Passionate about cannabis as a way to democratize plant medicine while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Dear reader, I decided to close Earth Month and set the tone for sustainable future with an inspiring story about regenerative farming, clean plant medicine and the larger positive planetary impact that the Dobson's family business has on our Earth.
"In nature there is no waste; resources restore cyclically." From a young age, the Dobson sisters understood that the health of the Earth and the health of the individual are intrinsically connected. Growing up on an organic vegetable farm in the Berkshires, Melany and Freya Dobson observed this in action -- witnessing the food supply and nature uniting. Regenerative agriculture inspired the sister's work moving forward. Melany Dobson is a leader in the cannabis startup ecosystem, with experience working with for Humboldt Brothers, a major cannabis company, co-founded People Need People and designed plant-to-product systems. After college, Freya Dobson moved to Northern California where she joined her sister Melany, in the cannabis industry - aware, that everything will return the earth but not necessarily be broken down. This ingrained a sense of responsibility and understanding that the way she chooses to live has consequences.
Motivated by the potential of cannabis as the future of food, fuel, fiber and medicine, the sisters developed a deep knowledge of the cannabis plant as an outdoor crop. In fall 2017, Freya and Melany moved back to New York, where the siblings co-founded Hudson Hemp and Treaty with their brother Ben Dobson.
You created a beautiful CBD product, but where does the story begin? What brought you to hemp and plant-based homeopathy?
M&F: When our brother, Ben Dobson, called us to tell us he had harvested 10 acres of hemp in New York, and invited us back East to work together; we were in the hills of Mendocino, where wild horses roam and cell phone service is nonexistent. It was in this landscape that Treaty came to life. Treaty is about the peace between nature and humanity. Our Treaty is to create a beneficial connection between the health of the individual, our community and our environment.
Where do you source your ingredients to ensure Treaty’s holistic approach?
M&F: The products are bioregional by design; meaning, the selection of botanicals in the formula grow wild or can be cultivated in the Hudson Valley.
Plants that thrive together in certain ecologies have a unique synergistic intelligence; “Plants That Grow Well Together Go Well Together.” Formula recipes are inspired by landscapes; the idea behind this is that landscapes embody feelings. We as humans benefit by tapping into this. The intention behind this is to create a local supply chain that has a positive impact on our ecosystem and community. Currently we source 95+% from the Hudson Valley. Our goal is to be 100%.
Our hemp is certified organic and biodynamic using regenerative farming techniques that maximize carbon capture and restore ecosystems.
Can you take us back to the roots and tell us about hemp's carbon capturing and soil regenerative abilities?
M&F: Hemp is a phytoremediator, meaning it cleans the soil from heavy metals and mycotoxins all while sequestering carbon. It has been estimated that one ton of hemp absorbs 1.63 tons of CO2. Even though hemp is an annual crop it has extremely deep roots, like trees which helps to hold the soil together, reduce erosion, and to loosen the soil, allowing more delicate plants to grow after the hemp is harvested.
Our brother Ben led the transition of conventional corn and soy mono-crops to diversified organic production at Stonehouse Grain and Old Mud Creek Farm in 2012. These farms that are adjacent to one another and are now home to Hudson Hemp, Treaty’s parent company. Ben used principles of Holistic Management, developing a long term crop rotation in which they integrated cropping and grazing systems to rebuild the soil and minimize off-farm inputs. In addition to hemp both farms grow perennial forages, oil seed and grain crops that help carbon break down, and keep waterways clean.
Hudson Carbon was initiated in 2013 to monitor the transition of both farms from conventional to organic. They have 12 rotating test sites on the farm where they pull soil and plant matter samples, as well as test sites on nearby conventional farms to compare. They use light fluorescent technology to monitor carbon capture in soil.
Calm, Recover, Focus and Balance.The names speak for themselves but can you tap a bit more into the benefits and what inspired these 4 tinctures?
M&F: Each formula emulates a landscape and the botanicals in each formula grow wild or can be cultivated in that landscape.
Focus with 600mg of CBD is our forest formula, its key ingredients are white pine, ginseng and spearmint
Calm with 1200mg of CBD is a floral meadow, its key ingredients are basil, rose and linden
Recover with 1500mg of CBD is a riparian buffer, its key ingredients are mullein, goldenrod and yarrow.
Balance is our simplest formula with 900mg of CBD its our hemp field formula with no supporting botanicals.
What happens when a product arrives in someone's home? Is the packaging keeping the environment in mind as well?
M&F: Yes, every part of our packaging was carefully thought out with the environment kinding every decision.
Finding economically viable ways to source packaging and supplies that aligns with our mission and values has been challenging. Treaty’s price point reflects the integrity of the product from seed to box. The product is shipped in a 100% Post-Consumer Waste, Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSC), 100% Recyclable box. The Insert Card is 100% Post-Consumer Waste, FSC Certified and 100% Recyclable.
The Ecovative Packing Tray that protects the bottle is grown in New York from mycelium and hemp hurd is Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified, Living Future Certified, USDA Certified Biobased Product, 100% Compostable. The Wooden Dropper Collar on the bottle is Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certified.
Everyone has a different way of defining eco-friendly.What does sustainability mean to you?
F: Sustainability means living in balance with earth. Making conscious choices about packaged goods at the grocery store, buying locally, prioritizing need over want, composting, caring for a garden. I am not perfect but I am aware that my impact matters and I try to always make choices that reflect that.
M: Sustainability means responding to needs at a radically local level. When there is not a localized solution for a problem, then maybe we need to ask a different question. My understanding of sustainability is rooted in the context of agriculture; in farming sustainability means you are utilizing closed-loop-systems. This model extends itself to help us identify sustainable solutions at scale.
Last but not least, if you could give someone just one advice to live more sustainably what would it be?
F: Find harmony between your body, mind, and the earth. Start small, you do not have to become a pro at sustainability overnight. You can begin with simply bringing your own bags to the grocery store or composting. Even if you feel like you aren’t making an impact, you are! Once you realize the interconnectedness of everything you will feel called to living in balance with the planet rather than against it. Spending time in nature helps!
Did this story catch your attention? Stay social with Freya & Melany on the gram!