Podcast

A Hemp Children’s Book & Colorado Hemp Farming With Blue Forest Farms

A Hemp Children’s Book & Colorado Hemp Farming With Blue Forest Farms
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

 
 
00:00 / 00:46:41
 
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This week’s podcast guest created a unique children’s book about hemp, in addition to farming our favorite plant in Colorado.

First in this episode of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, our host Matt opens with commentary on the FDA submitting their CBD Enforcement rules and what it could mean to for the CBD business in America. Currently, the CBD market is almost entirely unregulated, so these regulations are a long time coming.

This episode’s conversation is with Zach Dorsett, Chief Growth Officer of Blue Forest Farms. They talk about everything from Zach’s background in medical cannabis to his upcoming children’s book, A Hemp Story.

About Blue Forest Farms and ‘A Hemp Story’

Blue Forest Farms is a 150 acre hemp farm in Longmont, Colorado. offering high CBD flower, seed, and extracts. With over 40 years of combined organic farming and extraction experience, their team of farmers, botanists and extraction professionals understand what it takes to deliver exceptional hemp products.

In Zach’s new book “A Hemp Story,” two children (Ari and Jacob) visit Grandpa’s hemp farm, where he introduces them to his “magical” plants. It’s sweetly illustrated in full color by Natia Gogiashvili. The book is due out soon and available for pre-order now.

You’ve got hemp questions? We’ve got hemp answers!

Send us your hemp questions and you might hear them answered on one of our Hemp Q&A episodes. Send your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind, this phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for the Ministry of Hemp should be sent to [email protected]

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Photo: A photo of Zach Dorsett under a Blue Forest Farms awning. The motto reads "choose hemp. change the world. join the revolution." Also pictured is his hemp children's book, "A Hemp Story."
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Blue Forest Farms is a 150-acre hemp farm in Longmont, Colorado. Chief Growth Officer Zach Dorsett (pictured) is about to launch his unique new children’s book, “A Hemp Story.”

A Hemp Children’s Book & Colorado Hemp Farming: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 48 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast, “A hemp children’s book & colorado hemp farming with Blue Forest Farms”:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum, and this is The Ministry of Hemp Podcast brought to you by MinistryofHemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education.

Matt Baum:
Hello and welcome back, and today on the show we’re going to be talking to Zach Dorsett. He is the Chief Growth Officer for Blue Forest Farms but more importantly than that, he wrote a children’s book about hemp and we’re going to be talking about it among some other things. But before we get into that, some pretty big governmental news coming down the pike here. The FDA submitted their CBD enforcement policy draft guidance to the White House.

CBD and the FDA

Matt Baum:
This past Wednesday, July 22nd, the FDA submitted their CBD enforcement policy document for approval which means we could have some long awaited industry guidance along the way. As of yet, nobody really knows what that guidance is going to be and while CBD enforcement policy certainly sounds kind of scary, it’s actually a good thing. Upon approval, we could have rules very quickly. Like in the next couple of weeks. What does this mean? It means rules could be coming to the CBD business. Standards, practices, and rules as set down by the federal government, which CBD companies that are doing it right have been screaming for for years now. When it is approved, the public release of the enforcement policy could come very quickly, like a matter of weeks.

Matt Baum:
No one is really sure where the FDA is going to go with this but it looks like it’s going to go one of two ways. And that is they’re going to put out rules that are claims based or standards based. Claims based meaning they could crack down on CBD companies that are making false claims. Which is good. We need to get the snake oil salesmen out of the way so people that are doing it right can represent CBD well and get a good product to the public. The standards side basically means that everyone will be expected to produce CBD products in a safe and effective way. Basically setting up good and safe manufacturing practice requirements, which again, this is a good thing. It’s better for everybody whether you’re in the production business or you’re a consumer buying CBD.

Matt Baum:
This is a story we’re going to continue to follow and of course I’ll try and keep you up to date on it. But this is a great first step and this is something that CBD producers all across the United States have been looking for, rules. Because once the government establishes federal rules, that will also help states get in line. Right now, we have different regulations in almost every state. And that is not helpful for anyone. So fingers crossed this new policy draft guidance will pass and US CBD providers will finally have some rules that they can look to, to make sure that they’re doing it the right way.

Kansas hemp corrections

Matt Baum:
Before I get into my weekly conversation, let’s do a couple corrections from last week. My buddy Kelly, who I talked to, he’s officially my buddy now because we got along very well. I don’t know if he knows that but deal with it, Kelly. He wanted me to let you know we needed to make a few corrections from our talk last week. One, Kansas was first in the nation for hemp bushels per acre in 1863. Two, Kelly served on the Department of AG IHRAB as an appointed member. And three, Kansas has actually increased it’s number of hemp licenses from 2019 by 11. All good things and I’m glad we got that straightened out. Thank you, Kelly.

