Deep roots in the Rogue Valley have nourished a farming tradition through several generations at 3 Little Birds Farm. Commitment to craft cannabis, cultivated with organic and sustainable practices, is ensuring the next generation’s future on this thriving, 6.5-acre property that keeps living-wage jobs local. We sat down for a one-on-one with 3 Little Birds’ Molly Nichols, who sang the farm’s praises for our Supplier Spotlight.
WAM: Where is your farm located and are you open to the public?
3LB: Our farm, in beautiful Grants Pass, is open for scheduled tours Monday through Friday, with the occasional Saturday and special events.
WAM: Tell us about your farm’s background and mission.
3LB: Our farm was Certiﬁed Organic with Oregon Tilth (operated as a fruit/veggie farm) for more than a decade before we acquired it. Our mission is to grow a business that produces not only quality, clean and stony cannabis, but also living-wage, quality jobs for our community. Our farm is located in Josephine County, one of Oregon’s poorest counties. We lost most of our living-wage jobs when logging went bust. The cannabis industry is bringing those jobs back, and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of that.
WAM: Yours is a family-run business. What are some of the beneﬁts — and challenges — of several generations working together?
3LB: Having multigenerational input is wonderful, we have the best of both youth and age: energy and enthusiasm, tempered with experience, knowledge and patience. We really haven’t run into many challenges, other than normal family squabbles, but nothing that has negatively affected our business. We all respect and value each other, so disagreements are easily resolved.
WAM: Organic, sustainable agriculture is at the forefront of your business model. Why is that so important?
3LB: Foremost, it’s important on a larger scale because we only have this one planet (currently … ) to live on and pass down to future generations. Our planet (our little piece of it, at least) is our ultimate asset. In any good business, you protect, nurture and improve your assets. Organic, sustainable farming is simply good business and asset management. Secondly, we don’t want to smoke weed that has chemicals and pesticides, and we smoke our weed — a lot — so we make sure it’s organic and yummy!
WAM: What are some of the hurdles in maintaining organic and sustainable status while being competitive within the larger cannabis market?
3LB: I would say our biggest hurdle has been competing with indoor gardens. We have stayed true to our sun-grown, sustainable, organic roots. We use minimal energy inputs, build our soil and don’t grow in plastic bags.
WAM: What are your most popular products?
3LB: Our Tweets (pre-rolls), our Adventure Ready Chrontainers and our Kraken strain in straight ﬂower!
WAM: What is the reason behind your business’ success?
3LB: Hard work, tenacity, following sound advice and just enough luck … Also we sell weed, sooooooo …
WAM: What inspired your passion for this industry?
3LB: I love that this is an emerging industry. Those of us now in it literally are creating the industry. We set the standards, we are creating the framework of rules and laws and we are taking a market that only previously existed in the shadows of society and bringing it into the spotlight. On top of all that fun and excitement, we are creating living-wage, quality careers for our local community. That is probably the most exciting piece of the industry for me.
WAM: What is your favorite part of the job?
3LB: Being part of an emerging industry is pretty awesome. We literally are creating products that have never existed in this market — ever. It is exciting and fun, also a little scary and comes with a boatload of work, both creatively and physically.
WAM: What’s new for your business in 2018?
3LB: We have a new grower! We are very excited to have Mike Hobson as our master grower. He is bringing over 25 years of organic cannabis-growing experience (in our region, nonetheless) to our farm. We also are evening out our strains. We were indica-dominant for the ﬁrst two years, so this year we are adding some new sativa strains. We are collaborating with a local chef to get our edibles line up and running. We will be featuring both short-shelf life edibles and a longer-shelf line, as well. We also are offering farm tours, which has been really exciting and only will get more so as the season progresses!
WAM: What do think customers will demand more of in the future?
3LB: Accountability and sustainability in growing and processing practices.
WAM: What are the biggest challenges that cannabis business owners face in the industry?
3LB: Overproduction of product is our current challenge and, moving forward, ﬁnding new, innovative ways to attract and keep customers.
WAM: As the cannabis industry grows and improves, what developments are you most looking forward to in the future?
3LB: I am excited to see the industry grow up and become more professional. I hope the businesses who are operating in a businesslike manner thrive and become the standard, and that the businesses who are still operating in a casual style will start to fall out of the game. Also the continued development of our cannabis tracking system is exciting. Currently, it is very labor-intensive, and the program is not intuitive at all to the farm side of things (I have no idea about the retail side). METRC is an awesome company to work with, though, and they continually work with us to improve their system.