Flower to the People
By Jonah Raskin
Here’s an idea that came with the hippies and vanished when the yuppies arrived on the scene and didn’t want to get their hands dirty: “Grow your own.”
Actually, “grow your own” is an agricultural enterprise that’s taking root right now in Norcal’s cannabis community, from Humboldt to Sonoma and beyond.
This time around, grow your own combines the joy of the back-to-the land hippies with the expertise and the scientific savvy born of 21st-century cultivators who know all about THC, CBD and terpenes.
This brand-new enterprise goes by the name, “Victory Patch.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because it honors the “Victory Gardens” from World War I and World War II, when patriotic citizens heeded the call of the government, turned over the soil in their backyard, then cultivated and harvested crops that boosted morale in the darkest days of the fight against fascism.
The wartime gardens also put food on the table when rationing was the order of the day. You can’t get more American than that.
The 2021 “Victory Patch” program, which is just now getting off the ground, will help gardeners grow their own primo weed. Patch by patch and crop by crop, the program will drive stakes into the heart of the dying war on drugs, and in the process honor a plant that brings both good medicine and joy into lives that might otherwise be blue, if not fully depressed.
The slogan for the project is “Flower to the People,” a play on the ’60s slogan, “Power to the People.” Strains include “Queso Haze,” which produces flowers early in the growing season, “Spring Training,” which is CBD-rich and “Citrus Crush,” which the folks at Patch say has the potential to turn a garden into “an effervescent citrus grove.”
Hey, that’s way better than skunk weed.
Each packet of seeds offers vital info about flavors and aromas.
Victory Patch is a tribal effort that draws on the ingenuity of Eli Melrod, the founder and CEO of Solful—Sebastopol’s righteous dispensary—and on the talents of two master farmers, Ned Fussell and Patrick Anderson. Add the creative energies of Nick Papadopoulos—the social entrepreneur known for “Cropmobster”—and the eye-catching, colorful art and design by Jess Flood, wife to Nick, and you have a winning team.
“We were inspired by the iconic imagery of the Victory Gardens,” Jess says. “We want to destigmatize an ancient and essential plant. If it’s possible in California, shouldn’t it be possible across the U.S.?” Victory Patch has partners in L.A., San Diego, Mendocino and Arcata.
Meanwhile, Solful is Victory Patch’s only Sonoma County retail partner. Eli Melrod suggests you go to the dispensary and place an order for up to six clones, already sexed so you’ll have 100% females. Seeds are also available.
Victory Patch is aimed at brave newbies who’ve never grown a single pot plant, but who want to experiment. The Victory Patch tribe will provide the necessary ABCs of cultivation, irrigation, harvesting and curing.
Will Victory Patch put Solful out of business?
“No,” Eli tells me. “The more people grow, the more interest in the plant and the more demand for marijuana. The idea is to empower people. We have the right to grow our own medicine.”
Nick is inspired by civil rights activist, and congressman John Lewis, who urged citizens: “Get in good trouble and redeem the soul of America.” Nick would like to plant a few clones at the White House—as a symbolic gesture. Jess smiles and adds, “Victory Patch is meant to provide an experience that feels welcoming and inclusive.”
Power to the flowers, and grass to the grassroots.