Cannabis farming has grown leaps and bounds from where it started. Aside from maneuvering the many legal concerns that now exist, the farming process has also had to adapt to today’s rapidly growing cannabis climate. Despite astounding expansion in the cannabis farming world, two growers have managed to maintain their careful, concise and earth-friendly process for decades to produce homegrown fresh flower for those in need.
Meet the founders of Flatbed Ridge Farms: Guy, who holds triple citizenship (British, Canadian, and more recently, American) and Linda, a San Diego-born wildlands conservation consultant. The two live a blissful back-to-the-land, off-grid lifestyle on Flatbed Ridge Farms, a member of the Flow Kana farmer ecosystem. While they hailed from different parts of the world, Linda’s and Guy’s diverse backgrounds united them to form what is now Flatbed Ridge Farms in an area renowned for its cannabis heritage.
Although she grew up near the Pacific Ocean, Linda’s fondest childhood memories stem from her time visiting her grandparents’ farm in Minnesota. Even as a young child, Linda knew she belonged in the country, and she finally got her wish in 1975. The young Southern California native, who was pregnant with her second child at the time, and eight of her friends pooled their money together to buy a few acres of land in Mendocino County.
“I never lost my dream to live in the country. In 1975, my ex-husband and I and a group of friends bought 62 acres of land, part of a former 5200 acre sheep cattle ranch. About 100 other young families bought the rest of the ranch during the 1970s back-to-the-land movement,” Linda shares. “Few of us had any money. We were mostly all poor hippies, but the land was really cheap, unbelievably inexpensive, so as a group we could afford it. One of my land partners sold a stack of comic books to buy his share.”
Linda and her fellow landowners spent time planting cherries, plums, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, vegetables and a couple cannabis plants, happily living on their land and building a supportive community together.
“My group of friends and I bought it with dreams of having a little community here, and we were surrounded by other people that were doing the same thing. It happened all over Mendocino County. It was a big change that happened in the early to late ’70s,” Linda says. “We weren’t all that welcome here to begin with. The locals didn’t know what to make of us, but over time we became part of the greater community.”
Across the globe, Guy was born and raised on various farms throughout England until he the age of 10 when his family emigrated to a farm in Canada.
As an adult, Guy enjoyed his fair share of traveling the world learning various trades along the way. Guy spent a formative four years in New Zealand where he worked for one of the country’s biggest wineries and learning to make wine.
Eventually in the late 80s, Guy made his way to central Mexico where Linda also lived with her two kids. Guy and Linda met while staying at the same hotel.
“1987 was a big year for me. I was living in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. I had an opportunity to go to South Padre Island in Texas, and someone there suggested that I go on down to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico… that’s how we met and fell in love,” Guy says.
Although enjoying their life south of the border together, Guy, Linda and the kids had to return to the states to visit Linda’s Northern California farmstead; unbeknownst to them at the time, they wouldn’t be returning to their home back in Mexico.
“When we came back from Mexico, I was under the impression that we were here to renew visas and finish getting my house through the County Clean Slate Program (that’s a story for another time), and then we’d all go back to Mexico,” Linda says. “We were laying out under the stars one night and Guy asked me, ‘Why are we going back to Mexico?’ I really wanted to be here, but I never imagined I’d find someone else that wanted to live this lifestyle.”
Guy and Linda tied the knot in 1989, and soon after, their daughter Jennifer was born. (She coincidentally now works for Flow Kana, who is renowned for its sustainable sun-grown flower and network of small independent farms.)
The budding family left Mexico and moved to Mendocino to expand their farm. Along with planting cannabis seeds, the dedicated duo wanted to continue their living-off-the-land lifestyle and so planted cherries, plums, apples, pears, pomegranates, olives and an acre of grapes to make wine.
“Because of this wonderful plant, we were able to have incredible freedom that so few people are able to ever experience. It wasn’t like we didn’t work… we had to work really hard just like everybody, but we were working for ourselves,” Linda says.
“I had grown a few plants indoors when I lived in Canada, but nothing like
the scale we have now. We began our cultivation relationship with cannabis back in the last century. In those times, marijuana was illegal on all fronts and the plant and its cultivators were frowned upon by many folks,” Guy says.
By necessity, Guy and Lisa used “guerrilla tactics”, growing under cover, in partial shade or in moss-covered pots located high up in oak trees and painting the fan leaves with non-toxic tempera to disguise the emerald glow.
“Of course the price was higher, but the risk was a lot higher, too, so we only grew a few plants. In the broad picture of the cannabis industry, Flatbed Ridge Farms sprung from those early days.” Guy shares.
Although law enforcement, cannabis plant thieves and other looming dangers threatened their success, Guy and Linda persisted, guided by their firm belief that “marijuana use should be a personal choice, not something mandated by some misinformed distant bureaucrats.”
Along with planting cannabis seeds, the dedicated duo wanted to continue their living-off-the-land and off-grid lifestyle, the California couple expanded by planting olives and an acre and a half of wine grapes so Guy could continue making wine.
“Because of this wonderful cannabis plant, we were able to have incredible freedom that so few people are able to ever experience. It wasn’t like we didn’t work, we had to work really hard, just like anybody does, but we were working for ourselves,” Linda says.
Today, Flatbed Ridge continues to thrive on the same land and in the same back-to-the-land community where it was birthed in 1972. Together Guy and Linda take pride in offering cannabis flower, fruits, vegetables and even a bit of wine at times, all grown using organic methods.
“Don’t give up on your dream, because that’s where it all starts. It
starts in your mind… if you can imagine it, you can make it happen,” Linda adds.