DEM Pure Certification: Paving the way for Sustainable Cannabis


“Gardening is one of the single biggest acts of protest for consumerism.” – Dragonfly Earth Medicine

As the marijuana movement gains momentum nationwide, more stories in the media are drawing attention to the fact that our precious greens are in reality, not so green.

Dragonfly Earth Medicine (DEM) is here to set the standard for sustainability with their Pure Certification, and the standard is being set sky-high.

shutterstock_195503885DEM is defining what it means to be a organic cannabis farmer, actually, they’re defining what it means to be a regenerative cannabis farmer. The difference is significant. They are not only educating farmers how to grow exquisite organic cannabis and sustain their land, but how to actually improve, or regenerate, their land and their community.

Give a man bottled nutrients and he will come back the next week needing more, teach a man to grow his nutrients and he’ll replenish the earth. This is essentially DEM’s philosophy, teaching organic farmers to grow nutrients for your garden, from your garden. It is clear through their actions that their passion lies in spreading the movement of pure medicine, regenerating the land and teaching others their beyond organic methods. DEM Pure is a way of gardening free of chemicals and bottled nutrients and without overuse of animal products and earth-mined minerals. The family-trio is passionate about spreading their ways of sustainability and self-sufficiency.

You may be asking yourself, what exactly does beyond organic mean?

  • No synthetics, no chemicals – Earth-based nutrients only (DEM practices teach you to grow your own nutrients!)
  • No hydroponic growing – This is a soil-only certificate.
  • All inputs need to be organic and healthy for the plants, earth and patients. Time needs to be taken to look up the origin of all inputs and what impact each one will have on the Earth and humans.
  • A continuous effort to make the farm more sustainable and ecologically sound.
  • Re-using “waste” material in your gardens. Fan leaves and stalks are healthy organic materials to use in teas and for mulch.
  • Implementing an integrated pest program that is diverse and uses only natural cures. When the going gets tough with unbeneficial pests or microbes, never divert from what is right, over what is right now. This philosophy requires continuous education to address each new problem or issue that comes up. Beyond organic pest management is preventative, it is not symptomatic or full of easy cures.
  • See your gardening as a service (dharma) to humanity and the earth.
  • Treating workers and patients with respect and kindness. Educate everyone around you on cannabis and beyond organic gardening practices.
  • Employ at least six closed-loop practices (we’ll go into more detail below on closed loop systems)
  • No hydrocarbon solvent extractions (no BHO)

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Organic cannabis farmers have repeatedly faced conflict in labeling their products “organic” because, in order to be certified organic, one needs to go through the Federal Department of Agriculture (emphasis on the federal, you know, those guys who still consider cannabis a Schedule 1 drug).

pasted-graphicAs farmers who are passionate about creating a clean product know, it takes hard work and dedication to grow organic cannabis. Particularly when growing indoors where you have to be one step ahead in your preventative pest management.

When you spend that much energy caring for and creating organic, clean cannabis, you want to be able to market that purity to your consumers. With the word “organic” off-limits, how are you supposed to assure your customers that what they’re ingesting is free of pesticides and chemicals?

This is where DEM steps in. The Pure Certification “redefines what the cannabis industry sees as pure, clean medicine.” It shows patients that what they’re ingesting is not only organic but sustainable, fair trade and regenerative.

Kelly, Josh, and their son, Sky, have dedicated themselves to spreading the valuable expertise needed to execute an entirely closed-loop cannabis farm. This passion for ganja, permaculture, and organic gardening inspired them to create the DEM Pure Certification. Now that momentum for the cannabis movement is gaining traction nationwide, there is a wide-open stage to set the standards for how cannabis should be growing.

When Josh and Kelly first moved to their farm in British Columbia they dreamed of building a food forest oasis, filled with biodiversity and a thriving ecosystem. They quickly realized their dreams were going to take longer than expected and a lot of hard work because their ground was riddled with rocks and infertile soil. Living two hours away from the closest grow store forced them to learn and create closed-loop gardening systems. They began experimenting, making teas from plants they found wildly growing around the property such as stinging nettle, which they now consistently incorporate into their gardens. They collected various bacterias and fungi from around the property and created their own microorganism brews. They fermented just about anything they could get their hands on, including fish heads from the lake down the road. All this trial and error led them to create a farm that is now, 20 years later, bursting with life and knowledge of the land.