Meet Zach Dorsett of Blue Forest Farms

Matt Baum:
My conversation today is with Zach Dorsett. As I mentioned earlier, he’s the Chief Growth Officer for Blue Forest Farms, but he’s a lot more than that and he has very interesting story. Not only that, Zach tells interesting stories. He wrote a children’s book all about hemp that is coming very soon and of course I’ll have more about that in the show notes but here is my conversation with Zach Dorsett of Blue Forest Farms.

Matt Baum:
So, before we go into the children’s book that I want to talk about, because I know it’s a weird intro but I do want to get into that, tell me a little bit about Blue Forest. How did you get involved in this? Where did this start? For you personally, that is.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. So, I’ve been in the hemp industry for a few years now. Since about 2016 and I started on the marijuana side and the push to CBD was really pretty strong for me. It’s funny to think back on it because I didn’t really know much about CBD or the endocannabinoid system or some of the things that I really get excited about now.

Matt Baum:
It’s crazy because four years ago nobody did. 2016, nobody knew anything about this. It’s nuts.

Zach Dorsett:
Seriously. We’re all just babies.

Matt Baum:
I know. Right?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah, so I had been doing some direct patient work in addition to doing some consulting inside the cannabis space. And so what the consulting looked like is it was primarily centered around extraction, which was still pretty new in 2014, 2015, even in 2016, and it was really powerful for the cannabis industry because we took this, at the time it was really about utilizing the waste stream. The trimmings or flowers that weren’t going to sell or weren’t as appealable to sell and being able to take that and turn it into an alternative revenue stream. And concentrates now, I think, in that journey, I’m sure people have all kinds of reasons for getting involved in concentrates but for me, it helped me understand the reasons why people need concentrates and why they’re such an essential part of our community and our toolbox and it really helped me understand some of the chemistry behind extraction and solvent extraction and how all that all worked. That kind of goes back before hemp and then in 2016, I was doing a little bit of direct patient work so I had a few patients I was caregiving for, and so one patient had MS-

Matt Baum:
I don’t mean to stop you, but tell me about this. You were caring for patients? I don’t know of this aspect.

Zach Dorsett:
Sorry. That is a term commonly used in the cannabis community.

Matt Baum:
Oh, okay. Gotcha.

Zach Dorsett:
Basically you’re providing cannabis to a medical marijuana patient. They’re not my patients.

Matt Baum:
Sure. Okay.

Zach Dorsett:
I’m not a doctor or anything like that.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, I was like, whoa. I didn’t see that part in the bio. Back up. “Oh, yeah. I got my doctorate a couple years in between there too.”

Zach Dorsett:
Sorry. No, no. So these are medical marijuana patients. That’s why, it’s kind of maybe not the best verbiage.

Matt Baum:
It is what it is.

Zach Dorsett:
You’re using marijuana for medical purposes.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Zach Dorsett:
And I just kind of get to know them through the community. One of them was a neighbor. One of them was a friend that I had found through political activism and volunteer work and then another had found me, I think through a Craigslist thing or something. Or maybe I found him through a Craigslist. He had MS and he wanted just the leaves. So I had a small grow for myself, medical marijuana grow for myself, and he just wanted the leaves to juice, right?

Matt Baum:
Really?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. It was really giving him great relief. And so he would come and pick up these garbage bags. When we de leafed or pulled down the plants, we would take all those leaves and freeze them immediately. And so I had a chest freezer full of these garbage bags of leaves. And then he would take those and he would juice them. He would pick them once a month or something like that. So I caught up with him a few weeks ago and he’s doing really well. There was another gal, this is the gal through the political activism work, and she had fibromyalgia and she was taking cannabis to help relieve her symptoms presumably. And we kind of digged down on learning about the plant and I had this grow and so I was helping, giving her some of the medicine I was growing, and I always found it really interesting to just hear people’s experiences. You know? Cannabis has been essential to my growth and development and it definitely provides a level of support to my health and well being that I think I take for granted a lot but I’m not one of those folks that had a debilitating illness. You know? Where I use cannabis and it gives me this life changing-

Matt Baum:
I think I’m with you. I think I’m in a very similar space. I have aches and pains and whatnot but I’ve never debilitated and I’ve found it’s helped me a lot as well.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. It’s cool. It’s one of those things, I took a step back a while back and I was like, well, maybe that is a big part of why I’m so healthy. You know?

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Zach Dorsett:
You can’t really use cannabis and not get the benefit.

