Selling Dirt to Pot Farmers: How Cannabis Is Enabling Innovation

John-Paul Maxfield is the founder of startup, Waste Farmers, which sells dirt to pot farmers. The company began collecting food waste from schools and restaurants and turning it into compost. Waste Farmers started producing organic potting soil made from coconut husks and bio char, derived from dead trees killed by pine beetles. The company has 20 employees and is certified as a B Corp. “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency” (B Corp).

Waste Farmers’ goal is to rapidly speed up the adoption of a new food system to feed humanity wherever they live, decrease agriculture’s environmental impact and combat climate change. According to a 2017 Forbes article, Maxfield describes Colorado as the Silicon Valley of cannabis. When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2013, Waste Farmers developed Batch 64, named after Amendment 64, for the ballot initiative. The company saw it as an incredible opportunity to grow controlled agriculture.

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