This may sound like your average “Meet Your Farmer” piece, but we promise you it’s not.
This is the story of two individuals who are going beyond the plant to educate and create awareness around how cannabis can aid in the treatment of mental disorders and the longevity of recovery from addiction through micro-dosing.
Chris Butler and Courtney Bailey entered into the cannabis industry from two very different backgrounds, but their combined skills have made for a uniquely talented team. Courtney climbed the ranks in the business world, most recently serving as the chief operating officer for a market research company. Chris pursued his passion for the arts, carving out a successful career as a cinematographer for motion pictures.
While they excelled professionally, they both bore witness to the dark side of addiction and longed for something different. Chris watched as a bevy of talented colleagues and close friends succumbed to opioid abuse, and he eventually battled opiate dependence himself. Courtney also stumbled into opiate dependence in her youth after addiction rocked her hometown.
But unlike the millions of souls who’ve lost the battle of addiction, Chris and Courtney pulled through and found recovery. In Chris’ case, CBD-rich strains of cannabis aided in his initial break from dependence and lit the spark for how alternative treatments could help others in a similar pursuit of opiate sobriety.
It’s now been more than a decade since Chris left Hollywood and began his study of medicinal cannabis. Over time, Chris bought several properties in Northern California and became a contracted cultivator of CBD-rich strains for Bay Area dispensaries. Meanwhile, at ten years of sobriety, Courtney discovered the benefits of using cannabis and micro-doses of psychedelics to manage anxiety and aid in her continued recovery from heroin.
The paths of Chris and Courtney merged at the wedding of a mutual friend. They quickly realized they shared remarkably common experiences, passion and drive, and it wasn’t long before they became business partners, fell in love and got married.
As a couple, Chris and Courtney have charted a course of cannabis cultivation that weaves together art, ecology and business acumen.
“It’s not easy being a cultivator, but it is worthwhile,” said Courtney. “We know that we are delivering a product that helps people, and every day we are tackling the challenges of designing, building, complying and scaling operations in this newly regulated market.”
Together Chris and Courtney founded Giving Tree Farms, and have become vocal advocates for the small farmer through active membership in the Mendocino Generations collective, an alliance composed of more than 60 independent farms. They’re also members of the California Growers Association, Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association, Americans for Safe and the ACLU of Northern California.
Chris and Courtney are also proponents of non-traditional uses of cannabis, focusing on less familiar cannabinoids like THC-V, CBN and CBC.
“For too long, cannabis consumption has been about finding the highest THC percentage in the flower, but we don’t think that’s the point we should be striving for,” said Chris. “At Giving Tree Farms, we cultivate high-quality flowers with a variety of strains, so people can find the one that fits their mood, lifestyle and need. That means the flowers we produce are versatile in effect and designed with the consumer in mind.”
If you’d like to keep up with Chris and Courtney, you can find them on Twitter @FarmsGivingTree and Instagram @Giving.Tree.Farms, and on the Web at givingtreefarms.org. For suggestions and referrals to non-profits supporting addiction research, contact Courtney@givingtreefarms.org.