
Q: How would you describe your journey to compliance this year in California?
A: The journey to compliance has been an interesting one. A lot of creative problem solving has been necessary to fit our farm into the model that compliance has presented us with. We are not the average farm it seems. There have been a lot of phone calls with officials to try and explain to them what we have going on on our hillside. That being said those phone calls have usually been both productive and interesting for both parties. There is a lot of issues to be worked out over time with compliance as it stands now. Bureaucracy has a tendency to treat its participants in a "one-size fits all" approach and that is definitely not the case with Cannabis Farming (or any agriculture for that matter). It has been both exciting and frustrating at times. Being a part of Mendocino Generations has made the transition from the shadows to the light so much easier with sharing of information and the emotional experience that it creates. We expect things to get better and easier over time as the Cannabis farmers and the bureaucrats sit down at the table together to make it work for everyone.
Q: Tell us about your farming techniques
A: We grow outdoors, full sun, and in the ground, in amended native soil. Our plants are 15 feet apart, in planting beds that hold between 1 to 3 plants each, on a southern facing slope. After years of growing in the shade in our backyard, this is our dream garden! We grow a nitrogen fixing, bio mass producing cover crop over winter. In the spring, we chop and drop the cover crop on the bed, and cover it with dry soil amendments and manure. After it breaks down over the course of few weeks to a month, it is filled with available nutrients and beneficial soil biology and is ready to be planted in. This year we also broke ground on a new hugelkulture trench, where we have intensively planted the varieties that we are pheno-hunting. The dry soil amendments consist of things like fish meal, seabird guano, bone meal, etc. This provides most of the nutrition we need for the season. During the growing season, we give the plants compost tea, fermented plant juice, and sprouted seed teas that we make ourselves. We release beneficial insects throughout the growing season for pest control, and spray as little as possible (only when we notice a problem).
Q: Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: Our pleasure. We’d like to share that our love for the cannabis community runs deep, it is an incredible thing to be a part of. We feel beyond blessed to be here, farming cannabis during this historical transition. We are holding space for the wild success of the small farmer, and the preservation of the traditional ways of this community which created a world famous cannabis culture as well as the largest cannabis economy in the world!
To learn more about Jenn & Joey’s journey at WildLand Farm, we encourage you to follow them on Instagram here. Stay tuned as we continue to document the incredible stories of our farmers and the hard work they do growing some of the finest cannabis Mendocino County has to offer.