Rock n’ Roots Farms outside of Paonia, is just what the doctor ordered. Well, maybe not the doctor, but certainly family, friends and community members are on board with the concept of growing food for medicine in the North Fork Valley.
Owners Jon and Candice Orlando are among a growing number of farmers in the valley dedicated to regenerative farming methods which help to replenish the soil while feeding and healing human beings.
The lively couple never saw themselves as becoming farmers. Neither did their family or friends. But so much of their journey in this life has led them to loving getting their hands dirty, growing food and plant medicine and creating farm-grown and farm-centric products.
As gentle caretakers of five beautiful acres they are working towards designing and implementing a community space for gatherings, allowing magic to infiltrate the property so children can come and play in the natural world and work with the land and not against it.
Jon and Candice’s specialty is growing fresh vegetables and medicinal herbs, including hemp. And they don’t use plastic as a ground cover on their hemp crop. Instead they use red clover and other plants. Yep, that’s what they call “doing it right.”
Best of all, Rock n’ Roots grow their own ingredients and they offer a full line of CBD and medicinal herb products crafted from ingredients grown in the North Fork Valley. Before heading west, the couple were instrumental in growing fresh produce to the urban area of Denver so they’ve got tons of practical experience.
With the help of Jon, Candice presented her college thesis project on turning front yards and backyards into garden spaces and selling the food through a sliding scale CSA program in Denver.
It was a crazy idea but they went for it with some major support from friends and family. They started a non-profit called UrbiCulture Community Farms and after five years they were growing food on over three acres in Denver, hosting three pay-what-you-can farm stands, had a school gardening and youth program, grew food on one acre of Denver Public Schools property in which the food went to the school’s cafeterias and beautified empty lots into community farms.
Candice and Jon’s daughter Athena arrived in 2013. The little blonde girl joined the farming community instantly and now has her own garden spot where she chooses what she wants to grow.
In 2015, Candice’s mom, Lori, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Lori was a huge supporter of the work Jon and Candice were doing and showed up to help weed, plant, party, shovel manure and watch her granddaughter during busy times of the year. The one thing that helped with Lori’s pain was cannabis and especially CBD.
“Not a lot was known back then about CBD and we sure didn’t know a ton. But we were so grateful for this medicine,” Candice said.
In 2016, Jon, Candice and Athena moved to Paonia where they found land and started growing hemp for CBD oil, the medicine that helped Lori during her passing. They put up a greenhouse, got registered with the CDA, started some seeds and Rock ‘n Roots Farm was officially launched.
Jon bought a small amount of crude CBD oil from a friend and he bottled up a few bottles of tincture and sold it to a few friends and family. The trickle began here. Those people told their people who told their people. Within six months they had distributors and retailers selling their products in 20 states and were working on new products to bring to market.
Currently, they sell their products through a growing network of distributors, retailers and on their website and are continuing to work on new farm-based wellness products beyond the CBD market including herbal teas, farm-based body care products and medicinal herbs.
If you love the concept of food/herbs as medicine, you can become a Rock n’ Roots distributor or retailer. All the pertinent information on how to get started is on their website at: rocknrootsfarm.com
The farm is located at 16451 Grange Road. You can catch up with the Orlando’s or get more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the family on Instagram at @rocknrootsfarm and Rock n’ Roots Farm on Facebook.