Matt Baum:
Right.

How Zach found CBD in Florida

Zach Dorsett:
Everything is medical. Anyways, all these guys were pointing me into CBD. They all said, “I need CBD.” Oh, the third was my neighbor. And he had Tourette and so he was using cannabis to control his Tourette syndrome. But yeah, they were all pushing me into CBD. Asking me if I knew about CBD. Where to get it. What made it different, better, etc? And they were all very attracted to it and I think it was my neighbor friend first that got a hold of some and found a dispensary that specialized in it here in Colorado Springs called Natural Mystic. And they were one of the first dispensaries to start offering CBD dominant marijuana.

Matt Baum:
This was still around 2016 roughly?

Zach Dorsett:
It was maybe 2015. Right before. Right before I got into the hemp space.

Matt Baum:
Gotcha.

Zach Dorsett:
They were all kind of leading me towards CBD. What’s CBD? So I started looking, what’s CBD? Blah, blah, blah. And I was actually out on a vacation in Florida visiting my sister, she lives there in Miami, and I had walked into a head shop and they were selling all this CBD stuff. And I just started talking to the guy that ran the head shop about what the deal was because this was before they had medical marijuana in Florida. And he kind of explained how it was through the hemp laws and I had heard about hemp being legal but never really connected it to cannabis. I’d always thought, “Oh, great. We can grow our own grain.”

Matt Baum:
We can make our own parachutes. Cool.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. Exactly. Cool but it’s not going to have a future in the industry. But this brought it all together for me and it was like, I had just been learning about the endocannabinoid system, I think, too. And what I learned about it, which was like, “Oh, what I learned was, we have a system in our body that utilizes and makes its own cannabinoids.” And I was like, that’s amazing. Pot is obviously for everyone. You know?

Matt Baum:
Right. We just solved all the mysteries of the universe right there. You know? There it is.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. Click. But then there’s people, and certainly people in my life that never wanted to get high.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Zach Dorsett:
Or tolerated the high at best. And so yeah, when I learned about CBD, it kind of made everything click. I was like, oh crap. This is the answer. This is for all the people that don’t want to get high but need the cannabinoids.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Baking CBD edibles in Colorado

Zach Dorsett:
And I was like, this is cool. I want to learn more about this. So I started to get involved just making edibles. And we were just, me and a roommate, in Colorado you’ve got cottage law and you can make edibles in your house, or make, not edibles, but you can make non-marijuana products.

Matt Baum:
Right. Non-marijuana products.

Zach Dorsett:
In your house and sell them to the general public or even to stores and stuff. And so that’s what we stared doing and we started making some chocolate bars. I had some family friend, a friend of my dad’s that had been going back and forth to Jamaica to this old growth cocoa farm [inaudible 00:13:56]-

Matt Baum:
Very cool.

Zach Dorsett:
And was bringing this … It was like magical chocolate. You know? That he was bringing back and so we were doing that, we mixed that with the CBD, and we actually got in a few dispensaries in before they couldn’t sell hemp stuff, and now they can again.

Matt Baum:
Right. It kind of blows my mind that Colorado cannabis guy had to go to Miami to find CBD. That is just … This was just a few years ago and now CBD, Colorado and Oregon are like the CBD capitals of the United States basically.

Zach Dorsett:
Well, it’s true. But I would say, I tell you what, I would say that in 2016, the consumer marketplace for CBD products was far larger in Florida.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. The thing is, is that in Florida they didn’t have marijuana.

Matt Baum:
I guess that makes sense.

Zach Dorsett:
There’s this whole group of people that need and want cannabinoids and it works directly with your physiology. You know?

Matt Baum:
And you’ve got a massive geriatric population down there too. I mean, hey, makes sense. From there, you decide to go into your own CBD business?

Zach Dorsett:
Yep. It was pretty small time at first and then we ended up renting this coffee shop out on the weekends because one of their customers wanted us to be in a commercial kitchen environment and so we rented this coffee shop out and we were just using it on the weekends because they were closed on the weekends and in the evenings. You know? And we would rent it out, we would just go in and we would have to keep everything perfectly clean so they could come in the next day like nothing ever happens.

Matt Baum:
I’ve done that same gig with catering. I know all about it. It’s a nightmare. You spend more time cleaning than you do cooking anything.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. It definitely limits your ability to produce. But eventually, we actually bought the coffee shop. It wasn’t profitable so we bought it for a pretty modest amount of money. Kind of took it off the guy’s hands.

Matt Baum:
That’s nice of you. I thought coffee was like a billion … Coffee shops, that’s like printing money, right? Come on.

