The Walt Whitman Of Weed

Organic farmer, medical marijuana activist and author Farmer Tom greets us with a big bear hug like a beatific Walt Whitman of Weed in a great bushy white beard, cap and black Hawaiian shirt.

WASHINGTON:  “Farmer Tom” Lauerman has invited us to tour his five acres of freedom, the “Garden of the Green Sun” – an organic vegetable and marijuana farm in Vancouver, WA.

Farmer, medical marijuana activist and author, Farmer Tom greets us with a big bear hug like a beatific Walt Whitman of Weed in a great bushy white beard, green grower’s cap and black Hawaiian shirt.

Tom is a well known figure on the West Coast cannabis scene.  You can regularly find him vending his squash and marijuana at local medical marijuana farmer’s markets, and at high profile events like High Times’ Cannabis Cup and Seattle Hempfest, where he happily poses for photographs and signs copies of his Cannabis Consumer’s Guide, a compendium of pot knowledge that he has amassed over his decades as a pot grower and smoker — a stoner poet “Leaves of Grass.”

Farmer Tom met his wife Paula in San Diego in the 1990s.  They fell in love as comrades in arms in those seminal days of the early California medical marijuana movement. She was a massage therapist, and gave him his first massage after a particularly stressful day in the trenches. Although she had known and worked with him in the past, she felt something undeniable when they touched and they have been together ever since.

Farmer Tom

‘Farmer Tom’ Lauerman

When we arrive at the farm, a three-hour drive from Seattle that I make with my dog and a fellow MJ News Network reporter, we are treated to cool water sweetened with lemons and entertained with wonderful stories of the early days of the struggle for patient rights, which they recount with passion and fire.

Tom and Paula are fully embedded into this rural southern Washington town, growing organic vegetables as part of a community-supported agricultural cooperative (CSA) alongside crops of organic cannabis.  For Farmer Tom it is all about organic. “I grow my vegetables and cannabis the same way.  I love growing organic food – organic vegetables and organic cannabis.”

Whether it is by good fortune or good deeds, life’s serendipity has found Tom’s farm ideally situated in Washington, one of only two states with a legal recreational marijuana market (though Oregon just across the Columbia River will likely pass its own recreational law in November, and currently supports a healthy medical marijuana industry for which Farmer Tom supplies product).

Farmer Tom

Organically Grown Farmer Tom Brand

Recreational marijuana makes it possible for Farmer Tom to move beyond farmer’s markets and to begin serving the larger commercial marketplace.  These days there is a lot of interest in organic cannabis – and in Farmer Tom as a brand icon.

“I just want to save the farm. I just want to feed my family – It doesn’t get any more American than that.”

Tom’s photogenic looks have not gone unnoticed as investors and savvy marketers eye the emerging legal market looking for viable brands. Farmer Tom has recently done several deals, one for a limited series of trading cards, and another for the creation of a full-line of Farmer Tom branded cannabis products. He’s got the looks and the resume to be a household name brand, and in fact, he is one heck of a farmer.

Garden of the Green Sun

Garden of the Green Sun

In between rows of impressive organic corn, snap peas, lettuce, squash and tomatoes, the Garden of the Green Sun sports two hoop-houses full of the biggest, bushiest, healthiest looking cannabis plants I’ve ever seen.  As a business journalist covering the legal marijuana industry, I’m used to touring indoor grow rooms full of gorgeous indicas and sativas, but nothing I’ve seen compares to the size and impressive girth of these bushes.

As we wind our way through neat rows of well labeled plants all sporting Farmer Tom’s likeness, we inspect Black Knight, OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookie and other popular strains, and even get an up-close look at a rare Asian plant with most unusual leaves.

2014-07-19 10.50.25

Unusual Asian Strain

At the end of our tour, we are given sharp knives and rubber buckets and pointed back to the vegetable rows where we pick our own lettuce, squash, kale and beans.  The sun is shining and Paula graciously waters my thirsty snow dog and points us back to the interstate with our bounty.

It’s been a great visit, well worth the long schlep.  As we leave, I’m struck at how quintessentially American this agrarian scene is — a small independent farmer growing good organic crops to support his family and community.

