© Steef Fleur 2016
Humboldt California is where the Green Gold project was founded.
While in the rest of the U.S. scaling-up and mechanisation meant the end of the small farm lifestyle in Humboldt, California, U.S.A. this lifestyle is still very vivid. Behind giant Redwoods and Douglas Spears small farmers grow their plants. These plants are cannabis and the crop is weed. The weed grown in places close to Garberville, Redway and Benbow is spread through the country and smoked from coast to coast. Humboldts’ green gold provides good money and forms the backbone of local economy.
It were the hippies that brought the plant to the region. Over a period of forty years hippie cultured crossbred with local culture consisting of big 4x4’s, weapon ownership and a healthy suspicion against authority. Now weed farming in Northern California has it’s own cultural codes. Cherry picking is forbidden even the most expensive of products are bought cash and business conversation are made with burners.
But all this is about to change. Just 250 miles north starts Oregon. Growing weed here is legal as it is in more and more states across the U.S. After Colorado legalised growing and consuming marihuana in 2013 legalisation swept over the country. Weed is the fastest growing part of the American economy and it won’t take long till companies like Monsanto and Philip Morris claim their share of the pie. While this has huge benefits on a social level it also means the end of small time farming and an independent culture.
Photographer Steef Fleur captured the harvest of 2014. The series she shot might be more beautiful than dangerous as you can ever imagine. Journalist Martin van de Velde provided the pictures with words and interviewed a member of the Humboldt scene that was born and raised between the plants. This work provides an insight in a subculture on the verge of extinction.
H U M B O L D T I N T H E P R E S S