If pizza is a vegetable, then I’m a nun!
Meet The Sisters of the Valley, sister Kate and Sister Darcy, nuns who “work the plant”, as they say, producing medicine from one of Mother Earth’s oldest natural resources: cannabis. Medicines like tinctures, teas and topical salves can help with pain relief and cure all sorts of medical ailments from muscle and joint pain, toothache and headaches to diaper rash and thinning hair. It can even be used on pets. The sisters are not catholic nuns despite their title and attire. Nor are they affiliated with any particular religion except maybe their own. Their mission: sustainability, progressive activism and spirituality.
Sister Kate explains: ‘For us, holy living is living in harmony with mother earth and leaving zero footprint, as we would have liked to have seen in the past and now going forward. Our medicine making sustains the sisterhood and fulfils our vow of being in service to the people. The sisterhood is steeped in mother earth’s ancient wisdom, passed on for generations by indigenous people.’ The sisters prepare the plants during moon cycles, when they refrain from drinking and smoking and perform a ritual by burning sage to bless their plants. According to sister Kate: ‘There’s a healing that happens through handling the medicine, I feel like the plant heals your broken soul.’
So why do they wear the habits if the nuns are non-religious? It was something sister Kate started: ‘When the occupy movement came out, my children and I were very interested and started going to events. It was during this time that Michelle Obama tried to talk to congress about how unhealthy children’s meals were in schools, but congress Filibuster wouldn’t let her talk and a week later announced that pizza is a vegetable, because if pizza is a vegetable they can count it as a healthier meal. It was the last straw, so I was like: if pizza is a vegetable, then I’m a nun!’
There are rules for growers. Each person can only grow twelve plants so the sisters have to depend on other growers for their supply. As sister Kate explains: ‘We have José, who has been growing in the central valley for thirty years. He’s Latino and comes from a big family. And we’ve got Darcy who works with students from college. Right now, we’re doing a little competition between the two growers. They all farm organically, but six plants are being done “the hippie way”, as José calls it, and six are being done “old school Mexican way”, as the college kids call it. We’ll see who has the most output.’
Right now, lifting the ban on cannabis is high on the sisters’ activist agenda. In their eyes cannabis is the solution to a more sustainable way of life. It can also be the answer to poverty, as sister Kate explains: ‘We spend $10 to $12k a month on getting plants from other countries that are allowed to grow medicinally like Germany, Colorado and Italy, because we are not allowed to buy it or put it in our medicines here. $10 to $12k a month! That’s 10 to 12 poor people with a backyard in this area that could be making a $1000 a month.’