Table of Contents
In this Tech Moment, we sat down with Autumn Shelton and Hanna Brand, co-owners of Autumn Brands. Over a century ago, the Autumn Brands family was still growing flowers, but back then, the flowers they sold were tulips. Today, their crop is a little more controversial.
This Santa Barbra-based, fifty-percent women-owned coastal cannabis cultivator places great emphasis on naturally grown crops. Throughout their farms, they avoid the use of pesticides and other chemicals that are unideal for human consumption. Additionally, as community stewards, when their neighbors complained about the smell of cannabis cultivation, these women set out to make things right.
When Women Join Forces
To explain her journey from being the CFO of Hanna’s father’s previous company to being the co-owner of Autumn Brands she is now, Autumn Shelton said “[while] going down this path of cannabis becoming regulated and legalized we decided to switch over to cannabis under the collective model. His kids, Hanna and Johnny, were both going to be graduating from college, and he wanted something the four of us could really create and develop.”
Hanna explains her side after growing up in the greenhouses back when the family was producing flowers by sharing “I actually went to college to study agriculture and horticulture specifically even before we knew that it was going to become cannabis and then two years in everything started to change, and it got really exciting and he decided that me and my brother were working hard enough that he would make us partners, and that’s how it started.”
Having a women-owned, and also family-owned, cultivator such as Autumn Brands allows for a very grounded attitude. They sell medicine that can help people without relying on unnatural or unfair business practices. This company is staffed by people who care about one another as well as what they produce.
“So, Hanna and I luckily can be working together now and really just driving this incredible industry towards women and the importance of women and how there’s no glass ceiling for us, for executives, and for us to grow. And it’s such a natural product as it’s a health and wellness product for us to be able really to be able to inform and educate society,” Autumn stated.
Controlling Cannabis Odor
While the odiferous nature of cannabis may smell fantastic to advocates, for many others, living and working in the same area as a commercial grow operation, the smell may have an offensive stench. Many municipalities have found themselves embroiled in disputes between angry residents and canna-business owners. Autumn Brands chose to do more.
Although Autumn Brands started by essentially masking the scent of their flower by using something similar to common household odor masking products, they noticed it was negatively affecting the employees, and perhaps even their neighbors. They have since switched to a waterless vapor system that deodorizes the terpenes of the flower by using like terpenes to mellow them out. This is a natural process without potentially harmful chemical byproducts.
After adopting the technology from Byers-Scientific, Autumn Brands traveled to other farms in their area to share the knowledge. Many other farms ended up adopting this system themselves, especially those who respect the need to comply with the county ordinance, as well as keep the peace between their business and their residential neighbors.
Integrated Pest Management for Quality Cannabis
Autumn Brands relies on a healthy ecosystem of insects to hunt and kill other species of bugs that may be growing on their plants. This is the best way to kill off pests from crops, as there is no chemical residue left over from pesticides. Brand explains, “We have ladybugs in our greenhouses actually coming naturally. We haven’t had to buy any of them. We actually bought them once and those left. The ones that come in naturally stay. The only way to have those in there is if you never spray.”
Further building up the natural aspect of their approach towards pest control, Autumn Brands lets their bugs go between their cannabis and other crops they are growing.
“They’ve actually spread over,” Brand said, “we have an avocado orchard outside as well, and so our biocontrol is leaving part of our greenhouses when it can’t find anything to eat and going and eating in our avocado orchards and coming back and that kind of thing. So it’s really cool to watch the biodynamic systems of these bugs traveling through the greenhouse while these plants are traveling through as well.”
This natural standard is innovative in an industry that often prides itself on holistic approaches. Autumn Brands truly lives up to the goal of creating a healthy substance for cannabis consumers to purchase.