Zach Dorsett:
You know, it was so interesting because it was in the old folks center, the senior center, in Colorado Springs. They had 150 unique seniors come in there a day. And so we got to expose all those guys to CBD.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing.

Zach Dorsett:
And talk to them about CBD and start selling it. Then the landlord ended up kicking us out not knowing really what CBD was.

Matt Baum:
Of course. You were drug dealers. You brought these horrible drugs in. Of course.

Zach Dorsett:
Yep. And so when our lease expired, they declined to renew it actually. I guess. They didn’t kick us out.

Matt Baum:
They respectfully asked you to leave.

Zach Dorsett:
Exactly.

Matt Baum:
Got it.

Joining Blue Forest Farms

Zach Dorsett:
And at that time, I had been starting to think about going into processing. Basically starting a lab for hemp. And in my wide eyed, naïve-

Matt Baum:
How hard can chemistry be? I mean, come on. We all took it in high school.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. My question was, how different could this be than marijuana? You know? Because I was like, I already know how to do this for marijuana. It can’t be that much different.

Matt Baum:
How different was it? Was it a huge … Was it a massive jump? Or does it make pretty much sense? If you can do this, you can do this.

Zach Dorsett:
You know, the thing is that that process is largely the same but when you’re doing the process on five pounds, it’s so much different than when you’re doing it on 100 pounds. You know? When you’re doing it on a commodity that’s 50 cents, versus a commodity that’s $10, or $5, yeah. It’s just a lot tighter.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Zach Dorsett:
So that was the learning curve. But that’s how I met Blue Forest Farms. So I had started this processing facility. It’s called [inaudible 00:18:23] Extracts in Colorado Springs, with another hemp farmer, Sean Putnam, he’s from New Mexico. He’s also an old family friend. We had started this thing, all gung ho and it was just this massive humbling experience.

Matt Baum:
As it should be, though. You’re either humbled and you succeed or you’re not humbled and you fail and you decide it was everybody else’s fault, not mine.

Zach Dorsett:
Right. No, 100%. Those are the two options.

Matt Baum:
Pretty much. Yeah.

Zach Dorsett:
That’s funny. Yeah, Blue Forest Farms was one of our first customers and they are still our biggest and best. Since I’ve started working with them, it’s become a little bit of blurred line but it’s been really good. Blue Forest Farms, they did 22 acres in 2017 and we were opening our doors at [inaudible 00:19:31] in September of 2017 and labs were in short supply. There were very few people doing extraction at that time.

Matt Baum:
Oh, yeah.

Zach Dorsett:
And then I kind of took some of my product development experience with Cannablossum and just coming from being a long time enthusiast, marijuana enthusiast-

Matt Baum:
It’s funny how all the CBD guys are. Every one of them, as a matter of fact.

Zach Dorsett:
100%.

Matt Baum:
If you happened to bump into one who is like, “Oh, no. I never smoked weed. No. Not for me.”

Zach Dorsett:
No.

Matt Baum:
No judgment. I’m hosting this podcast because I was an enthusiast. So I’m with you. You know?

Zach Dorsett:
Totally. That’s so funny. And we all just wanted the same things. And we needed each other. The farm needs the processor. The processor needs the farm.

Matt Baum:
It just makes sense.

Zach Dorsett:
Symbiotic relationship.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. It’s the same with farm to table restaurants. The movement that has popped up where people are like, “Look, I want that beef every time.” Or, “I want those carrots every time.” You know? It just makes sense.

Zach Dorsett:
Yes.

Growing and processing great hemp

Matt Baum:
And you know where it’s coming from. You can control it. Is this how you got into the farm aspect of it, basically? And learning about the genetics? Or did that all sort of carry through from marijuana as well?

Zach Dorsett:
No. I didn’t really know much about the genetics from marijuana. You know? I didn’t have any breeding experience and I still don’t. But what I did have and what I have got that a lot of breeders don’t have is through [inaudible 00:21:18] Extracts, we processed for over 60 farms and we have done product development for 30. And so I’ve really been able to see a lot of material come through of varying quality. I’ve seen material that was grown in Southern Colorado, North Colorado, front range, western slope, I’ve seen all of that. I’ve seen all the strains you can imagine.

Matt Baum:
I’m sure.

Zach Dorsett:
It’s rare that something comes up that I haven’t seen processed. And I’ve seen drip versus pivot versus flood versus … I’ve seen some of the distinctions between the different methodologies and yeah, so that’s kind of what helped me hone in on the genetic piece and I really drew heavily from, and really to be 100% honest, you know, the breeding program relies on so many extraordinary people.

Matt Baum:
Oh, yeah. Of course.

