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I got lifted at Area 101: Tales from an Intergalactic Genetics Exchange

Target Galaxy: Milky Way Galaxy

Target Star: Star #420. The terrans call it… “the sun.”

Target Planet: 3rd rock from the sun

Landing Time: March 9th, 2024. @ 12:00PM

Optimal Landing Site: Area 101, Mendocino County, California, USA, North America.

Mission: Secure DNA samples of the dankest genetics possible from the Intergalactic Genetics Exchange.

So obviously I didn’t actually land in a spaceship but THC was on deck at The Emerald Collective’s Intergalactic Genetics Exchange at Area 101 on March 9th, 2024. Over the years, Seed Swaps at Area 101 have occurred under many names – but the event is usually the same at least at the two that I’ve been to: An ongoing swap, a potluck, and an all night concert featuring artists from 

Last year, the one that I had the honor of attending last year when it was called a Seed and Scion Exchange. If you’ve ever been to Area 101, then you’ll believe me when I say that there’s been an intergalactic component every year. 

This year Area 101 featured the Terped Out Kitchen team on deck serving asada and pollo tacos til they sold out. Terped out is a pretty good summary of what the smoke was like once you got inside.

terped out kitchen at area 101 intergalactic genetics exchange 2024

Emerald Collective and Area 101 host Intergalactic Genetics Exchange

I pulled up, dropped off my potluck contribution in the kitchen and immediately saw some familiar faces. During the daytime, a formal seed swap serves as the greatest meeting of the cannabis minds in the Emerald Triangle. Whether you’re on the seed swap floor trading genetics or in the elder meeting, this is where nourishment of the mind occurs. In the evening, a community potluck feeds those that are prepping for the concert. The chili comes out, and nourishment of the body commences. Right around the same time, the couches get rearranged and the music begins. Thus, the nourishment of the soul begins.

To kick off the chillage, Veterans Free Access rolled up a quarter in a doobie. An even mix of Lady Sativa Farms’ Tropical Infusion and Wild Weed Botanicals’ Blueberry both via Redwood Roots. That was one tasty doink that lasted the better part of an hour.

veterans free access rolling up tropical infusion and blueberry area 101

I finally met A.C. Moon and got my eyes on Crop Top greenhouse from Indica Innovations – there was a raffle going on. A.C. Moon insisted that the Cannabis Studies Lab should receive one. While we can’t use it on campus – rest assured that the hardware donation will be used to spread knowledge. Since I left early, I missed quite a lot of people. Including another organizer of the event Bryan Bussey of WaxNax.

One of the first people I recognized were: Isaac, Elijah, and Isaiah – the eponymous Poncho Brotherz who I had met at TransBay Eureka.

Poncho Brotherz had received some genetics from the back to the lander that they had bought their SoHum farm from – and hearing my interest in such things, Elijah shared some za. I got to try a Salmon Creek watershed heirloom they called “The Chronic” which was so earthy and chillaxing it very much set the tone for the next hour. Solventless Sanctuary noted a distinct strawberry note and I love it when there’s a kushi high that doesn’t put me completely down.

If you haven’t heard of them – Poncho Brotherz has the Oaxacan Blues, which I guarantee you’ll come to recognize as the most unique and pretty nugs in California. Spears and arrows. In my search for the license holders still confident enough in their craft and heritage to run heirloom genetics on the legal market… Poncho Brotherz has come up. As does another observation from the last several seed swaps I’ve attended. The licensed brands that are at seed swaps. Hell, that know what they are and their history in the cannabis culture let alone agriculture in general. Those are the ones that are carrying cannabis culture forward to the mainstream.

To continue the search for landraces and heirlooms, I ended up taking a lil ride with Nate your Boy to check out his spot and got the best opportunity (choose something from what’s here to bring back to share) with an unfortunate time constraint. Note to self, stop rushing flower demos from breeders. I ended up suggesting the Blu Burmese but didn’t end up smoking any of it… That’s how it be sometimes. Looking forward to try it in the future, though.

nate your boy blu burmese area 101 seed swap 2024

The widest variety of flower came out of Night Gardener Genetics‘ backpack. I didn’t have enough time to check them all out but what I did get my nose and lungs into were impressive as always. Rajasthani genetics among others if you can read em. Quite terped out, and with different “terps.” Earth, incense, funk, fizz, carbonation, tropical (not trop), and smells I still need time and exposure to figure out.

night gardener genetics flower medley at area 101 seed swap

Not that the Oaxacan BlueZ and Blu Burmese weren’t cool, but the most out of left field and other side of the world landrace I got to try came from Daniel at GW Smoke Break. He was walking around sharing a Cambodian Mondulkiri landrace grown by JadeNectar with everybody that was interested. Trust, I was interested.