2014-07-19 10.50.34

Luna in the garden

Who knows, with cannabis’ new-found legality, Farmer Tom and Paula may turn out to be a modern-day Ma and Pa Kettle success story – hard working farm folks striking it rich, but keeping it real.

Comments

  1. Tawnee Cowan says

    a medical collective is now the Walt Wittman? can you say exploitation of patients any louder?

  2. Tawnee Cowan says

    one more thing, do not let any cancer patients have that cannabis, as they can become very ill from airborne toxicants. The dog alone would disqualify the plants from being medical quality, the rest of the media and humans viewing it further take it from being a cure, to being a weapon. This is what happens when you let amateurs take over. This is why we badly need regulation and protection from capitalists willing to use us for their own monetary gain and 15 minutes of fame

    • Tawnee Cowan says

      and further bring your airborne contaminants to it! Didn’t the article mention that he was supposed to be growing for patients? I am calling for regulations, because this is a fucking circus at the patients expense. All of you capitalizing on us are exploiters in the barest definition. Get out of our healing grounds and stay on the rec side. Last I checked it was against the law for him to profit off the patients, and this is clearly what all of you are doing. I hope your ego’s land on the governors desk

      • Michael says

        Tawnee- I know you are a supporter of medicinal cannabis. We are here to educate and inform. Thank you.

  3. ChronicCaregiver says

    Why are we promoting the commercialization of our medicine? And are you really boasting about a Washington farmer defying federal law by “supplying product” to Oregon markets? Is it because Washington markets don’t want him? Is it even legal for him to grow that many plants on one property?

    • Michael says

      Hello,
      This tour is full of information on medicinal uses of cannabis and organic farming practices. This is an informational tour, not a retail opportunity!

  4. Michael says

    I love that our society has matured to a point where individuals can learn about organic farming, and using cannabis as medicine. We can enjoy the sunshine and our cannabis while relaxing, no more whispering, no more fear!

    • Tawnee Cowan says

      Michael it must be nice to be both Kush Tourism and Michael and post twice. Nice one…. I am here to alert the masses that you are one in the same, and still trying to profit off patients. I have told you once in email that exposing the plants used in juicing to humans that you have no idea have disease, much less other animals, then you are no longer making medicine, you are growing weed.You are contributing to the illness that cancer patients must avoid. You ignored my email and kept on with your business plan, and now you are all celebrating to the article of an admitted fraud, and the world watches in awe at your stupidity.

      • Michael - Owner of Kush Tours says

        I am very proud to operate Kush Tourism, I think all our media attention shows we don’t hide in the shadows, we instead try to connect with our community and educate tourists. Every tour we teach our clients about the medicinal benefits of Cannabis, I know you agree with that mission. I am not here to argue Tawnee, and I definitely appreciate your concerns about the medicine. In fact after our conversation I spoke with our closest contacts about precautions we should take to keep the meds safe. Thanks for your comments.

        • Tawnee Cowan says

          the solution is not parading more media and pets around the patients plants. You are using patients medicine to try to cash in on the green rush. It is sick capitalism. Go over to the rec side… it is why there is one. Time to protect the patients. I suggest Farmer Tom go apply for his 502 because under medical laws, he is in violation with too many plants and the grey area of the circus exposed to it. I wonder how many people get to tour the big pharma labs… how is our medicine any different? While you do not respect me as a patient and neither does Tom Laureman or David Rheins, the law will.

      • Michael - Owner of Kush Tours says

        Ah – earlier Chase posted as Kush Tourism, although my business partner and I are similar in many ways, in general we are different people.

  5. says

    Tawnee Cowan, Thasnk you very much for clarifying authorship.

    Yes, indeed, the book was created by me. As an editor and proofreader, perhaps Farmer Tom Lauerman should be credited with a 3% contribution at most. I believe that is generous. And I have all the original documentation on both sides to prove my case.

    I do not know details of experiences had by others regarding the Lucky Bunch Farm, but I can say from personal experience that verbal statements or promises do not match experiential reality.. If any readers of MJNews care to learn more, just ask. I can provide details of the history of the book/s and how they were developed. The current version is here: https://www.createspace.com/4132322

    Ask for a discount code if you want one.

    thomas.a.nagy717@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>