Zach Dorsett:
I do so little compared to the people that are moving these plants everyday and handling them and caring for them and making sure that they’re healthy to the folks that are collecting the data and running the analysis to the genetics team that it’s going in and doing sequencing and looking through the sequencing data and trying to unlock the genetic markers. The only thing I really did in the breeding program, as far as creating [inaudible 00:22:56] and Queen Dream, which are just phenomenal strains in the hemp scene right now, really making waves, is just select those parents. And I drew heavily from those that experience through extraction, when we selected those families and the unique phenols that we used for that breeding program.

Matt Baum:
Did you start having other farms asking you about this? Like, “Hey, man, your guys’ product is kicking ass. What are you using?” Did it go the other way too? You know what I mean?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. I mean, I feel like that’s always, we do hear that and that’s always super flattering, right? When you hear that from another farm. But I think there’s a big sense of comradery in the hemp industry. You know? Everybody that we’ve worked with, and I would say almost everybody we work with is like a competitor quote unquote in one sense or another, right? But there just isn’t that feeling at all. At least when I meet with folks or meet folks, and it’s a lot, we’re trying to solve the problems, we are all, I know almost everybody I know in this hemp space is just working so hard.

Matt Baum:
It’s a battle. It’s just a constant battle.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. And I think everybody is driven by the same inspiration. I mean, most of the folks that are here now, at least. Now that the money is gone.

Matt Baum:
That weeded out the losers. You know? Right?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. No but people are really driven by that passion to create positive change, to empower one another, to create healing and those are just profound intentions. You know? To have.

Matt Baum:
Definitely. And like you said, you can have the best genetic strains in the world but if they’re not handled, if they’re not grown right, if they’re not watered right, if they’re not handled properly, if they’re not identified right, any step of the way that can break down. You have garbage. Doesn’t matter.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. And Queen Dream and Hot Blonde do really, really amazing in a lot of the prime growing regions but there’s always going to be room for improvement and there’s always going to be strains that are better acclimate … Well, I wouldn’t say always, but you know. There’s strains that are better acclimated for some communities.

Matt Baum:
But just like you said, you look at them and you work with each other and you talk to each other and you go, “What did you do there? What’s different from that from this?” And you start to put stuff together. And you go all right, these parents, these are the new parents I want to work with. Look what we’ve got here. You know?

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. You know what’s a big one for that, is the horror stories. You know? And they don’t get told enough in our community, I think. They are being told right now because there’s a lot of them but we need those. We need those to come out. We need to talk about those. I’m ready to talk about my skeletons, the mistakes I made and how much it cost me so that someone else can avoid that.

Matt Baum:
Totally. Success stories are great but you never hear about, “Oh, yeah, this guy was a professional BMX stunt rider.” What was it like the first time you decided you were going to do that move off a ramp? I’m just curious. Yeah, I broke both my shoulders, my neck, and my back. You know? That is the stuff. I would love to talk to people. I feel like I talk to a lot of success stories. I would love to talk to people who are like, “Yeah, I failed. Over and over and over again.” Because that’s how you learn. Right?

Zach Dorsett:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
Going from there … Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go ahead.

Zach Dorsett:
People have been vulnerable. I wouldn’t say, it’s not like, people don’t wear it on their sleeve but if you do talk to people in this industry and you get out there, people get vulnerable with you and they’ll tell you where they lost. You know?

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Zach Dorsett:
And that’s as important as knowing where people are winning.

Matt Baum:
I just talked to a couple guys in the last show actually, the Harney and Sons and they do tea infusion with CBD and they came right out and they were like, “Yeah, we decided we were just going to plant our own stuff and live happily ever after. And it sucked. It sucked really bad. We did it totally wrong.” But they learned from that and now they have a very successful crop going. You know? They’re sustainable because of that now too, but it took a big failure just like anything else.

Zach Dorsett:
Yes.

Creating a hemp children’s book

Matt Baum:
Now, let me ask you, you have a successful business and you’re doing great, and you decide, “You know what I want to do? I want to get into children’s books.” And you decide you’re going to make a kids book about hemp. Where did this come from? What spurred this idea?

Zach Dorsett:
Man. So, this was just, I mean, I don’t even know. My sister is the biggest inspiration for this. She wrote a book called The Lion and the Elephant. It is just a really, really heartwarming story about two unlikely friends and there’s just simple, really warm messages. Right?

Matt Baum:
Simple truths.

Zach Dorsett:
In this book.

Matt Baum:
If you will.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. Yeah. The truth and it’s like, yeah so I was just really inspired by that and one of the things she did in it, in the last, it’s mostly a read along but the last part of the book actually teaches the students or reader something. I don’t want to ruin it but-

Matt Baum:
Sure. No spoilers here. I’m guessing the lion doesn’t eat the kid.

