Audra, Co-Owner of Oregon Girl Gardens
“I want to promote cannabis…so that there is no longer a stigma associated with using cannabis, most of all for women. Cannabis can benefit women from all walks of life.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I would describe myself as down-to-earth, honest and kind. I’m a scientist at heart with a strong work ethic, and I love teaching and learning. My work background began with a career as a Geologist, then as an elementary school teacher, and a most recently as a cut flower farmer. In the past year, with the establishment of Oregon Girl, I have stepped into the role of being a small business owner with it’s many challenges and rewards. I wear many different hats for Oregon Girl including: growing and processing plants, managing employees, trimming, Cannabis Tracking System manager, carpentry, plumbing…the list goes on.
What inspired you to start your company?
My greatest hope is that through my efforts and others in the industry, cannabis becomes more socially acceptable. As it is no longer an underground industry in Oregon and is now heavily regulated, the stigma surrounding cannabis needs to change.
As producers, we can add value to society in so many ways. Growing organically and sustainably on a biodiverse farm, Oregon Girl is committed to being stewards of the environment, all while producing top shelf craft cannabis. We provide living wage jobs to our employees and the taxes our industry generates for the state benefits all Oregonians.
In addition, it is important for cannabis to be seen not only as a medicine, but as a more healthful alternative to alcohol.
“I am working towards a future where women and mothers feel confident enough to look to cannabis to relax in the evenings the same way they would pour themselves a glass of wine.”
I want to promote cannabis towards that end – so that there is no longer a stigma associated with using cannabis, most of all for women. I think we are underrepresented in the industry as growers and users, but we also represent the biggest untapped market. Cannabis can benefit women from all walks of life.
Lastly, as a mother, I feel strongly about being responsible and thoughtful about the ramifications of abuse, but just like with the liquor and tobacco industry – there are measures that can be taken to educate children (and adults) to keep them safe.
What is your origin story for your canna business?
My origin story is relatively short compared to many in the cannabis industry. I have a background that includes working as a geologist for many years, then going back to graduate school for my teaching degree.
After teaching for a few years and having my daughter, I decided to stay home for a bit and try my hand at growing cut flowers for market. As I’ve always had a green thumb, and lived on the family farm – it seemed like a natural progression. After a successful season growing and selling cut flowers, my business partner Robin approached me with the idea of Oregon Girl. Measure 97 had just passed, and with her extensive history and education we decided to make a go of it as a women-owned and operated, sun-grown, local and sustainably grown craft cannabis company.
So here we are now, almost a year later with an outdoor crop under our belts and a new indoor crop about to be flipped. There is still so much more to be done, but that’s what life is all about right? Always moving forward, learning from mistakes and doing the best we can.
“Despite the many ups and downs, and there are certainly more to come, it’s been one of the most eye-opening, wild and important learning experiences of my life.”
What is your Superpower?
Maybe that I’m usually able to stay calm under pressure and in difficult situations. I try to always look at the big picture and realize that life will go on!
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date – and how have you overcome it?
I think my biggest obstacle has been just getting up to speed with the industry as a whole. There is so much information out there, it was overwhelming at first trying to educate myself on the basics. For example, it took me a while to be able to distinguish between RHO, distillate, wax, live resin, shatter, oil etc. Luckily, having Robin as my business partner has helped greatly. She’s taught me so much this year, I have much to be thankful for!
What is your vision for women in this industry?
My advice to any woman looking to become a cannabis producer is to never give up. Oregon Girl only exists because of the perseverance and hard work that we’ve put in as owners. The day is never over and there is always more to do, but it’s helpful to break things down into manageable chunks. I have a checklist and as soon as I accomplish or finish a task I check it off and it feels good to see that list slowly but surely get finished! Also, asking for help is so important. It can be hard to do, but really what could it hurt?