California’s Bloom Farms Cultivates Community
Philanthropy and social responsibility are priorities for California cannabis company, Bloom Farms. Known for cultivating high quality cannabis by responsible family farmers, Bloom Farms cares about their community and is doing great things to give back. In addition to providing healthy meals to regional non-profit partner food banks for each product it sells, Bloom Farms offers paid time off for its employees to volunteer and creates fun, forward thinking events for the cannabis community to get involved in, like their seasonal private cannabis dinner party Bloom Appétit and cannabis fitness series Bloom Fit. CANNABIS TOURS caught up with Bloom Farms Executive Director Michael Ray and Experiential Marketing Manager Lizi Trautman to learn more about the culture behind the company.
In April, Bloom Farms donated 500,000 healthy meals to California’s nonprofit food banks. What inspired this act of generosity?
Michael Ray: I grew up in Calaveras County, which is one of California’s poorest counties. As a kid growing up, my friends would always spend time at my home during the weekends and summers. At the time, I never really thought about why my place was where everyone wanted to go. It wasn’t until later in life that I began to realize my friends didn’t have as much as we did. We were by no means wealthy, but my mom was a great cook and we had enough food. I began to research this problem and quickly found out that food insecurity affects millions of people in this state. It’s a problem that needed attention. From then on, it has always been in my mind. When I founded Bloom Farms, I knew I finally had the chance to give back to the community in a meaningful way. I decided to focus on food insecurity. It’s an important issue that needs all the attention it can get.
How can the cannabis community support this endeavor?
Michael Ray: We often work with our partners (dispensaries, delivery services) where they will match our meal donation for a period of time. We’re always encouraging people within the industry to support causes they believe in. And, if they can’t help financially, they can volunteer time. I think it’s important for people to look inside themselves and make an impact on a cause they are passionate about.
I sense a theme here between Bloom Farms and cuisine. What is Bloom Appétit?
Lizi Trautman: Bloom Appétit is a private cannabis dining experience, hand curated to combine organic locally sourced food with responsibly grown cannabis. Our featured chef is Chef Coreen of The Cannaisseur Series. Our dinners typically start with a few two to three milligram appetizers, but the rest of the four-course meal is non-medicated. We offer gluten-free and vegetarian options, and Chef Corren has prepared and served guests items such as Lamb Merguez Crepinette, Cardamom Panna Cotta, and my personal favorite, Brussel Sprout Salad with Grilled Red Onions & Burrata. She is amazing and we are so happy to work with her. While we have only hosted a few events so far, we are gearing up for our first ever Bloom Appétit Brunch which takes place on June 18th here in Oakland.
Are there any other creative ways Bloom Farms is incorporating food into the fold?
Michael Ray: Bloom Farms has built itself around food in many ways. As mentioned earlier, we just hit the incredible milestone of donating half a million meals to food-insecure families across California. At our Bloom Appétit dinners we want to provide an opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together and share in the joy of eating. We have pledged that all profit made at these dinners goes directly back to the food banks. A meal for a meal if you will.
In addition to foodie events, you’re curating a unique cannabis fitness program called Bloom Fit. What is that all about?
Lizi Trautman: I take pride in affiliating myself as a “yogi.” For many years now, I have consumed edibles and flower to heighten my yoga classes and take my practice deeper. When I discovered Bloom Farms vape pens, I wanted nothing more than to be able to bring it into class with me. Our pens are built for microdosing, and that’s exactly what you want when you are combining yoga with cannabis. My previous experience combining cannabis with yoga showed me the benefits that the synergy of the two could provide, the highlighter provided the perfect delivery method.
With nearly seven years in the bay area, hundreds of different yoga classes and instructors, I’ve found certain aspects that make each class and studio special, and I worked to combine all my favorite bits to build Bloom Fit. We’ve perfectly curated the class to begin with a welcome period to get yourself settled in, enjoy one of our pre-rolls, and sip kombucha or have some infused water before the class begins. Once flow starts, the instructor reminds everyone that the vape pen on their mat is for them to use, or not use, at anytime that feels right for them throughout class. We added visuals on the walls, of flowers blooming, nature scapes, and the occasional galaxy, to cultivate a refuge of escape from the hustle and grind of the city. At the end of class, we keep the studio open for an additional hour so attendees can decompress, make fondue, do some acro play, and socialize with the community we are fostering. I feel honored that some of our members have made Bloom Fit a regular practice. We have several attendees who have yet to miss a class. I’ve always wanted to create something more than a run-of-the-mill yoga experience and Bloom Fit is so much more than the experiences you find at a studio.
Lizi Trautman: Next addition to the class will be pilates and cardio Bloom Fit classes.
Are there any other fun lifestyle initiatives you’re working on?
Lizi Trautman: We now have an event space where we hold both Bloom Fit and Bloom Appétit. We’ve played with various ideas ranging from cannabis comedy shows, to underground art, and informative events where we help medicinal patients find the strains that work best for them. We’ll just have to see what plays out.
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