Zach Dorsett:
It’s really inspired. I was like, children’s books not only can be these incredible tools that can teach and culture and nurture the next generation that is going to inherit this planet, but it also can be this really cool tool. And so that was what was really inspiring for me. And so that’s what I tried to do with the book. In the end of the hemp story, there is a really, really fun activity that actually helps the student create long lasting change or contribute to long lasting change.

Matt Baum:
So did your sister help you with it? Are you from a family of children’s book writers or something? You just happened to have an amazing sister?

Zach Dorsett:
I’m from a family of children’s book writers. For sure.

Matt Baum:
That is crazy. That’s not something you hear very often.

Zach Dorsett:
I say that a little in just because we’ve both written one but I tell you, I’m enjoying it and I think I would like to write more if it’s well received and maybe even if it’s not. I can improve from it.

Matt Baum:
You can always waste more time if it’s not. You know?

Zach Dorsett:
Can only get better, I guess.

Matt Baum:
What is the idea though? Is it education? Is that the idea? Like, hey kids, this isn’t something to be afraid of even though you’re going to be told that it is?

Zach Dorsett:
So the biggest thing in why I wanted to read the book and the message is about the story. Hemp is going to facilitate this world change. You know? That’s happening right now.

Matt Baum:
Totally agree. 100%.

Zach Dorsett:
We’re in the middle of it. It’s just going to change the whole fabric of our community. The way that illness affects people. I call it the reverse frog in boiling water effect. We’re just going to turn around one day a couple years from now and our world is just going to look completely different because of hemp and it’s almost going to be like we didn’t even notice some of the things that were changing.

Matt Baum:
I hope so. I hope you’re right. That’s awesome.

Zach Dorsett:
In that is this really, really violent struggle. You know?

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Zach Dorsett:
For existence and for the right to grow a plant and for the right to care for ourselves and our loved ones. And yeah, so that is the big part that I don’t want to lose touch with because I don’t think that … The inevitability of hemp’s positive change, it could go one way or another.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Zach Dorsett:
And I think we’ve all got to be working towards an open access, making this more available to researchers and to people that want to use it and to just every aspect. Right? Of the chain. You’ve got to make this more accessible and continue to push forward and open up and a lot of that comes from really recognizing the struggle and the sacrifice that was made.

Matt Baum:
Without a doubt.

Zach Dorsett:
To get where we are today.

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Zach Dorsett:
And that’s, I think, a hard story to tell to children.

Matt Baum:
That’s what made me, when I first saw this, I can’t remember who it was. Jill, possibly, that pitched this to me and was like, “Yeah, he wrote a children’s book about hemp.” And I just started thinking, okay let me just put myself in that mindset. I’m going to write a children’s book about hemp. Where the hell do you start? How do you boil this down for a kid? And one, make it interesting. Two, make them understand how ridiculous the situation is. And while demystifying it and teaching them something. I was like, I got to see this. Where do you start here? Tell me a little bit about the story without spoiling it.

Zach Dorsett:
Well, the story utilizes some characters from real life.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Zach Dorsett:
We’ve got some characters right here in our hemp community and it starts with Trina Johnson, who is my partner at Blue Forest Farms and our strong and fearless matriarch there, it follows her two children through this story with their grandpa. Learning about how once upon a time, hemp was everywhere. Talks about some of the early uses. Right? Of this plant in history. And then we talk about what happened with the criminalization of marijuana and hemp alongside it. And how some of the special interest really sought to and were successful in controlling these various industries. And then how it broke free of that and what had to be sacrificed for that to be happening. Kind of where we are today.

Matt Baum:
I love what you’re saying here because it seems like it would be so easy to just be like, “Well, it’s a story of two kids and their grandfather and grandfather uses hemp to do this and they go, ‘Grandpa, I thought hemp was bad.’ And he’s like, ‘No, man, it’s not so bad. Here’s what it does.'” And you learn a lesson. But I like that you trust the kids enough that you’re writing about and to understand that yeah, there was corporate greed, there was racism, there was some really gnarly stuff that happened in this country that touches on so many other things.

Matt Baum:
I think that’s really important and I think that’s one of the things that when I was a kid, I fell in love with comic books and what not, and it blew my mind whenever comic books would step out and look at a real world problem and I would think, “Oh, man. Yeah, I read about that on the news and now Spiderman is dealing with it.” Or something. You know what I mean? And I think children’s books are an amazing way to one, trust kids and impart this knowledge. And teach them something at a young age that they’re going to look back on and hopefully think, “Well, that was the silliest, dumbest time in American History. I can’t believe anybody had to put up with that.” You know? I think it’s really brave, honestly. I really like what you’ve done here.