Now let’s talk about just a couple of the many systems that DEM considers closed-loop…

  • Growing Your Own Nutrients can be easily accomplished by dedicating a small plot to perennial producers. These plants can be used in tea brews, soil layering, and soil ingredients.
  • Chipping/Shredding stalks and roots of your cannabis plants for use as a beneficial and nutritional soil ingredient. DEM teaches that, “Plants benefit greatly from decomposing their own matter, feeding the soil food web moro-organism colonies.”
  • Live Raw Tea Brews are made by fermenting cannabis leaves, weeds, or any of the plants you’re cultivating on your property. DEM recommends, “Following strict fermentation practices and the addition of beneficial inoculants to help break down the plants to make nutrients readily available to your next crop.”
  • Soil Building / Re-Using Soils is the foundation of healthy, organic garden. If you care for your soil properly and keep feeding it organic inputs then it will only get better and better over time. Check out our how to grow guide for Building Your Own Organic Soil for a kickstart.
  • Agri-Cultures Inoculants are beneficial cultures made by fermentation that help your plant and soil thrive. You can make your own inoculants to use in tea brews and soil building. Some examples are fermenting soil and bokashi, activated EM (effective microorganisms) and calcium extractions.
  • Mycoremediation is the process of using fungi to condition soil back to health. DEM recommends using Garden Giants (King Stropharia) because they quickly decompose plant material while simultaneously cleaning toxic or compacted soils. With this closed-loop practice, you can remediate your soil and eat amazingly tasty mushrooms at the same time!
  • Cover Crops are an easy way to bring a beyond organic practice into your grow room, indoors or out! Cover crops such as buckwheat, rye, barley and oats are fast-growing grains that add easy-to-access nutrients into your soil. Planting these seeds directly into your beds immediately releases nutrients to the top layer of your soil, which DEM explains is the most biologically diverse layer of the soil. Cover crops also protect your precious soil from wind and water erosion.
  • Water Recycling can be used to minimize water run-off and to ensure no water is wasted. Which is essential for those who experience a drought season. There are other water-saving techniques you can implement such as mulches and cover crops, but it is also simple to build a rain catchment system. Another fun fact – DEM recommends re-using your ice extract water to feed your cannabis! “It not only is immediately available, it also contains valuable nutrients, trichomes and terpenes that are a great food for your gardens.”
  • Geothermal systems allow you to naturally harness the Earth’s constant 52 degree temperature in order to cool down your grow in the summer or heat it up in the winter. A simple geothermal system can be created by digging a tunnel, at least 5 feet underground, that begins outside of the greenhouse and ends inside of the greenhouse. By placing a fan and filter in the tunnel you can have a constant stream of 52 degree air blowing into your greenhouse. 

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One of the requirements for the DEM Pure Certification is that you have implemented at least six of these closed-loop practices. They are not limited to this list either, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a closed loop, it just takes some brainpower followed by action. Kelly further explains, “Closed loops are a very effective way to keep pathogens out of your gardens because everything that you need is available right there and was manufactured right there.”

One of the primary philosophies behind DEM is feeding plants with plants. Josh, Kelly and Sky educate farmers on how to grow their own nutrients and supplements, rather than buy bottles of who-knows-what. They will enlighten you to see nutrients everywhere you go.

Kelly explains, “This commitment is sought after and given to gardeners that are already on the path of ecological regeneration, growing of high-quality health medicine and food, and educating the next generation of healthy cannabis growers.”

If you’re interested in learning more, the Dragonfly Earth Medicine team is available for consultations which you can find more about on their website. Also, their Instagram is filled with a wealth of beyond organic knowledge. 

We dug up some roots of this Spearmint 18 years ago from a old Quaker homestead site. Some of the most amazing spearmint pheno we have ever come across, still to this day! We use it as biomass for top dressing, foliar and drench brews (high in nitrogen, calcium and iron). Mint is a wonderful garden ally. It keeps unbeneficial macrobes at bay, is easy to grow, a perennial, wonderful in extreme conditions,drought resistant and bees love the flowers. For human health, we make healing salves, blend with high THC flowers for a decarboxylated muscle rub oil, blend with honey as a great cough expectorant with local wild cherry bark, tasty tea blend, dry out for baths, steam pots, making your own essential oils and hanging in bunches to clear musty areas. Spearmint is great addition to your gardens. Just make sure to contain the roots because it is a vigorous rhizome and will spread quickly. #savethebees #sustainablecannabis #weedteas #DEMPure #spearmint

A photo posted by DEM Organics (@dragonflyearthmedicine) on

Be sure to check out Josh, co-founder of Dragonfly Earth Medicine, in this awesome segment on WeedmapsTV. “The Real Cannabis Culture”  (at 2:19)

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