Cannabis Gives Back
Chaffee County Grown—Cultivating Community
KAYAK is proud to help cannabis give back through the Chaffee County Grown program, a collaboration that highlights locally grown cannabis products and encourages people to support local businesses. Buying locally grown products has far-reaching impacts that go beyond supporting the local economy. Thanks to the Marijuana Excise Tax Advisory Board (METAB) Grant Program, local non-profits can apply for grants that are funded by the excise tax.
In 2022, 17 Chaffee County nonprofit organizations and public sector entities were awarded a total of $245,550. These funds went toward workforce and family housing, youth-focused programs, human services and public health.
The Chaffee County Grown Program includes 12 Peaks Farms, KAYAK, Antero Sciences and Vision Quest, all local companies that help fund the excise tax. The program places attention on locally grown products to make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase products that not only support local businesses, but also directly support non-profit organizations and the residents of Salida.
KAYAK and the other three companies in the Chaffee County Grown Program bring to life the essence of Salida. KAYAK has implemented a thorough composting program and has an on-site wastewater treatment plant that can capture and re-use up to 40,000 gallons of water per day. This allows them to conserve fresh water by re-using wastewater instead of disposing of it after a single use, making them a true steward of the local Arkansas River Basin. 12 Peaks Farms’ indoor grow uses automated environmental sensors and controls; a self-sufficient water system; an internal closed-loop water treatment plant; and has an extensive green-waste composting program. Vision Quest is a woman-owned and fully female team that uses living soil and organic growing methods. Antero Sciences is an owner-operated company that employs an in-house team of Chaffee-county residents who hand-trim every plant in their perpetual harvest. Together, these four companies are giving back to the community, the environment and the local economy.
To support the Chaffee County Grown program, look for the green and silver “Chaffee County Grown” emblem at Nature’s Medicine and other participating retailers to help these local companies continue to cultivate the Salida community.
Chaffee County non-profits are invited to apply for grant funding eligibility during METAB’s pre-application period, from November 20th through December 15th. The official grant period goes from December 15-January 31 and money will be awarded to approved recipients in March of 2024. Visit the METAB Grant Program website for more information about the grant, of fill out the form to apply.
KAYAK and Elements Mountain Compost:
Let’s Talk Trash—and Make Less of it!
At KAYAK, composting is a top priority. We’re honored to work with Elements Mountain Compost, a local composting company that helps businesses like ours literally turn trash into treasure. Composting allows us to make a significant impact on waste diversion and sustainability, while providing nutrient-rich compost for gardeners and small agricultural businesses in the Salida community.
The Beginnings of Elements Mountain Compost
Elements Mountain Compost was started in 2014 by founder Julie Mach, who wanted to address the growing need for organic waste diversion in our area. Initially composting at home, she quickly outgrew her compost system and knew others in the community likely were as well. Heat is key to proper compost. Larger compost piles generate more heat through the decomposition process and provide their own insulation to retain the heat during colder months. Fueled by a passion for sustainability and a determination to make it work, Julie began collaborating with local businesses, including the hospital, area grocery stores and coffee shops, to compost their food waste. They also offer a residential drop-off program that services around two hundred households in Salida.
KAYAK Composting: The Beginning
KAYAK composting began when we started working with Elements Mountain Compost in 2022 with the goal to divert green waste generated by our operations away from landfills. We provide our shredded stalks, stems and leaves as composting material that is then mixed into the food waste collected by Elements Mountain Compost. This creates a well-balanced and versatile compost that benefits various applications.
From Waste to Resource
Once the compost is ready, Elements Mountain Compost sifts out larger portions of waste that hasn’t fully decomposed. The high-quality compost is then sold back to the community, benefiting residential gardeners and small agricultural businesses, including a local farm-to-table restaurant and the school garden.
Reducing Waste and Methane Emissions
Through this collaboration, we have successfully diverted approximately 160 cubic yards—about eighty tons—of organic green waste from the landfill. We are on track to divert about sixty tons a year. Why is this so important? Organic matter in a landfill produces methane gas, the second-largest contributor to the greenhouse gas problem. Methane is also twenty-five times as potent as the top contributor, carbon dioxide, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.[i] By composting this material instead, we significantly reduce our methane emissions. In fact, the EPA estimates that composting can achieve a 95-percent methane reduction efficiency when compared to landfilling organic waste.[ii]
Root Ball Recycling: Minimizing Even More Waste
At KAYAK, we use a mixture of perlite and coco coir, the natural hair-like fibers from the outer husk of coconut, as a growing medium for our cannabis. The leftover root balls with this mixture were once accumulating on the grow property. Now, Elements Mountain Compost processes and recycles these root balls. This creates a rich mixture that aerates the soil and retains water. By again transforming waste into a resource, we’re making a positive impact on our environment.
A Green Future Together
Our partnership with Elements Mountain Compost has been transformative, for KAYAK and the entire community. Together, we’re leading the charge in sustainable waste solutions, and setting an example for others to follow. As we grow, we envision a greener future where we minimize waste, optimize resources and help the environment thrive. Join us on this journey toward a more sustainable tomorrow!