Have to look past the beautiful, sungrown, larfy, nugs that you can see daylight through – tap the tongue of an unfamiliar but familiar herbal taste – then enjoy the liftoff of the high. I keep describing that there are cannabis cultivars that hit you like a bump and have you awake at 1AM even though you smoked it hours ago. That’s how SE Asian landraces hit – and the fact of the matter is that it’s not available on the legal market. Cool stuff like this is exactly the kind of flower that you’ll likely only run into at a seed swap. If smoking stuff you’ll never get to try otherwise isn’t a good enough reason to attend an event like this, then I don’t know what is.

Despite my ongoing, and frankly sometimes selfish, quest to smoke ‘em all… Area 101 reminded me that there’s something deeper at play. After all, this event was about sharing genetics which at its core is about making sure that you and your neighbors make it to next year with money in the bank and good food in the pantry. It means working to ensure that your community doesn’t just survive – but it thrives.

I know that I stuck to the funner parts of this day – but I’d be remiss to gloss over the deep and meaningful conversations that were being had all around me. Cannabis in California is going through a shakeup. On the legal side, on the legacy side. All around. A way of life is being threatened and seeing the community gather even in its darkest times is truly inspiring.

How to share seeds? Lovingly and Legally

Having been to numerous swaps over the last years – I can say that I saw a table which was hands down the coolest seed swap showing I’d ever seen with the coolest seeds I’ve ever been able to trade for…

area 101 lovingly and legally booth seed swap

The Lovingly and Legally table had a bunch of bottles and bags filled with seeds and labeled with sharpies. I noticed that Veterans Free Access and Fault Line Seeds had spent like thirty minutes straight chopping it up with Paul Hansbury of Lovingly and Legally and pouring over their seed collection. I was drawn in and soon joined them with as much gusto.

lovingly and legally seed swap table at area 101 2024

Cool stuff that I found included C6 and C. Tsu from one of the first CBD cultivar phenohunts in California of Spanish Resin Seeds seeds. It made me think about the countrywide transition from BC Bud to Cali Purps around the turn of the century and the fact that at least under the Prohibition, and if those two cultivar families now have a third to contend with on the legacy market… there’s a new reigning champion thanks to the Farm Bill. There was a time where Cali Purps unseated BC Bud as the most grown/bought cultivar under the Prohibition. I’d argue that despite the ongoing purple candy gas cali-zatix “hype engine” as Green State’s Rachelle Gordon calls it – the current cultivar that is being moved as bulk (distillate) the most is none other than one of the popular hemp cultivars that resulted from the CBD focused work of a decade or more ago. And it’s not even being grown “under the prohibition.” Times sure are a changin’.

One bottle that made me do a double take was a small nondescript one that said ‘Kush’ and was labeled as coming from an Area 101 seed swap from 2012. That’s right, twelve years later, the same seeds were back at the same location, being shared AGAIN. You already know that Paul and Susan probably had them to share at some of the seed swaps between 2012 and 2024, too.

A jar of Amnesia seeds stared back at me because they lacked the signature tiger stripes and reminded me of the Filipino x Brother’s Keeper seeds from The Seedery that I have been playing with.

amnesia seeds from lovingly and legally table at area 101 seed swap 2024

I bought some Black Apple Kush seeds from Doc Ray Genetics. I had been looking for something Ocimene dominant to run, and the fact is that these seeds from Ray might be the most stabilized seeds in my whole collection.

Right next to him, I found another item I had been looking for for my collection: some Purple Punch x GG4 seeds from Brad at Rarebreed Humboldt. Purple Punch is a flavor I was sad to see gone and am happy to see coming back. In combination with GG4 – I can just imagine the headiness. 

rarebreed humboldt and doc ray genetics seeds from area 101

Like the Sticker Farmer Mendo event, the rain caused some people that would have otherwise have been there to have to stay home for fear of not being able to make it back up the road. Wish I could have chopped it up with Old Man Wayne. I’d been craving some Choco Cheeba. There were cool mushroom genetics being traded, and also Black Runtz clones. I ate my first philosopher’s stone and – as you might can imagine – it was quite a different experience than being stoned.

Depending on the time of year and rainfall, Area 101 has a beautiful waterfall near the back. A favorite chill spot of the late Frenchy Cannoli. We went there to smoke a few times. Looking over the nature and breathing in a deep breath of zen and sense of belonging with nature. It’s not often that there are gatherings of likeminded individuals who all share a respect for entheogens and counter culture. At Area 101, those are the only gatherings allowed.

The hills are teeming with rare genetics – and every so often, Area 101 serves as a focal point for all of that genuine human activity. I have no doubt that out in the ether, something has noticed and is on their way to attend the next intergalactic genetics exchange. With that said: Don’t miss it.

Thanks again Tim Blake, Bryan Bussey, and A.C. Moon for hosting.

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Founder of The Highest Critic
Unpaid /r/trees mod
Certified Ganjier
Kine bud enthusiast

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Caleb Chen

Founder of The Highest Critic Unpaid /r/trees mod Certified Ganjier Kine bud enthusiast

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