East Fork seeks to monetize plant breeding, improve existing products, and continue to build organizational resilience.
Funded on 07/28/2020
This pilot lending campaign represents the first time individuasl can join in East Fork's growth. If the campaign is successful, East Fork plans to move more of its ongoing fundraising efforts onto the Steward platform.
While cannabis prohibition has ended in Oregon, traditional banking and financing options remain difficult to access, even for established organizations with strong cash flow and credit history, like East Fork.
In the absence of conventional loans and lines of credit available to most businesses, East Fork has grown through the support of friends and family via simple, amortized loans with attractive interest rates and terms.
While the global COVID-19 pandemic has created changes and uncertainty, the demand for East Fork's superior therapeutic-grade plant products has continued to strengthen. Commonly used in managing anxiety, pain, sleep, and numerous medical conditions, millions of people rely upon CBD-rich organic hemp and cannabis products. By backing East Fork, investors choose to proactively foster a positive future for regenerative agriculture and organic plant medicine as it continues to demonstrate the industry's leading operating standards.
This loan is associated only with East Fork Cultivars' hemp operations. The repayments of this loan will be achieved using revenue generated by those operations.
One of East Fork’s most unique assets is its diverse library of low-THC cannabis genetics. East Fork has been carefully developing new lines of chemically complex cannabis for years, and recently signed its first licensing agreement, a commercial acknowledgement of the value of this intellectual property. The company is ready to further commercialize this work, but getting new plant varieties to market ethically and successfully will require additional investment.
One of the primary uses of funds in this raise will be to build East Fork's feminized hemp seed production capacity in anticipation of launching a commercial seed line for farmers in 2021. To do so, East Fork will invest in additional in-house testing equipment, staff, further consultation with geneticists and other experts, and physical expansion of seed multiplication facilities. There is overwhelming demand for distinct hemp seed and East Fork has IP the market is continually asking for.
Since East Fork's founding it has consistently added new products and services to help reach new customers and channels and better fulfill its mission. With the help of its closest vendors and manufacturing partners, East Fork has developed popular lines of both ready-to-consume and ingredient products. In order to stay competitive, East Fork will use some of the funds from this raise to improve its existing product lines and invest further in programs that are working well, including:
East Fork has remained profitable, relevant, and on a strong growth trajectory by constantly evolving. It has two new project areas on tap for 2020, both of which will use funds from this raise to help bring to market:
Flagship retail: East Fork has purchased a mixed-use building in Portland’s up-and-coming Foster-Powell neighborhood, and will be moving its Portland office and warehouse into the freshly renovated space in Fall 2020. The building includes a small-format, highly visible retail space, which will serve as East Fork’s flagship retail concept, Hemp Bar.
Product launches: Building on the success of its current offerings, East Fork is on track to roll out a full line of East Fork-branded hemp products including additional consumer-packaged goods. Each new product will fill a gap in existing markets or create new categories that lean on East Fork’s unique set of values and core competencies.
Following the success of the pilot raise that you participated in in July, we've successfully migrated the remainder of our 2020 debt fundraising efforts onto Steward! The round went live this morning and is actively accepting lenders.
Check it out here: https://gosteward.com/projects/east-fork-cultivars/2020-raise
This can also be found by navigating to our farm page on Steward — the new project is called "2020 Raise".
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We're always happy to chat about the state of the markets we operate in, our financials, and our strategic vision. We can also speak more specifically to our short-term use of funds, including our plans for Hemp Bar, our new flagship retail project set to open in the next few months in Portland.
Thanks, and stay well,
Mason Walker | CEO
It's been a few months since we closed our pilot raise on Steward. Thanks again for helping us make this experiment such a quick success! To summarize, we raised $50,000 in new debt from 28 lenders in 18 days.
We're gearing up to move our primary fundraising efforts (we raise debt each year to help finance strategic growth) onto Steward with a new offering this coming week. We'll make sure to share when the project is listed, but in the meantime thought we'd share a few updates on the state of all things East Fork.
The Slater Fire, a large wildland fire that originated in Northern California, burned into our county on Sept. 8. Our close-knit community of Takilma was emergency evacuated that night, and for a time we were afraid our farm had been lost to one of the worst fire seasons on record.
Luckily, thanks to a combination of geography, preparedness, and sheer community grit, our little town — and our farm — was spared from the blaze.
While we had to temporarily pause work and briefly furlough our farm team due to safety concerns, our ownership team quickly returned to the farm to improve its fire defenses and aid the community in fighting the fire.
We learned some important lessons during this scare:
• Our community, which we already knew was strong, showed up in ways big and small to help us navigate the challenge. We had an overflow of generous support.
• While wildland fires in the West are nothing new, they're clearly getting more dangerous and deadly — in part due to climate change and antiquated forest management practices. This problem isn't going away.
• Despite its remote, wooded location, our town of Takilma is reasonably defensible. Access to water and firefighting resources abound, as well as experience in preparing for annual fire seasons.
• Our farm was deemed a "safe zone" by the local fire department, a place that could house emergency evacuees if needed due to our access to water, open green spaces, and equipment for defending the property.
Thanks to all of you that reached out offering help. We'll continue to improve our fire preparedness and feel grateful that our beloved community made it through this particularly challenging season relatively unscathed.
Our articulated top-level strategy this year was to expand our core identity as a "Production Farm" to also include descriptors "Genetics House" and "Goods Maker". While cultivation remains our primary core competency we understand that continued diversification is essential to improve the resilience of our enterprise.
Cannabis is the latest agricultural crop to be commoditized, leading to downward price pressure in several key channels. Many of our strategic projects this year are focused on creating new revenue streams from our plant breeding and product development work.
We signed our first licensing deal for our genetics, launched grow-at-home seed packets, and began selling commercial seed to other farmers. We're gearing up for a big year in 2021 when we plan to enter larger hemp farming markets and continue developing the cannabis of the future.
We've been busy developing and launching new consumer-packaged goods, all leading up to the grand opening of Hemp Bar, our first retail concept where we'll be able to show off our growing hemp product line. We've had increasing success placing branded products in more retail stores and look forward to rolling out more products that fill gaps in the market which we're uniquely positioned to own.
We remain as optimistic as ever about our financial outlook, particularly because we've been able to overcome a range of significant hurdles in a short period of time. From the hemp market crash to the global pandemic to a devastating fire season to a challenging 2019 harvest yield we've been able to keep moving steadily forward.
A successful 2020 harvest is the most important step to having a successful 2021 and we're looking to have a banner year in terms of yield and flower quality. We have significant demand and expect to again sell out of our adult-use flower, a phenomenon that's been true each year we've grown commercial cannabis.
The pilot raise you participated in this summer marked the first time we've taken in investment dollars from people we don't personally know (though we know several of you!).
While we're managing to get by reasonably well with cash flow, we face some significant projects requiring additional investment this winter. We'll be launching a larger debt raise on Steward in the coming weeks to help finance these new endeavors. We'll make sure to share a link to the new project as soon as it is live.
Thanks for your steadfast support of our social enterprise. We couldn't do it without you.
Please let us know if you have any questions, or if you're interested in participating in our new debt round. We're happy to hop on a call to talk through our planned use of funds and any additional areas of our business that you're curious about.
Mason and the team at East Fork
Join a growing community of sustainably-minded lenders reaping the rewards from responsible farming