VIOLA, WI-Higher Level Organics, a farm located in southwest Wisconsin, announced April 20 that it is the first-ever certified fair trade hemp farm in the world. They partnered with the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), an organization whose mission is driven by the principles that all humans deserve respect, the freedom to live with dignity and nurture community, and share responsibility for preserving the earth’s resources for future generations.
“We strive to set the high bar in quality. Both in final product and in our production methods,” said Luke Zigovits, Higher Level Organics founder and co-owner of HempScience, a certified organic and fair trade CBD hemp brand. “By providing our customers with ethically produced, certified organic, sun grown hemp, we are helping heal the earth while providing the end customer with an effective and healing product.”
Zigovits, who has more than 20 years of experience in hemp advocacy and research, made the decision to pursue the certification in order to model a new path for hemp production, which has a long history of labor abuse.
“It’s simply the right thing to do. As hemp production continues to rise, an increase in agricultural labor will be necessary. Much like other large scale agriculture systems, there will be opportunities for companies to take advantage of farm labor,” explains Zigovits. “By certifying our farm to the AJP standards, Higher Level Organics can lead by example and pioneer fair trade hemp production.”
Higher Level Organics is the first supplier to HempScience, a brand launching in early 2020 focused on full spectrum, organic, fair trade CBD hemp products produced by small farmers in Wisconsin.
“CBD provides a real opportunity for rural revitalization through certified organic and fair flower production and the associated great prices to family farmers. This is the consumer products value chain we are dedicated to creating,” added Jason Freeman, co-owner of HempScience with Zigovits.
Higher Level Organics is pioneering hemp research as well as implementing certified organic, living soil farming practices, such as minimal tillage, cover crops, beneficial fungi and micro-organisms and worm casting compost.
“Not only do we want to produce the highest quality, organic hemp phytonutrient products available on the market, we want to create real opportunities for the family farmers of southwest Wisconsin,” said Zigovits.
“And, we’re doing it in a way that is fair to all involved.”