At Blue Forest Farms, we know so much of what we do wouldn’t be possible without our partners, which is why we’ve decided to start sharing the love. Hemp has always been communal so why not spread the positivity it brings as well.
Michael Samaniego, a grower in our Blue Forest family, knows firsthand the life changing effects of hemp. He was kind enough to share his story:
This interview contains references to self-harm and may be triggering for some readers.
How did you start growing hemp?
Michael Samaniego: 2016 was a down point in my life. Loss of hope to continue my, then, career as a firefighter and passion for helping people in my community. In July of that year, I was arrested for misdemeanor DUI and sentenced to 3 years informal probation and mandatory DUI classes. I was depressed to the point of cutting myself, even with smoking cannabis. It was the feeling of all my anger, sadness, doubt, and myself leaking out whenever I would cut. Think of it like a pressure release valve, this was my way of not reaching the point of actually killing myself.
Going into 2017, I had found hope. I had remembered a friend of mine giving me some cannabis seeds a few years past and I decided to try growing. My first crop was horrible– DIY tent with light leaks and spider mites everywhere. After that, I was determined not to fail again. I could not go on with the same doubt of myself as a person.
I started watching grow videos on YouTube and decided if I was going to grow cannabis, I should do it right. I started learning what I could about nutrient uptake, media that can hold onto ions– if not then you had to give nutrients differently– microbes, and the different types of fungi and the relationship they have with the plant.
Last year for the outdoor season I decided to try and grow some hemp. I knew what I needed and invested in OMRI Listed supplements, a filter to dechlorinate my water, irrigation, and my IPM regiment was greatly updated with beneficial predators.
How has hemp changed your life?
MS: Growing cannabis is my life. Learning how to use the soil to my advantage is my fun. Seeing the outcome of my sweat and hours makes it worth moving forward. Without cannabis, and now without hemp, I don’t see a complete life. Because what saved me from ending it all is that I am now responsible for a life that can help.
It’s not for profit for me, it’s just the air I breathe or even the water my plants need. It’s worth fighting for legislation and change, because everyone needs to see the true potential of this life.
What made you choose Blue Forest Farms?
MS: AC/DC was the first hemp plant I grew. Unfortunately, I waited too long and couldn’t save a clone going into flower. So then I went looking around and found Blue Forest Farms. The main thing that got me interested was that BFF plants are grown using safe, organic farming practices. The same kind of organic growing that I want to keep alive.
What do you see as the future of the farming industry?
MS: The city that I live in has three different types of oranges growing around the limits as well as heading up to work. Since growing, I look at the world differently. Though most of them grow with synthetic nutrients, the needs of the plant were the same. I believe that first one must want to change the world by limiting the use of synthetic nutrients, insecticides and fungicides to a more organic way. Each time I look for a product, I look to see if it’s OMRI listed for the US or approved for organic growing from Canada.
The hardest part of growing organically is the time and dedication in the dirt. Being one with the microbes, fungi and even biological solutions to pest management. The cost is also one thing stopping those synthetic farms from going organic. I believe there can be a change to the farm industry. How long that can take is all up to those who want to change.
What are your favorite podcasts, books, and apps?
MS: When I first learned how to grow I watched a lot of CaliGreen videos on YouTube. He was able to explain the symbiotic relationship of the microbes and plants to a level that made it all click. It was then that I knew I needed to try and go organic when growing. Mr. Grow It, Mr. Canucks, NPK University Harley Smithx and Liquid Jade are a few who influenced my growing style.
If you were to give any piece of advice to someone looking to grow hemp, what would you say?
MS: The best advice I can give to someone wanting to try growing is to look up NPK University on YouTube. Plant essential elements, complete plant nutrition, organic bio-stimulants as well as soil microbiology. If you show love to the soil, the soil will show love to your plant.
We are so grateful to have Michael as part of the BFF family and we can’t wait to see what he grows next. To keep up with Michael, follow him on Instagram @casualgrower_ssg64