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Local startups make space for natural growers to talk shop 

click to enlarge Dave Pitt, dabbing CBD hemp extract. - DANIEL JITCHAKU
  • Daniel Jitchaku
  • Dave Pitt, dabbing CBD hemp extract.
Head up the steps of Studio A64, above The Original Hemp Cafe downtown, on monthly meetup nights (details below) and find yourself at the taproot of a burgeoning underground scene being spearheaded by local cannabis growers, mushroom farmers and general agriculturalists alike.

Bringing them all together is a mutual interest in “natural farming.” Though related in part, natural farming here shouldn’t be confused with conventional organic farming, which often still relies upon manufactured inputs to the soil. Instead, natural farming amongst this crowd refers to a specific approach to land cultivation first articulated by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka in his 1975 book The One-Straw Revolution. Proponents of natural farming make the distinction that it is not merely an agricultural approach, but an entire way of existing that places humans back within the framework of nature, rather than drawing a separation. Such has been the impetus and emphasis behind the first three Natural Farming Meetups Studio A64 has hosted.

“These meetups aren’t necessarily about the application of cultivation methods; they’re more about making these concepts an ethos for our whole lives,” says Dave Pitt, who along with his brother, Jon, form the organizational duo behind the gatherings.

Continues his brother Jon, “I want it to be a meeting place, plain and simple.”

Who you might meet depends on who shows up, but topics of conversation can range from fermenting techniques and effective composting methods, to seed-saving and the role of soil in building a more equitable food system. The Pitts have designed the meetups’ format to be horizontal, allowing for attendees to float from one conversation or demonstration as they see fit. Whether you’re interested in knowing more about the role of fungi in soil systems, or how to best extract medicinal benefit from cooking with cannabis, there’s likely to be someone around able to go in-depth. And if all that seems intimidating, or you just want to hang out and talk about your favorite strain while rolling one up? That’s okay, too.

“We try not to attach boundaries or preconceived ideas to things because those can be limiting, and you could miss out on something that might happen organically,” says Dave.

This laissez-faire approach to structure gives the meetups an air of accessibility, with attendance regularly filling the majority of the small lounge space.

“We’re building in a much more grassroots way,” says Jon, referencing previous attempts to get similar communities together in the past.

Part of that grassroots effort stretches into the internet, where each brother operates as the head of his own start-up: Sativica Wellness, for Dave, 28, and Colorado Natural Farming, for Jon, 30. Separate but together is how the brothers describe the dynamic between the two entities, emphasizing that each has a distinct function but similar guiding principles.

“Sativica Wellness is about application in the human body, while Colorado Natural Farming is more about application in the agricultural sense,” says Dave. His brother continues, “Dave’s really geared towards people’s day-to-day wellness — you know, waking up in the morning and feeling good enough to go about the day. I’m really more into the mechanics of how something like that manifests physically.”

Where they become intimately linked: when Jon’s CBD hemp provides Sativica’s CBD extract. A combination of the words “Sativa” and “Indica,” Sativica’s name is meant to evoke the full spectrum of the cannabis plant, and for the brothers, they see each of their ideas as working in concert to help people better achieve access to the full spectrum of their own health. They understand language such as this can sometimes put them on the fringe of public opinion, but as transplants from Texas, the brothers also understand that ideas they would have once deemed Utopian are now entering the mainstream more quickly than ever.

“It’s a timing thing. The culture is really open to it, people are really open to it, we can feel comfortable talking about this stuff publicly,” says Jon.

For them, these meetups are an ideal forum to further their goals of knowledge dissemination and community-building.

“A lot of things are still unfolding,” says Jon, admitting that any future plans beyond hosting one meetup a month are TBD. But for now, he and his brother are just happy to have people to talk to.

“These meetups are simply the culmination of four years of dreaming about the possibilities of a social space that we would want to be members of. Being cannabis users in a prohibition state for the majority of our lives meant that we were isolated. We simply wanted to break that isolation and learn from those around us.”

Check @SativicaWellness and @Colorado_Natural_Farming on Instagram for monthly meetup dates; the next will be on Feb. 24.

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