Happy Trees Agricultural Supply can’t wait to bring high-quality CBD and knowledge of sustainable farming to Richmonders.
A new community-based CBD supply store is set to open in Richmond in the coming weeks. Happy Trees Agricultural Supply in Scott’s Addition is the brainchild of Josiah Ickes and Chris Haynie, who are both firm believers in the medicinal benefits of CBD — and wanted to create a space for the Richmond community to be able to learn about it.
“We wanted to have a community-based approach to CBD production, CBD consultation, and all things CBD,” said Ickes. “It is the community’s medicine.”
The new storefront is located at 1020 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. Ickes said that in the Richmond area, there is not currently a place to get all the expertise and advice for growing your own food and medicine that Happy Trees will be able to dispense.
“We wanted to create a one-stop shop to get all of the supplies, advice, or consultation you need,” he said. “We’ll also be teaching monthly classes on one skill or another. We want to bring in the brightest minds and best technology to find the best ways to grow food and medicine, and help to tackle climate change.”
Ickes said that he became interested in the CBD industry because of the medical benefits of CBD, and the sustainability that growing food and medicine teaches in general. While it’s always going to be what catches people’s attention first, Happy Trees does not solely focus on CBD; they’re focused on teaching growing and sustainability as well.
“If this COVID-19 thing has shown us anything, it’s that we need a lot of options for food. When people are clearing out the shelves and people are scared, certain things aren’t available,” Ickes said. “So if they can learn to grow things themselves and be self-sustainable, then they have that technique.”
Since part of their goal is to be community-focused, Ickes and Haynie have kept their whole CBD supply chain as Virginia-based as possible.
“I ended up partnering with a friend of mine in Powhatan,” said Haynie. “He had a hemp license and was growing basil at his property, but the basil didn’t work out. He asked me to help him start a small hemp operation in his greenhouse, and we ended up planting far too many for this season.”
According to Ickes, this is what sets their CBD apart from other places to obtain CBD products, like smoke shops and convenience stores.
“You don’t know where that stuff comes from,” said Ickes. “We know where ours does, even back to the farm.”
“I’m a registered agent under my farm partner’s hemp license,” said Haynie. “We produce at his location, which has been vetted by VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services). They make you send in GPS coordinates for your fields, and file planting reports, which tells them what you’re growing and when you’ll harvest it. We felt that the best way to deliver the product to the community would be a retail store.”
When it comes to regulations on CBD and hemp-based products, Haynie’s looking positively toward the future. Recent legislation has come in Virginia this year that regulates the growing market for CBD in the Commonwealth.
“Virginia did a good thing when they set up the hemp regulations,” Haynie said. “Some other places [made] farmers jump through a ridiculous amount of hoops, to the point where it was discouraging. The state of Virginia fell back on our heritage as agricultural producers, and said, ‘You know what, guys? These are the rules. Do what you’re supposed to do, and we’re not going to make it hard for you.’”
Happy Trees was set to open on June 1, but they have decided to wait a little longer amidst recent events and large protests in the city. Keep up with them on Facebook and Instagram for updates to learn more about agriculture and sustainability in Richmond.
Top Photo courtesy Happy Trees Agricultural Supply