CARPINTERIA — CARP Growers, an association of 13 farms in Carpinteria Valley, elected Autumn Shelton, co-founder of Autumn Brands, as its fourth president earlier this month. She is the first woman to hold the role.
“We have so many great cannabis farms and farmers in CARP Growers that I feel incredibly honored to be entrusted as president and to build upon the work and accomplishments of the last three years,” she said in a news release. “When the industry works together to solve problems and create positive change in our community, we can get a lot done. We remain committed to showing neighbors what responsible cannabis farming is all about.”
Former CARP Growers president Tristan Strauss, founder and CEO of Headwaters, will serve as vice president.
“This is a group of hardworking farmers,” he said. “Over the past year, we all faced challenges brought on by the pandemic, and I think we proved the cannabis industry confronts challenges and is a valued community partner.”
CARP Growers provides more than $150,000 each year to community and environmental organizations. The association funds a full-time behavioral health and substance abuse counselor at Carpinteria Middle School.
Carpinteria cannabis growers have stirred controversy over their investment in the school system as well as pushback from neighbors regarding the farms’ perfumes.
“Transparency and proactive engagement of our neighbors and the community have been our top priorities,” Ms. Shelton said. “Five years ago, our industry was looked upon with skepticism. We set out to demonstrate that this is an industry of professionals and is completely compatible with the agricultural legacy of our area. When farms change plants to remain viable, it also protects the area from development, which everyone wants.”
Tadd McKenzie of Pacific Dutch Group will serve as treasurer of CARP Growers and work alongside the following board members: Graham Farrar, Glass House Group; Terra Stephan, Cresco Labs; Mike Palmer, Creekside Blooms; and Winfred Van Wingerden, Mountain View Blooms.
— Annelise Hanshaw