Denver Relief GREEN TEAM
The Denver Relief GREEN TEAM was the vision of Denver Relief co-founder Ean Seeb, who along with his partners, Kayvan and Nick, wanted a way to extend the charity work they were doing in other areas of the community to medical marijuana. The goal was to show that business owners in our industry are the same as any others by giving back to the communities that support them.
The Green Team was founded as a volunteer-based community outreach program in conjunction with Denver Relief’s retail, cultivation, and infused product operations. Denver Relief Consulting is now deeply engaged in Green Team work and members of the DRC team are currently responsible for organizing and overseeing Green Team events. We are currently in the process of converting the Green Team to a 501(c)(3) in an effort to expand our community service network nationwide.
In 2010, they began by organizing friends and patients to help clean up Denver’s Civic Center Park at the annual 4/20 rally. Rally goers were notorious for leaving behind all manners of trash, and the public perception shifted against them, painting all supporters of cannabis as “squalid” and “disrespectful.” Four years later, the GREEN TEAM spoke to the 4/20 crowds of 50,000+ and handed out over 375 trash bags, with more than 100 volunteers taking up the cause.
Soon, the GREEN TEAM began branching out to other areas of need, including hosting wheelchair and bike repair clinics outside of the dispensary during the summer. For patients that already had mobility issues, these simple repairs meant huge increases in their quality of life.
The GREEN TEAM also takes part in a monthly series of events during the summer at EKAR Farms, which provides fresh, organic vegetables to families in need around the Denver metro area via the Jewish Family Service and Denver Rescue Mission food pantries.
In addition, the GREEN TEAM regularly collects winter coats, canned and non-perishable food items, toys for children in towns struck by natural disasters, and hygiene products for the Harm Reduction Action Center.
Denver Rescue Mission
The Denver Rescue Mission is a long-standing full-service charity based in Denver. The organization is non-denominational, and provides services to all, regardless of gender, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, handicap, sexual orientation, or any other status. The Denver Rescue Mission serves people in need, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. Services provided include emergency food and shelter, a clinic, the provision of basic hygiene products, rehabilitation, and a variety of family-oriented services. Some of the meals provided to those in times of crisis are made with produce donated by Ekar Farms, harvested in collaboration with the Green Team.
The GREEN TEAM holds monthly urban gardening events at Ekar Farm during the summer months in which individuals from the cannabis industry help tend and harvest organic vegetables that are provided to Denver families in need.
Ekar Farm is a communal urban farm inspired by Jewish values. The farm produces fruits and vegetables using sustainable methods, while building community and providing experiential and environmental education. Since 2009, Ekar Farm has engaged 1,000 volunteers in growing 25,000 pounds of urban organic vegetables. Ekar Farm donates 85% of the harvest to the Weinberg Food Pantry, SAME Café and food relief agencies, feeding 2,500 people per month during harvest season.
Harm Reduction Action Center
The Harm Reduction Action Center is a Colorado-based non-profit organization that works to improve public health by reducing harms associated with drug use. The organization provides services aimed at curbing the spread of disease among intravenous drug users and reducing the incidence of accidental overdoses. The HRAC also works collaboratively with a variety of parties, including lawmakers, law enforcement, and health providers, to achieve the goal of a safer and healthier Colorado. In 2014, the DRC team contributed to the Harm Reduction Action Center’s annual Thanksgiving Potluck, which provided a homemade thanksgiving meal to many intravenous drug users who utilize the HRAC’s services.
Jewish Family Service of Colorado
Founded in 1987, Jewish Family Service is a nonsectarian, nonprofit human services agency that serves metro Denver and Boulder. JFS aims to restore well-being to vulnerable populations in the Denver community by delivering services based on Jewish values. JFS programs are varied, and activities include providing food and financial aid to people in crisis, aiding independently-living seniors, providing mental health services, and employment training and placement for those with barriers to employment. The JFS Weinberg Food Pantry accepts produce harvested by Ekar Farms and its volunteers.
City and County of Denver, Department of Environmental Health
The Denver Department of Environmental Health is responsible for advising industry operators regarding the most effective and sustainable approaches to energy use and reduced environmental impact. DRC partnered with the Denver Department of Environmental Health to consult on environmental efficiencies and technologies for the cannabis industry. Kayvan currently Co-Chairs a committee within the Department and DRC overall helps them gain reliable information about the industry by providing accurate data regarding energy use and the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities. DRC serves as a trusted advisor to the Department on sustainable practices that have been tested and proven to be effective within the DRC facilities. As a result of this partnership, DRC now reviews Department-produced materials intended for cannabis business operators that address environmental efficiency or stewardship. DRC and the Department of Environmental Health plan to provide collaborative comments on future regulations in an effort to encourage the industry to develop a sustainable future.
Denver Water, Denver Wastewater Management, and Xcel Energy
Our collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health in Denver provides the opportunity to engage with Xcel Energy, Denver Water and Denver Wastewater Management in the development of resource conservation strategies for the cannabis industry. DRC presented the utility service providers with information about industry best practices and technologies, specifically about environmental sustainability and efficiency. The utility service providers and DRC worked collaboratively to encourage industry operators to decrease environmental impact. This includes the development of financial incentives for installing environmentally efficient technologies and implementing energy-conserving methodologies. Through the development of the incentive programs, DRC and utility provider partners aim to increase environmental stewardship in the cannabis industry and the community as a whole.
Utah State University
Denver Relief Consulting has partnered with Neil Yorio, a LED lighting expert and technology consultant, and Bruce Bugbee, a Professor of Crop Physiology from Utah State University to conduct research on the application of energy efficient LED lighting technologies in cultivation.
Professor Bugbee has an extensive background in scientific research and academia and currently teaches in the Plants, Soils, & Climate Department at Utah State University. Bugbee has participated in several highly distinguished comprehensive scientific reviews, including NASA Life Sciences research for the National Research Council and proposal reviews for the American Association of Biological Sciences Advisory panel. In addition, professor Bugbee helped the NRC publish and co-edit a book, “Advanced Technology for Human Life Support in Space”. Bugbee was the recipient of the 2012 Utah Governor’s Medal for Science Award and continues to be a leader in agriculture and plant sciences.
Neil Yorio is currently the product manager for Biological Innovation & Optimization Systems’ LED grow lamp and fixture program and serves as a technology consultant to Denver Relief Consulting. Yorio has experience working with NASA for over 20 years on research involving a number of aspects of photobiology, plant physiology, and controlled environment horticulture applied to keeping humans alive for long-duration space missions.
Though LED lamps are known to require substantially less electricity use than traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal-halide (MH) lamps, they are used infrequently in cannabis cultivation operations because there is little reliable information about their effect on cannabis yield, potency, and terpene development. In coordination with Professor Bugbee, DRC is performing a research and development project that will provide data on the response of cannabis plants to LED lighting in comparison to lighting technologies traditionally used in cultivation. This R&D project will provide valuable information that has the potential to legitimize the use of energy-saving LED technology not only in the cannabis industry, but also in controlled environment agriculture as a whole. The data will also be used to analyze how the installation of LED fixtures can tie into utility rebates and programs and to create cost analysis scenarios that producers can use to justify selection of lighting technologies for their facilities.