Pot Farm

Pot Farm

by Matthew Gavin Frank
     
 

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After eight months in his childhood home helping his mother through her bout with cancer, Matthew Frank and his wife were themselves desperate for comfort. They found sanctuary in the most unlikely place—amid a collection of outcasts and eccentrics on a plot of land miles outside their comfort zone: a “mostly medical” marijuana farm in… See more details below

Overview


After eight months in his childhood home helping his mother through her bout with cancer, Matthew Frank and his wife were themselves desperate for comfort. They found sanctuary in the most unlikely place—amid a collection of outcasts and eccentrics on a plot of land miles outside their comfort zone: a “mostly medical” marijuana farm in California.

Pot Farm details the strange, sublime, and sometimes dangerous goings-on at Weckman Farm, a place with hidden politics and social hierarchies, populated by recovering drug addicts, alternative healers, pseudo-hippie kids, and medical marijuana users looking to give back. There is also Lady Wanda, the massive, elusive, wealthy, and heavily armed businesswoman who owns the farm and runs it from beneath a housedress and a hat of peacock feathers. Frank explores the various roles that allow this industry to work—from field pickers to tractor drivers, cooks to yoga instructors, managers to snipers, illegal immigrants to legal revisionists, and the delivery crew to the hospice workers on the other end. His book also looks at the blurry legislation regulating the marijuana industry as well as the day-to-day logistics of running such an operation and all the relationships that brings into play.

Through firsthand observations and experiences (some influenced by the farm’s cash crop), interviews, and research, Pot Farm exposes a thriving but unsung faction of contemporary American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After the Compassionate Use Act was passed in California in 1996, legalized marijuana became big business: "Under this proposition, patients deemed ‘seriously ill' by their doctors can legally obtain and use marijuana to relieve their symptoms." After caring for his own sick mother for over a year in his childhood home, Frank (Barolo) and his wife Johanna pack up and ship out for the Weckman medical marijuana farm in California, "hoping the experience could spark… well… something." As Frank recounts the story of their time on the farm, he readily cops to being an unreliable narrator, and, what's more, a stoned one. So while his story is not uneventful, it is veiled by a shifting fog that tends to occlude the narrative. When we are there on the ground among the pickers (the field hands), the snipers (armed guards in treetops), and the stoners (everybody), we are made to feel a little disoriented ourselves. And while this may be intentional (i.e. form reflecting content; Frank is also a poet), disoriented is no way to go through 232 pages. The result is tedium, like getting stuck in a conversation with a guy who just got high and won't stop talking about it. Though Frank is a likeable and candid narrator, his "scribblings of varying degrees of sense" amassed during his toilsome tenure amount to little more than just that. Though occasionally entertaining and obliquely informative, Frank's Farm is mostly fallow. (Mar.)
Inside Higher Ed

"Pot Farm is a simultaneously beautiful, dark and life-affirming story."—John Warner, Inside Higher Ed

— John Warner

Booklist

"This engaging memoir chronicles the unusual route the author and his wife took to mental rehabilitation after Frank's mother's grueling, months-long battle with cancer: they took up residence on a medical-marijuana farm in Northern California. . . . A highly entertaining tale."—David Pitt, Booklist

— David Pitt

Dame: For Women Who Know Better

"Thriving amidst a hilariously motley crew of recovered drug addicts, hippies, users and business people, Frank shows us how the farm works from the first bud to the delivery of the product. Lots of fun, and high time that everyone had a closer look at this fascinating industry."—Caroline Leavitt, Dame: For Women Who Know Better

— Caroline Leavitt

Third Coast Magazine

"Clearly Pot Farm is a world of uncertainty filled with people who want to help others and with people who want to help themselves; it is our world distilled. And Frank creates this world in a way that can stimulate a reader intellectually while at once offering readers who want to experience the emotional richness that surrounds and inhabits the people of the world he shows us a chance to do that too."—Brandon Davis Jennings, Third Coast Magazine

