The United States is barely reaching the tip of the calyx of cannabis utilization thanks to years of prohibition, suppression, and propaganda. Recreational cannabis industries are moving past the experimental phase into legitimate industry. Cannabis and hemp research is pushing not only cannabis utilization forward but sustainable agriculture science utilization as well. As scientists find new ways to grow more vibrant cannabis, this research is applicable to other crops and growing solutions. Growcentia is spearheading cannabis-based sustainable agriculture science with Mammoth Microbes; live organism-based growing solutions.
Growcentia began at Colorado State University with three soil-microbiologist research scientists—Matt Wallenstein, Rich Conant, and Colin Bell. Growcentia came out of a love for soil-microbiology and sustainable agriculture as a whole; with Mammoth Microbes being their cannabis-focused brand. Growcentia came from the world of science and research, while cannabis comes from a world of underground culture. Bringing Mammoth Microbes from the lab into the market brings its own set of problems that need solving, that’s why Growcentia CEO, Gregg Steinberg was brought in early to the company’s development to bridge this gap.
Steinberg is a mid-western guy who grew up in Chicago. The earliest stages of his business career revolved around consulting for companies and helping them scale in the early stages of their business plan. This was his exact role with Growcentia—to grow the company outside of the lab while their flagship product Mammoth P was still under development.
“I’m not a science guy, I’m a business guy,” Steinberg said.
Much of Steinberg’s business experience comes from plant-based medicine and technology research sector, and his desires to contribute more to solutions for a sustainable and healthy life. While he used cannabis on a limited recreational basis in his personal life, it wasn’t something that was necessarily a passion of his. But the rapidly changing climate of cannabis acceptance and industry growth made take serious consideration about working in the cannabis sector.
“It’s something I’ve been engaged with for a long time and obviously cannabis is centered in that [plant-based medicine research] world.”
Steinberg’s work centers around building retail and commercial relationships and creating a workplace culture that represents the core values Growcentia holds. These core values exist throughout the entire company culture, from hiring practices to how products are researched and developed before going to market. Steinberg built Growcentia’s values around seven core principles; bringing value every day, education, health, integrity, consistency, and community. These seven items are crucial for Growcentia’s success. Every new employee goes through a rigorous multi-step interview over the course of several weeks to ensure they align with Growcentia’s seven core principles.
“You don’t just come in for 30-minutes and get hired,” Steinberg said.
Josey Heston is a Senior Sales Executive at Mammoth Microbes with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology; she’s all too familiar with Growcentia’s extensive hiring process, which felt more like “an audition” after weeks of interviews and meetings. Heston’s cannabis background started “in the hills,” growing off the grid for northern California’s medical marijuana system and continued for five years in southern Oregon. Coming to Growcentia’s offices from the underground cannabis culture of northern California was a bit of a culture shock. Heston was worried her renegade cultivation background would clash with the science-based origins of Mammoth Microbes.
After a series of rigorous interviews with personal questions aimed at uncovering her real person, it was clear that not only was her background acceptable, but Growcentia sought to place her in the company to utilize her unique skill set to the best of its abilities. Like a gadget player in an NFL offense, they’re most successful when you keep them within their comfort zone. It was clear to Heston that Growcentia was more than just a sustainable agriculture company, but an untapped ambassador of cannabis culture.
“They’re invested in this culture,” Heston said.
Steinberg believes that if each employee aligns with the Growcentia’s core values the team chemistry will organically grow into a self-sustaining entity. An entity that can consistently churn out great products like Mammoth Microbes flagship products, Mammoth P.
Mammoth P utilizes four key bacteria strains from soil samples across the country to create a powerful community of microbes that use enzymes to make phosphorus and other micronutrients digestible. When the plant is getting more nutrients, it increases their vibrancy and overall yield. Mammoth P boasts a 16 percent yield increase, and Travis Reich of Millennium Green Organic will vouch for it.
Reich manages Millennium Green Organic’s Clean Green certified garden; the cannabis equivalent of an organic classification. Millennium Green is a little tier-two farm “struggling to get by,” Reich said. Despite some struggles they’ve found a lot of success in 2018 in the form two Dope Cup awards; one for Best Indoor Grown Indica-Dominant Flower and Best CBD Live Resin. Mammoth P was used in growing both award-winning crops. After introducing Mammoth P in the growth cycle, yields increased from 17,000 to 22,000 grams. Millennium Green began using Mammoth P “religiously after that,” Reich said.
Growcentia “creates products focused on increasing yield, health, and enhancing quality,” Steinberg said. Mammoth P personifies this healthy and quality approach to product research and development. Growcentia dedicates 20 staff members to researching plant systems and “biological solutions” for their needs. The goal is to find the “natural-biological solutions that exist in nature already,” and make products that enhance plant health naturally and organically at every stage.
Growcentia aims to increase sustainability in the cannabis space with Mammoth P and future products. They’re also looking to increase sustainable agriculture as a whole through different kinds of educational and hands-on outreach. The company began at Colorado State University, the leading agricultural science school in the country and has deep roots in Colorado’s agriculture community. Growcentia embarks on spreading education about sustainable growing methodology by speaking at conferences globally. Also by publishing their research results through papers and articles on the Mammoth Microbes resources page. Their biggest contribution may be the one closest to home. They work with local community supported agriculture, non-profit organizations, and schools to push local agriculture and environmental issues.
“We’re focused on bringing solutions to the marketplace that will help agriculture in general,” Steinberg said.
Growcentia is connecting cannabis and farming communities through the proliferation of sustainability education. Treating cannabis as any other viable mainstream crop goes a long way to normalize cannabis use. Doing this will further reduce negative stereotypes around its cultivation and use. Bringing together cannabis and farming communities under the same umbrella will strengthen and spread agricultural science, education, and culture.
“Culture is a powerful entity,” Heston concludes.