Speaking with enthusiasm and passion in his voice when asked about his new hemp farming operations beginning in New Jersey, Emil Polito is on a different path from other Wall Street executives. With 45 years of experience in positions from Paine Webber to Citi, he is uniquely positioned to have remarkable entrepreneurial knowledge and insights to bring to Greenheart CBD’s farming partnership. But what do Wall Street and hemp farming have in common?
From the seeds of technology to the growth of operations
Emil availed of countless technological advancements during his time navigating Wall Street. He found himself purchasing services to make life easier, because as an executive tasked with managing an incredible mountain of day-to-day work, it’s not feasible to get lost in the weeds.
It was through one of these services that he met Greenheart CBD CFO Shane Brett, who had used Greenheart CBD’s products for pain and anxiety. Emil had loved the product so much that he took the time to meet Paul Walsh and Mark Canavan, the childhood friends and co-founders of Greenheart CBD. At the time, they were on the verge of launching their token system and bringing hemp farming into the 21st century.
“I started talking to them, and I said I have a farm in New Jersey.”
And that’s where the partnership between Greenheart CBD and Forever Forest truly flowered.
The festive Christmas tree farm makes up the front portion of Emil’s farm. It provides yearly entertainment for countless children via a Winter Wonderland during Christmas time, complete with acres of enchanted forest, visits from Santa Claus, hayrides, and a number of other family friendly events.
The forest comes alive in fall as well — where this holiday haven becomes the home of spooky Halloween festivities. In summation, Forever Forest is the perfect place to destigmatize and legitimize the importance of hemp as a crop in the United States, just as it was a few decades ago, when it was mandatory to grow hemp to provide the country with necessary resources such as fabric, canvas, rope, and paper.
After yet a few more decades of misinformation and smear campaigns against this incredibly versatile plant, cannabis was finally legalized at the state level in New Jersey in early 2021. It’s an incredible boon for the state: reportedly with the potential to generate $300 million annually in sales tax revenue. Before that, the New Jersey Hemp Farming Act in tandem with the 2018 Farm Bill authorized hemp producers to grow and sell hemp for commercial purposes.
The path to enabling New Jersey to become one of the first few states with a Hemp Program approved by the USDA was realized, and the pilot program to make hemp a cash crop had begun. The south of New Jersey had been dubbed the “Mecca of Marijuana” for this purpose.
A Perfect Partnership
As Emil familiarized himself with the Greenheart CBD story of wanting to help small farmers — not corporations — it fell perfectly in line with the state’s goal to create boutique farmers and make hemp a crop similar to blueberries and tomatoes.
“I don’t know one family whose dog isn’t using CBD or anyone who has some form of pain or elderly ailment that isn’t using a CBD cream or similar product.”
As the public reaches for more natural remedies, they reach for CBD to alleviate their ailments. CBD users claim to get improved sleep, better pain management, and a plethora of other boons, such as helping manage the symptoms of autism. This is evident in Greenheart CBD’s own customer base, many of whom are mothers that swear by this product to help their children thrive.
From creams, oils, to hemp-infused drinks, there’s no shortage of products that could be featured at Greenheart CBD’s New Jersey farm. The hemp and CBD produced at this farm have numerous applications, and more importantly, they are not psychoactive. This means they won’t get the users high like THC would — which makes them safe for children and pets.
Emil expresses no concern about hemp being a negative to his family-friendly farm. The separation between the two is very distinct, and the hemp is long harvested by the time the Halloween and Christmas festivities begin. His goal is to be the pioneer for the hemp product being disassociated from recreational marijuana and to bring us back to the understanding that this crop is beneficial and harmless.
Using his experience with managing Forever Forest, Emil contacted the local university’s agricultural department, where they were already growing hemp, and obtained approval as an internship opportunity for the students. This enables Emil to provide a hands-on learning experience for the students and guide them forward with his honed skills of entrepreneurship.
“I am passionate about teaching college students the elements of entrepreneurship. This could very well be the purpose I’ve been looking for in my older age.”
The students learn to manage the fields and Forever Forest benefits from their support — while also introducing them to the important work that Greenheart CBD is doing and getting them involved in CBD using applicable business practices. From starting a business to running it, the students learn how to take their classroom knowledge and apply it to real life.
Future Plans in Forever Forest
This is a critical moment in time as a pilot test for hemp and CBD in New Jersey. But Emil is confident, and rightfully so. He sees Greenheart CBD as being the go-to company for the state of New Jersey for a myriad of well-researched reasons. The first being that both the company and state interests are perfectly aligned: New Jersey wants to make small farmers have the ability to turn hemp into a cash crop, and that’s exactly what Greenheart has set out to do.
“My vision is to use New Jersey as the pilot for the USA and work with the Department of Agriculture to connect with other farmers so that we can educate them on the Greenheart way and ecosystem.
And then we realize the dream.”
How does Greenheart CBD and Emil achieve this? Through the process already set in motion, using universities to educate the public on new developments in agriculture, specifically hemp, and using the Greenheart ecosystem to educate students on entrepreneurship out of the classroom. These students will then be able to leverage their knowledge and enter the field with demonstrable business acumen.
And that’s just the United States. While Emil works his farm, our co-founders branch out to Panama and Thailand, using the local knowledge and laws to make the appropriate tweaks to the model in regards to boutique farming or bulk growing. The US is the perfect market to penetrate and using New Jersey’s hemp pilot program is a great place to start. It is just that though: the start of something much bigger.