Organic farming and regenerative agriculture

In the vibrant yet challenging landscape of California's cannabis community, Sun Roots Farm is a rare gem in Covelo, California. As you drive up the winding entrance you enter a picturesque landscape and have the incredible experience of viewing the farm's beautiful gardens. There you will be greeted by giant cannabis plants that reach more than 12 feet tall and weigh an impressive 10 to 20 pounds each.

Founded by Forrest Gauder and Patricia Vargas, Sun Roots Farm is a testament to the resilience and integrity within the cannabis community.

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps owner Forrest Gauder and Patricia Vargas among the giant cannabis plants at Sun Roots Farm

By pursuing a lifestyle based on sustainability, their approach has created an enchanting, forest-like atmosphere and grown huge plants that require a ladder for proper care. This landscape is common in Mendocino County and, due to the dry weather, provides the perfect environment for growing huge cannabis plants.

The vision of the founders of regeneration

Over the past 12 years, Gauder and Vargas have converted Sun Roots Farm into their permanent home. Rooted in regenerative agriculture, the couple not only cultivates cannabis plants, but also tends to various vegetables, herbs, fruits, mushrooms, native medicinal plants and perennial gardens.

Gina Coleman/WeedmapsFruits, herbs and vegetables grow healthily on the farm

They rely on contributions from their animals to feed their garden. Barns full of chickens and fields of alpacas serve as exemplary models of regenerative agricultural practices. The farm's goal is to increase biodiversity and adopt a circular economy, where farmers return all organic material back to the soil and the farm. This system promotes harmonious coexistence between the country and its residents.

Exclusive seeds and varieties

The farm prides itself on its commitment to seed-only farming, a distinctive approach that sets it apart from others. Gauder described the process: “We grow all of our plants from seeds every year. We select pollen from the previous year and put it on specific plants to form new ones.” [strains] – then we collect these seeds. By mid-February, we will break up the selected varieties, grow them in a greenhouse…and propagate them until they reach 5-gallon pots.”

Gina Coleman/WeedmapsAll Sun Roots Farm strains are grown from seed every year

The decision to breed exclusively from seed is based on the farm's philosophy of embracing genetic variability and maximizing plant vigor. “The reason for growing from seed… is genetic variability,” Vargas said. “We only grow from seeds. Local breeding has played a crucial role in shaping plants that adapt well to the valley’s conditions and exhibit positive traits such as mold resistance, pest resistance, frost resistance and more.”

Sun Roots Farm's main variety is Velvet Purps, which was bred locally over ten years ago. This variety comes from the valley and was created from various crosses by Gauder's family and colleagues. Its origins lie in Jah Goo, crossed with its brother T2 and Magic Bus, creating a strain with impressive purple characteristics.

Gina Coleman/WeedmapsSun Roots Farms outdoor grown Velvet Purps

“The plant produces anthocyanins to protect itself, but it is also purple,” explains Gauder. “Anthocyanins are also found in all types of fruits and vegetables. It's the pigment, the color. This compound has positive properties when consumed by humans, such as: B. Antioxidants, and protects the plant. A few years ago we had a bad frost that destroyed a lot of gardens here, but all of our purple plants did well.”

Packed with trichomes and an intriguing blend of berry and pine flavors, Velvet Purps unfolds luxuriously on the palate. Bred and grown only by Sun Roots Farm and a few local friends, this unique strain exudes a distinctive charm. Aside from the sensory delights, it also provides a calm and relaxing kick, making it an ideal choice for evening consumption.

In a market saturated with options, the exclusivity of varieties like Velvet Purps underscores the farm's commitment to offering something truly exceptional.

A farm committed to sustainable practices

The farm is also Dragonfly Earth Medicine (DEM) certified. “Being DEM means achieving certification beyond organic farming through third-party verification,” Vargas explained. “It is a community committed to conscious growth and creating closed systems.”

Sun Roots Farm maximizes what the land naturally offers, be it blackberry vines for tea or alpaca manure from their animals. “It's similar to a home lifestyle,” Vargas continued, “integrating cannabis cultivation with an element of integrity into the product.” From closed loop systems and water conservation to wildlife sanctuaries and companion planting, the farm is a testament to sustainable living techniques.

Gina Coleman/WeedmapsChickens contribute to sustainable practices on the farm

Vargas also emphasized the importance of observation and mindfulness in her approach: “Before you start harvesting or before you start breaking up all the earth, take a moment to observe.” Gauder added: “As long as we keep things in the Keeping garden covered magic always happens. So we feed the beetles that eat the material on the ground that feeds the plants. It is a continuous cycle of life, rebirth, death, life, rebirth, death.

The company extends its commitment beyond the growing season. After harvesting, they chop up the plants, mulch them with oak leaves and cover them with hay. This creates a winter blanket that turns into a layer of beautiful topsoil in spring.

Gina Coleman/WeedmapsGauder lights up a rose petal made from roses grown on her property

At Sun Roots Farm, calming environments and sustainable living foster a deeper connection to the products they produce and those we consume. The Farm is a reality where integrity, intention, and regenerative practices come together to create a sustainable farming haven in the heart of California.

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