Zach Dorsett:
Hey, thank you so much. That is so kind of you, Matt. I really appreciate the work that you’re doing and Ministry of Hemp is doing and-

Matt Baum:
Guys like you make it easy. Honestly. We’re just trying to echo your voices. It’s awesome to find somebody that came from a space, a marijuana space, moved into CBD and then instead of just doubling down and going, “Let’s make this money. Let’s make this money.” You’re educating now but you’re not just educating. You’re trying to teach kids about this and I think that’s amazing. I really do. By the way, yesterday, completely unrelated. I was moving some dirt around, threw my back out, your package showed up today and I used the Broadway Balm on my back and it worked and it was great. I loved it. This is perfect timing. Fantastic.

Zach Dorsett:
I love it.

Becoming BFFs with Blue Forest Farms

Matt Baum:
I’m a fan. And I love the Blue Forest Farms, BFF, that’s great. That’s really nice marketing. I dig that.

Zach Dorsett:
It just happened like that. It’s so funny. Dave Asbury, he’s the farmer and he’s Trina’s partner at Blue Forest Farms, and they are our partner. He came up with that name. I don’t think he thought about that at all because he’s an old school farmer. He’s a real deal farmer. You know? But yeah, it’s funny that it really worked out great. We definitely feel that way.

Matt Baum:
Tell me, the book is on pre-order, correct? Where do we go to pre-order it?

Zach Dorsett:
Yes. At BFFHemp.com.

Matt Baum:
Okay.

Zach Dorsett:
And that’s where you can get that pain relief balm as well. Is that what it’s called? What is it called?

Matt Baum:
The Broadway Balm is what they’re calling it.

Zach Dorsett:
Broadway Balm, sorry.

Matt Baum:
That’s okay. I mean, they’re partners. You don’t own it. I get it. And when does the book come out?

Zach Dorsett:
You know, gosh. I think we’re looking at September being able to fill all the pre-orders and get it onto some shelves. But we are still waiting for some of the final illustrations and from there-

Matt Baum:
You’re not handling all of this yourself. You’ve got help because you’re a busy guy. It sounds like you have a couple jobs.

Zach Dorsett:
I do. I have really good help.

Matt Baum:
Good.

Zach Dorsett:
I work with an incredible local artist named Danny Star, he’s done some really cool murals around Denver and around Colorado.

Matt Baum:
The preview stuff I saw is adorable, by the way. It looks fantastic.

Zach Dorsett:
Oh, thank you. Yeah. He did all the design work and then this amazing, amazing artist, Nadia Gogiashvili, she’s an amazing artist. She does pretty much only children’s books and yeah, I mean, just phenomenal. And so she’s created all the characters, we love them, and it’s just a great cast.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. This looks like a riot. I’m excited to see this when it comes out.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. I can’t wait. I’ll definitely get you a copy on me.

Matt Baum:
Please do. Please do. What’s your next children’s book about, by the way? What’s the next one?

Zach Dorsett:
You know, that’s a really good question. I guess I haven’t thought about that. I really want to get some feedback first. I know there’s things I can learn and improve on and I really like already some of the feedback I’ve got on the vision but I’m real excited to put it in some folks hands. Really excited to hear what Jake and Ari and Asher, that’s Trina’s little ones that are featured in the story, what they think.

Matt Baum:
Nice.

Zach Dorsett:
And their opinion will matter of the utmost.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Definitely. Make sure you get your main characters right. I mean, come on.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
Especially when you work with them. That could be embarrassing.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. They’re brutally honest too. So they will not hold back.

Matt Baum:
That’s good. You’ve got to have good critics. That’s important. You can’t have a bunch of friends blowing smoke up your ass. Right? Come on.

Zach Dorsett:
That’s right. You won’t get better that way.

Matt Baum:
Well, just be careful. If it’s an instant hit, the first question they’re going to say, “What do you got in the can next, Dorsett? Let’s hear about it.”

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. No, I need to start thinking at least of some subject matter. I’m glad you posed that because I hadn’t even asked myself that question.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough. Zach, you’ve been great to talk to. Is there anything you want to leave us with before you go?

Zach Dorsett:
Well, 2020 is a big deciding year for the hemp industry.

Matt Baum:
Most definitely.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. So I just want to bring a lot of attention to that and support your local hemp farm. People, you’re going to be seeing CBD companies popping up everywhere. Even more than you’ve seen already. And that’s because the research says that people need it. You know? And so yeah, I just say go with the flow, continue experimenting, do your due diligence, and know what you’re buying or trying.