— Brandon Davis Jennings

Inside Higher Ed - John Warner

"Pot Farm is a simultaneously beautiful, dark and life-affirming story."—John Warner, Inside Higher Ed
Booklist - David Pitt

"This engaging memoir chronicles the unusual route the author and his wife took to mental rehabilitation after Frank's mother's grueling, months-long battle with cancer: they took up residence on a medical-marijuana farm in Northern California. . . . A highly entertaining tale."—David Pitt, Booklist
Third Coast Magazine - Brandon Davis Jennings

"Clearly Pot Farm is a world of uncertainty filled with people who want to help others and with people who want to help themselves; it is our world distilled. And Frank creates this world in a way that can stimulate a reader intellectually while at once offering readers who want to experience the emotional richness that surrounds and inhabits the people of the world he shows us a chance to do that too."—Brandon Davis Jennings, Third Coast Magazine
Dame: For Women Who Know Better - Caroline Leavitt

"Thriving amidst a hilariously motley crew of recovered drug addicts, hippies, users and business people, Frank shows us how the farm works from the first bud to the delivery of the product. Lots of fun, and high time that everyone had a closer look at this fascinating industry."—Caroline Leavitt, Dame: For Women Who Know Better
Dinty W. Moore
Pot Farm is the curious and compelling tale of a hazy season spent harvesting medical marijuana. The cast of characters rivals those found in the finest comic fiction, except these folks are real, and really peculiar. Pot Farm is smart, sly, revelatory, often laugh-out-loud funny, and entirely legal.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire
Big Muddy - Nathan Reynolds

"Frank delivers his experiences through a wonderful narrative that stands in reality, but weaves a story like a work of fiction."—Nathan Reynolds, Big Muddy
Library Journal
Poet Frank (creative writing, Northern Michigan Univ.; Barolo) follows his last book, a memoir of his time in the Italian wine industry, with this story about another part of his life in a different kind of farming operation. Opening by explaining he may be stoned (he freely admits to being an unreliable narrator), he recalls the circumstances that led him and his wife to work for a medical marijuana farm in a secret location in Northern California. Filled with accounts of laboring as and with field pickers, snipers perched in treetops, and Lady Wanda (the reefer heiress and owner of the farm), the book offers a perspective on what it takes to make a living in this particular under-the-table industry. VERDICT Best suited for memoir fanatics. Some readers may take offense at Frank's blunt, crude language and descriptions, but others will relish his dark humor in recounting interactions among husband, wife, fellow workers, and Lady Wanda.—Kyrille Goldbeck DeBose, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Lib., Blacksburg
Kirkus Reviews
A firsthand account of life on a "mostly medical" marijuana farm. After returning to his childhood home for almost a year to assist his mother in her struggle with cancer, Frank (Creative Writing/Northern Michigan Univ.; Barolo, 2010) and his wife turned to a California medical-marijuana farm to soothe their distress. Amid the marijuana plants, the couple rediscovered themselves and their shared love. Hard physical labor, interactions with other misfits of society who live on the land and the occasional toke on the clippings helped Frank come to terms with the hand his mother was dealt. Coupled with musings about his family, the author details the intimate nature of growing marijuana outdoors under the watchful eyes of the owner of the farm, Lady Wanda. Frank takes the reader into the fields, where a pair of good clippers can make or break a man, and describes the intricate methods used to cut and dry the product to ensure good quality. However, an underlying fear pervades the book. The crew members were literally locked at the farm behind several gates for the season, and no interaction was permitted between the workers and the outside world for fear the farm would be raided. Lady Wanda even hired two around-the-clock snipers to watch over the farm. Frank also discusses the legality of the work versus its necessary, as much of the product is grown to assist those with AIDS or cancer. Investigative research coupled with personal reflections on a controversial arena of American farm production.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803237841
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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