The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) is a pioneering Canadian cannabis company that has revolutionized organic cultivation in a growing, massively influential global space. By planting cannabis seeds in state-of-the-art hybrid greenhouses using proprietary living soil and natural light, the facilities require less water and energy. Indeed, TGOD is also the only licensed producer growing certified organic cannabis at scale – its sustainable, all-natural agricultural methods can serve to inspire organic cannabis growers all over the world.
“We only use naturally occurring fertilizer and never use pest control products or burn fossil fuel – our belief is that organic compounds, like seaweed from the ocean, not only contribute to a better product but also create less impact on the environment,” says David Bernard-Perron, TGOD’s influential vice-president of Growing Operations, who has a master’s degree in plant sciences from McGill University. “We believe organic production supports plants with strong immune systems that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and compounds like CBD. You can see it in the colours of the plants we grow and taste it when the essential oils of our plants are consumed.”
Canada is the first G20 country to legalize cannabis and its system, from sales and licensing to marketing and production, is paving the way for the global community to implement its own set of rules. The Green Organic Dutchman has proven that a company can be both financially successful and environmentally responsible at the same time.
“Cannabis is ultimately being consumed, whether in CBD format or otherwise, and it is important to think about what consumers are putting into their bodies,” says Tia Loftsgard, executive director at Canada Organic Trade Association. “The fact that TGOD has been forward-thinking in planning for the impact on consumers’ health due to the banning of pesticides, additives and colourings as it is outlined in the organic production standards, shows great leadership. TGOD will pave the way for other companies to see that choosing to grow organic is the way to go.”
Through its approach with organic cannabis production, the massive public company has created a product that helps to mitigate the industry’s impact on climate change. “What I find elegant about our system, and it took years of research and development, is that we don’t compromise quality or yield and can grow product with better margins than almost any other company while being certified organic by Pro-Cert, which certifies that we follow the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada standards for organic production. We are giving consumers a reliable product that’s been kissed by the sun,” says Mr. Bernard-Perron. “What we’re doing is trailblazing, and you can see it in the face of our growers. All of us are passionate about our work.”
The work of growers like Mr. Bernard-Perron at The Green Organic Dutchman has created ripples of excitement in the farming world. Gillian Flies is an activist and farmer. She runs the New Farm with her husband and spent 12 years in Africa and Asia working in political development and human rights. Currently the president of Canadian Organic Growers, she thinks the success of TGOD represents a hopeful environmental sea change as the company investigates and moves to include outdoor growth.
“Organic cannabis has an opportunity to regenerate farmland that’s been depleted through conventional practices and sequester carbon and build soil health while creating a product that has a full nutrient profile,” Ms. Flies says. “The cannabis industry has money and influence, and TGOD is leading the way in demonstrating you can be profitable without cutting any corners. It’s clear that for years money has been directed at Big Agriculture and commercial chemical companies, but The Green Organic Dutchman is different. They’re proving organic farming is a very viable business that can also affect positive change.”
For his part, Mr. Bernard-Perron believes that TGOD is just getting started. Laws are changing in Australia, Germany, Africa, Europe and the United States. Cannabis is growing, and Canada is leading the charge for the legal system that other countries can adopt. The Green Organic Dutchman is hiring local farmers and implementing organic farming practices that contribute toward a better world.
“We built tools that didn’t exist for problems we knew were coming. I believe [TGOD] being certified organic will change the approach of other licensed cannabis producers all over the world,” says Mr. Bernard-Perron. “It’s possible to be sustainable, grow a great certified organic product and care about the planet. Not only does it make business sense, but everybody at TGOD thinks it’s the right thing to do.”
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.