Growing consistent, quality cannabis requires a commitment to sustainable agricultural practices and to continually learning and embracing innovation. From seed to sale, it all starts with understanding the complexities and nuances of plant health and grow patterns. As the global cannabis industry continues to evolve, so is the Canadian industry in scale and plant science.
We recently caught up with Theresa Robert of Mariwell, to learn about the guiding principles to make outdoor growing operations a success, lessons learned from their first year and what the future holds.
Tell us about Mariwell and the outdoor grow cannabis industry?
Mariwell is an outdoor cannabis licensed producer. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life for consumers and the community by providing quality products created through all-natural practices.
Outdoor cultivation not only carries a lower carbon footprint but it allows us to utilize Mother Nature. Whether it is finding ways to conserve water or regenerative soil practices, our focus is quality plants and environmental awareness.
Growing outdoors also has a longer grow cycle. A longer growth cycle plays an important role in the development of trichomes, cannabinoids, terpenes and overall potency. Outdoor plants that are well tended to and have been provided with everything they need to grow optimally will give you up to four times more usable products. With consumers making more informed decisions on the products they use, our team wants to ensure our products meet all expectations of quality, efficacy and sustainability. It’s up to us to establish our industry as a force for good. Ultimately, that will only work if it’s done with authenticity – it’s that simple.
Mariwell commenced its second year of operations. What are the lessons learned from your first year you’ll be applying this year?
Mariwell received its license from Health Canada in mid-June of 2020. This left us with a shorter grow season. This year, we're excited to embrace the whole season as well as higher standards for our ecosystems.
We have introduced a companion plant garden to improve the soil nutrient supply. There are a variety of 'good plant neighbours' that benefit the soil and are compatible with cannabis such as alfalfa which provides nutrients, and basil which can increase oil and terpene production. Red Clover will be the ground cover between rows, as it naturally improves soil quality as well as prevents topsoil compaction. We have a conscious design for growing in harmony with nature.
As a result, we’ll produce fewer plants this year but yield more product. Plants that have more space capture more of the sun’s energy and being on the lake, we can capitalize on the wind, allowing for better airflow providing an optimal grow area for our plants.
How did you get started in the cannabis industry?
Initially, I was approached by Mariwell to be an investor. Believing in the cannabis Industry and hoping it was going to bring about change, I invested. After a few years of Mariwell not advancing, my partner and I brought together a small group of entrepreneurs and became the Majority Shareholder Group as well as becoming the VP of finance and Chair of the Board. It seemed to be a good time to transition into Cannabis, an industry I am proud of.
What do you find most interesting about working in Cannabis?
I find the pendulum between the basics and the complexity of cannabis interesting. Simply, Cannabis is a weed. I believe producing good quality comes down to the basics of good care and attention - all-natural growing methods, sunlight, good soil, nutrients and attention to detail.
The complexity - Cannabis contains more than 500 compounds, all of which are thought to contribute to the plants’ pharmacological properties. On top of that, the plant is also loaded with terpenes, which are essential oils that not only give each cannabis strain its unique smell and taste, but also generate an array of medical effects. We're constantly learning more about the benefits of cannabis, and identifying new ways it can help enhance lives including but not limited to pain management, sleep management, neurological disorders, inflammation, etc. - making it an interesting, challenging and rewarding industry to be part of.
Where are you seeing the most innovation in the outdoor grow industry? What are you excited about most as you look to the future?
I’m most excited about the innovations taking place at Mariwell. Without compromising quality, we are working on new techniques and methods that can improve grow operations by utilizing as much space as possible.
We are also working on not only a water capturing system, but the ability to extract water from the atmosphere. This is not a new concept but one we want to engage in. There are an estimated 13 trillion litres of water floating in the atmosphere at any one time. Whether it is from Solar power or wind turbines, Mariwell plans to implement a low-cost water condenser to help create water self-sufficiency.
What advice do you have for other women entering the cannabis industry?
Patience and perseverance are key. Don't be discouraged by setbacks or delays. I find nothing happens as quickly as we would like - it's referred to as “Mother Nature” for a reason! But at the end of the day, the benefits of cannabis can reach so many lives, use that goal as encouragement to keep going.
Whatever your field is, operations, finance, product development, marketing or any other of the key roles in this industry, know that there is a great deal of knowledgeable and passionate women in this industry. Access the forums, conferences and blogs out there. We are stronger together.
If you would like to get in touch with Theresa or learn more about Mariwell please visit: www.mariwell.ca
Theresa will also be speaking on the “Cannabis Operations” panel at this year’s Womxn, Wellness and Cannabis Conference. Register for the free event here.