Obviously, these are disquieting times. If one more person instructs me to “stay safe,” I’ll set my hair on fire! Of course, we need to avoid getting sick. Simultaneously, we need to think hard.
When I’m trying to figure something out, the first thing I do is assess where the information is coming from. Thus, I’m going to tell you a bit about myself, so you can better assess this letter.
I’m what is known as an “early adopter.” This means that once I have enough facts to understand where something is going, I tend to act. Usually I am early, not late.
Ahead of the Curve
In 1983, I wound up in Colorado, looking at a massive cattle feedlot.* I knew enough science to predict that feeding crowded cattle all those antibiotics would likely cause resistance, and that huge CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) were causing pollution, the costs of which were externalized, meaning the taxpayer paid to clean things up.
I was the first to start a national beef company to do it differently. Today, antibiotic, growth- hormone free meats are available nationwide.
I’ve had some bloopers. In the 1980’s a local businessman convinced me to get into the blackberry business. Blackberries were healthy…I knew about antioxidants. But I didn’t know that food companies didn’t want real blackberries, because they could duplicate blackberry flavor in a laboratory, taking farmers out of the equation. I was too early…35 years later, I might have pulled something off.
Laura Learns A Lesson
I can do dumb things. On May 18, 2005, I arrived home early from a business trip, my arm in a sling. My bum shoulder, which recently had been operated on, hurt. In the barn was a horse “a three-year-old could ride” who neck reined, so I could ride with my good left arm. Left arm wheeling, I threw on a saddle, got on the horse, and don’t remember anything else until I “came to” in a wheelchair at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.
I had taken a hard fall. Obviously, it wasn’t such a good horse, and I shouldn’t have trusted the neighbor who was trying to sell him to me. I made a mistake, a big one that put me within an inch of being a quadriplegic. It took me years to come back. I learned a lesson. I’m far less trusting, now.
So that is me, warts and all.
Shorten the Supply Chain
After the horse wreck, I was awarded a fellowship during which we studied the behavior of complex systems. This involved a lot of computer modeling, testing predictions, changing probabilities, and evaluating outcomes. While we were studying climate pollution, one lesson I took away was this: to understand a complex system, you are better off if the system is small and well-defined, with clear boundaries.
I strongly think this is true with food, and with hemp. To safely manage the system, shorten the supply chain. It is the only way to know what is going on, computers or not. Then, trust, but verify.
With Laura’s Homestead Alternatives CBD products, unlike other hemp products and companies, the supply chain is short. We grow the hemp organically here at the farm and extract it at a GMP-certified* plant in Lexington, Kentucky. Then, two local companies make lotions and candy for us. Everything takes place within 35 miles.
Keep Great Records, and Keep Your Eyes Open!
Homestead team members and I are on the farm, in the extraction facility, or at the local companies daily. There are relatively few people, and not much distance, involved in growing, then making, Laura’s Homestead Alternatives CBD products. It’s a short supply chain, and we can watch it with laser focus. Plus we do laboratory tests every step of the way.*
Trust, but verify.
This is far different than international supply chains, which we are now seeing in action: the empty grocery shelves; stocking clerks concerned for their own safety; worry about temporary farm workers arriving from Mexico to harvest food in California’s central valley; factories shutting down, not only because of social distancing requirements, but also because of just-in-time inventory systems failing.
But at Laura’s Mercantile, we’ve shortened the supply chain. We are safe, and we are here.
*See the story I wrote for Women’s History Month last year.
**What does “GMP” mean? The acronym stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices,” required to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, and dietary supplements.
***You can review the test for each and every Homestead Alternatives product you buy. Visit our Certifications page, type in the product lot number from your bottle or package, and up pops your test.