Yasha Farms and Living Soil

Regenerative, Living Soil is a mindful approach to cannabis horticulture.

Living soil is rich in microbial life that cycles nutrients locked in rock and clay and that captures atmospheric carbon in the soil and plant biomass helping reverse global carbon trends. Yasha Farms practices increase soil biodiversity, improves soil structure and protects watersheds that ultimately enhance our local ecosystems.

Yasha Farms draws from decades of applied and scientific research in Agroecology, and holistic land management by leading scientists such as Dr. Elaine Ingham and the global communities of natural and organic farmers. A regenerative approach to growing cannabis is one that fosters a relationship between the entire soil biology and the plants’ root system.

At Yasha Farms, our plants are grown on 20-acres in light-deprivation greenhouses in a field located on Sauvies Island in Portland, Oregon. The land was commercially over-farmed and tilled, resulting in soil with an average depth of 0.5in before hitting hard clay; the earth contained very little microbiology. 

We have been implementing regenerative soil practices for two years, and can now say that our land hosts a diverse culture of microbiology that directly contributes to our local ecosystem and soil food web. We have identified a wide variety of bacteria, fungus, protosa, nematodes as well as worms, and micro arthropods that are eaten by birds and small mammals to later digest and refortify the land.

We now understand that plants communicate with microbes in the plant rhizosphere (the root zone beneath the ground) by releasing exudates, (carbon and glucose chemical messengers) through their roots and into the surrounding soil. These exudates attract specific microbes, such as fungus, that then make nutrients readily available to plants. There is an abundance of plant nutrients in clay and other compounds naturally found in the ground that microbes draw from; some estimate that there is enough phosphorus to grow crops for over 300 years without requiring additional microbe intervention.  

The modern farmer typically feeds plants with costly fertilizers and unsustainable nutrient blends that create a disconnect between the relationship of the farmer and the plant, and between the plants roots and life in the ground. This type of fertilizer can damage the fragile relationship of give and take between plant and microbes; plants that receive high inputs of chemical nutrients stop producing root exudates, which ultimately leads to life degradation in the soil which once fostered healthy plant production. This is a cyclical degeneration: the more fertilizer that is being used, the more the plant will require. 

Microbes also foster healthy soil structure as they form the aggregates that bind soil. Loss of microbiology causes soil structures to falter, lowering the capacity for the ground to retain water. Due to the grounds inability to retain water, fertilizer ends up in our drinking water and major bodies of water that eventually create dead zones in the ocean. Dead zones have depleted amounts of oxygen and sea life and can span hundreds of miles.

Our method of farming aims to mimic the surrounding forests that produce abundantly and sequester carbon from the atmosphere without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The living soil system is maintained by nurturing a symbiotic relationship between plants and microbes. This is not an easy 

task and exceeds environmental organic requirements but is ultimately well 

worth the effort. Growing plants in living soil is not only ecological and economical, but doing so allows the plant to potentiate its natural genetic expression through a matrix of terpenes and cannabinoids. An experience you can smell, taste, and feel.