To kick off springtime, we tapped into the growing community and spoke with Emily Gogol, PhD, Founder & CEO of Infinite Tree (a nationally recognized hemp nursery).
Emily’s newly launched company, Grow It From Home, brings CBD hemp plants to folks across the U.S. She is passionate about gardening and empowering those to learn more about the plant and how it can be used. Additionally, Emily has won numerous awards for her work in California, creating public gardens and parks.
Read more to find out what it’s like to run a hemp farm, how growing hemp at home is similar to growing tomatoes or basil, and beyond!
Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?
Like, how I went from getting a PhD at UCSF to creating public parks, to now running a hemp farm? It’s a curvy road for sure!
I’ve always loved to garden, ever since I was a kid pulling the mint out from underneath the rose bushes in my Mom’s backyard. When I moved to San Francisco to do my PhD, I noticed there was this huge vacant lot by my apartment that was being ‘guerilla gardened’ a.k.a. people were trespassing to illegally grow a garden. I connected with the woman who was gardening, and fast forward a decade, and as a volunteer, I was now running two parks (we built another nearby), a large volunteer network, managing grants and educational outreach programs. I was also elected by my neighbors to run a local community garden.
For me, it was always about working hard to create beautiful spaces and make sure they were accessible to the community. For this labor of love, I was recognized by the State of California for my community service, which still blows my mind. Since then, I’ve moved to the Applegate Valley in Oregon, where I run a commercial hemp farm, Infinite Tree.
How did you get into the industry?
My husband and I wanted to start a business where we could work together, and had always liked the idea of running a small farm. Recreational marijuana had just been legalized in Oregon and we thought it was an amazing opportunity to run a nursery, focused on research and development, to provide farmers with the best plants suited to their needs. Hemp became federally legal in 2018, so it was a natural fit for us to work with hemp.
Why do you love being a grower?
I really enjoy being outside – whether it is a street corner in Manhattan checking out a really interesting tree or walking my dogs on the 30-acre island in the Applegate River that is adjacent to our farm. Gardening is a daily thing I can do outside, and I love to cook and share things with friends and family. I think that really completes it for me; being outside in a way that is productive, a daily practice, that I can share with others by dropping off a jar of tomato sauce or a bouquet of flowers.
What inspired you to launch Grow It From Home?
To be honest, I didn’t think I’d get to work with the gardening community again. I thought it was commercial farming from here on out, and that left a big hole in my heart. In Spring 2020 something amazing happened. Gardeners from all over the U.S. were getting in touch with me, asking if they could grow hemp at home! I realized that the laws in the U.S. were changing, quickly (!) and that there were many states that I could legally share our beautiful hemp plants with gardeners, not just farmers.
How do you incorporate the plant into your daily routine?
Our nursery runs 365 days a year so there is always a hemp plant nearby! I’m not a smoker myself, but I’m always bundling up some to share with friends and family. For my personal use, nothing beats a good infused beverage or dessert, and I like to add the foliage to flower arrangements.
Anything specific you’re excited to share with the Ardent community?
To be a good gardener you have to kill a lot of plants! Don’t worry, hemp is just like growing any other herbs or vegetables, it really is easy, and don’t stress about doing the right or wrong thing.
Is growing hemp at home like growing tomatoes or basil?
Yes! Full sun. Not too much water is needed, and it can grow in a container on a patio. It is so flexible and rewarding as a plant. Maybe you’ve heard how when you grow zucchini, you get, like way more zucchini than you could ever eat? Hemp is the same. You will have so much flower on hand after harvest you will be trying to find creative ways to use it, and giving it away by the jarful. You’ll be shocked at how much one plant can produce, without any special care!
Why are so many people across the U.S. growing hemp at home?
So many reasons! I think bottomline it is why anyone grows any vegetable or herb – because they like it, it has purpose in their life. It’s rewarding to grow something. It is also way cheaper than buying oil or flower at a store! Now add on the fact that it is legal, and it wasn’t before (exciting!), and it provides a huge wellness benefit to many people. You can do so much with the plant. Cook, drink, smoke, juice, infuse with it. It is really versatile, and provides a benefit for many people.
Getting back to the legal and social acceptance aspect of growing at home, we are working hard to provide more awareness and access to gardeners and community groups. James Beard award-winning authors like Johanna Silver are even writing about growing hemp at home and people of all ages, backgrounds, and for so many reasons, are excited to grow hemp at home.
Can you grow hemp in a small space, like on a patio?
Absolutely! You would be shocked at how beautiful and productive hemp is in a small space. I have tons of photos and how-to guide’s on our website. I am passionate about creating gardens that are beautiful and functional, and I know hemp has a place in your garden whether it is part of a small patio or a backyard. It is versatile and resilient, just like gardeners!
To connect with Emily, feel free to email her at: [email protected].