Matt Baum:
Right. Absolutely. You’re lucky. You’re in Colorado so you can support your local hemp farm. I’m in freaking Nebraska. We’re still fighting to have local hemp farms, let alone support them.

Zach Dorsett:
Nebraska is one of the places that hemp still grows naturally.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s one of the things that was brought to the state legislature. We were like, this is not an invasive species. This has been here. It grows very well here. It is not the alien monstrosity that you think it is. We used to grow the hell out of it here, as a matter of fact. And now-

Zach Dorsett:
They’ve been trying to kill it for 50 years.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. Definitely and it has not worked. That ought to tell you something. Go out and try and kill corn. It’s real easy. You know? Everything wants to kill corn.

Zach Dorsett:
Seriously. So that’s cool. Well, I believe that it will come and I know that you’re working to create that change and I’ll look forward to having you out there and hopefully Nebraska joining in the season in 2021.

Matt Baum:
We’re trying, man. We’re trying as hard as we can. Just got to get some old ideas out of the way and I think, quite honestly, it might take a new generation of kids in Nebraska reading your book to grow up and go, “No, we should be doing this.” You know? So here’s to hoping.

Zach Dorsett:
If there’s a chance to read up there, you let me know, I will come up in a heartbeat.

Matt Baum:
That sounds awesome. I’ll keep you posted. Definitely. That would be very cool.

Zach Dorsett:
Yeah. I’m committed to do readings and to read my book. I have a good expressive voice and I certainly, I think it’ll be fun to hear me read it and yeah, I’m going to do book stores.

Matt Baum:
Most definitely. I’ll keep in touch if I hear of anything. Yeah. We’ll get you up here. That would be a riot, man. And who knows, maybe this Covid stuff goes away and we can actually have a beer and I can take you out to dinner or something. Who knows? Maybe.

Zach Dorsett:
Oh gosh. I always keep forgetting about Covid.

Matt Baum:
I know. It’s like, remember when society was normal? And we’re like, now we just feel like this is normal but it’s not. You know? It’s terrifying but at least we’re adapting, I’ll say that. We’ve adapted pretty well so far. Now tomorrow, the whole thing could burst into flames. We’ll see. But for now, we’re doing what we can.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
You can find links to Blue Forest Farm and the pre-order for Zach’s book, A Hemp Story, in the show notes for this episode. We find ourselves at the end of another episode but there is still plenty of Ministry of Hemp to keep you busy until the next show. Head over to MinistryofHemp.com, we have got a fantastic article about CBD and nausea and the science behind it. We’re finding that it’s actually very effective for treating nausea, whether it’s nausea that’s induced from chemotherapy or just nausea induced from certain conditions. CBD is proving to be very helpful. So go check that article out. You can always follow us on all your social media /ministryofhemp, @ministryofhemp, we’re all over the place and we’re always posting cool hemp stories and hemp links to our buddies that are doing great work in the hemisphere, if you will. I don’t know if that’s a word, but I’m going with it.

Matt Baum:
Thanks again to Kelly for getting back to me so we could get those corrections in here and huge thanks to Zach. He was a ton of fun to talk to. I hope you guys dug this episode and I hope you’re digging all these episodes and if you are, do us a favor and throw us a star rating or a thumbs up on your podcast app. Those ratings get us kicked up in search results so other people can find this information and if you really want to help us out, head over to Patreon.com/ministryofhemp and become a Ministry of Hemp insider. Any amount gets you access to podcast extras like the video we just posted of the Harney brothers who I interviewed two episodes ago, planting their own hemp. Early access to articles and Patreon exclusive articles too.

Matt Baum:
Plus, it really does help us to spread the good word of hemp. So if you like what you hear on the show and what you read on our site, become an insider. It’s the best way to help spread the word. Here at Ministry of Hemp, we believe an accessible world is a better world for everyone so we’ve got a full written transcript of this show in the show notes over at MinistryofHemp.com as well. I got to get out of here. I like to end the show the same way every time by saying, remember to take care of yourself, take care of others, and make good decisions, will ya? This is Matt Baum with the Ministry of Hemp podcast, signing off.

Photo: A photo of Zach Dorsett under a Blue Forest Farms awning. The motto reads "choose hemp. change the world. join the revolution." Also pictured is his hemp children's book, "A Hemp Story."
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Matt Baum has been hosting, producing, and editing podcasts for almost ten years. He's been a touring musician, chef, journalist, and avid comic book fan for as long as he can remember. Currently, Matt lives in Omaha Nebraska with his wife Kacie and pugs Mable and Bobo.

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