CLN caught up with Julie Chiariello, from SKUNK Magazine, about watching the Emerald Cup grow to be one of the world’s best cannabis events, California’s fiery year, and why the fight continues even with California legalizing in January 2018.
CLN: How was the 2017 Emerald Cup?
Julie: Skunk Magazine has watched the Emerald Cup grow from a small community of friends at Area 101 partying into the wee hours of the morning, to a wonderful Emerald Triangle craft cup at the Mateel Center, and from there, by suggestion of John Vergados, editor at Skunk, moving to the much larger Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
We have watched it evolve and grow proudly into not just one of the best organic outdoor cannabis craft events in the US, but in the world. This year was a milestone as Tim Blake found the perfect partners to really raise the bar, the Emerald Cup has become one of the best cannabis events in the world.
I heard it was a busy weekend.
Incredibly busy, with hundreds and hundreds of craft cannabis companies participating and 30,000 people in attendance, seeing everyone that you want to see has become impossible over the weekend. Perhaps adding Friday, making it a three day festival would be great! Too many wonderful places to visit in just two days and my feet have the blisters to prove it!
How did the community come together after the devastating Northern California wildfires back in October?
The fires have made people’s hearts burn even brighter and the effort has been incredible! Many strong allies have banded together to donate tens of thousands of dollars coming into the various areas that are most in need.
Patrick King, aka the Soil King, unleashed a heroic effort banding community members together and getting the desperately needed supplies to the areas hardest hit. During the entire unfolding of the crisis, they raised 50k+ and the Emerald Cup, spearheaded by Tim and Taylor Blake, has made sure that all 900 entries donated $50 each, also bringing in 50k+. It has been beautiful to behold the community love and support that has been made on behalf of those who are suffering.
Were you worried by the wildfires currently burning through Southern California?
I am a born and raised Californian, and I was driving up from LA when the fires hit near the Getty museum and up along the coast from Ventura to Santa Barbara. In all my life I’ve never seen those hills on fire in the way they were that night.
2017 has been a fiery year like no other, as so much of California has burned. Fire is the natural way of life here, with the annual fires comes great destruction, but it is also the way that the forest has of clearing out old growth and making way for the new. It is just absolutely devastating to see lives torn apart and the loss of homes and resources, it is part of the dry desert climate here, but it doesn’t make it any easier. No one is happy to see anyone enduring such sadness.
Can you tell us about a few of the most interesting people you bumped into at the Cup?
For Skunk Magazine, the Emerald Cup is like coming home, and we love to meet with all of the thought leaders and innovative companies that are truly being the change and holding the line for a sustainable green renaissance.
The Solventless Center sponsored by Rosin Tech, The Soil King, and Cultured Biologix, were definitely a major highlight with live rosin making going on throughout the event. As was the Regenerative Farms area, and the scores of organic craft companies who have raised the bar so high, like Om Edibles, Madrone, Redwood Roots and many more.
The Forever Flowering Greenhouses and Weed for Warriors lounge was a hotspot and the Canna Craft building was filled with some of the best cannabis breeders in the world, like 3rd Gen Family, Dying Breed Seeds, Greenfire Genetics, the list goes on and on.
What were some of the coolest things you saw?
I loved the areas where they showed what regenerative farming and permaculture practices look like in action. It creates a wonderful learning experience for all the attendees and inspires them to take those practices home. Tim Blake, was also able to bring down some of his most sacred pieces from Area 101- the famous giant Buddha and Ganesha- and it gave the whole area a feeling of Tim’s original intention. To unite people from all walks of life, all races and creeds and invite them to come together and share the best of organic, sun grown medicine from the Emerald Triangle region and discuss ways that they can work together more sustainably.
With recreational cannabis set to be legalized in California in January 2018, what do you think the next Emerald Cup will look like?
For 2018, we are looking at a much bleaker picture for the California craft farmer- a 1 acreage cap that had been promised to be written into the guidelines under Prop 64 has been stricken.
Many small farmers had been promised that the cap would last for the first five years of legalization, and many feel that without this five year head start, thousands of small farmers will not be able to endure the high cost of doing business, coupled with the plummeting selling price for their crops.
The Emerald Cup will always be there fighting on behalf of craft culture and sustainable farming, but with the quagmire of corruption and greed that we are faced with, we are looking at many more years of fighting for the agri-centric, small and midsize business model that the majority of California’s cannabis farmers would prefer.
The fight continues.
Out of all the cannabis cups and events that you’ve been to, do you have a personal favorite, and why?
I have been blessed to be able to visit all of the major cups throughout Europe and North America.
I have attended Spannabis seven times and have always said it is one of my favorite cannabis events in the world.
The Emerald Cup when I first started attending was a wonderful outdoor organic cannabis event and it was always very inspiring, but as of this year it has graduated to becoming a world class event, worthy of visitors globally, and is now in competition with Spannabis as being one of the best events in the world.
Would you judge the Emerald Cup?
I have been blessed to spend time at Healing Harvest Farms, and Tim and Taylor are like family to John and I. I would be honoured to be able to come up one year, a few weeks ahead of time and participate in the judging. I have attended some of their sessions and it’s incredibly rigorous, sincere and insightful, they take their work very seriously.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Tim Blake and Taylor Blake, it was an absolutely beautiful cup this year, unparalleled, the best ever! I felt the spirit and intention of Area 101 flowing everywhere. Your vision has come through Tim, congratulations on finding partners that could meet it and assist you in bringing it forward seamlessly.
What began as a party where all could come together after harvest to celebrate love, humanity and unity has evolved into a world-class event and a model for the planet on how to foster organics, healing and sustainability within your community.
SKUNK Magazine and The Highway, and John and I are honored to have been an integral part of the journey and we are very proud of the whole family and team for what you have achieved. We are also very thankful and aware of what a gift and treasure The Emerald Cup is for hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of people to come together and discuss ways that we can live more sustainably on the planet.
Here’s to a green renaissance continuing to sweep the planet against all odds. Thank you Tim and Taylor for all you do on behalf of this effort.