PROSPECT — In 2018 Thomas Arters and Brad Tipper started Prospect Farms to bring organically grown CBD product to market under company ethics that include transparency about what is in company products and how its hemp is grown.
The two saw a “greenwashing” of the market, where companies were claiming to sell wellness CBD products but not being completely transparent about all the substances in the product. They pride themselves on making everything public from the substances in their product to the way their hemp is grown and harvested.
The two knew they had a good story and good company ethics but they needed to find a voice to amplify that story. That is how actress and model Brooke Shields intends to help the company, which brought her on in March as chief brand officer. The two did not seek her out; rather, she found their product when she was searching for ways to alleviate her own ailments.
Part of what attracted Shields to Prospect Farms’ products is the care the company puts into its products, she said in a press release announcing her involvement.
“The sustainability and single source traceability of botanical ingredients, especially amid the industry’s greenwashing epidemic, is more important than ever, ultimately leading me to Prospect Farms,” she said. “I look forward to elevating the conversation around brands and products, and in turn helping wellness consumers everywhere find trust, transparency and most important, relief.”
Having Shields as the chief brand officers allows Arters and Tipper to share their stories and promote their company’s best practices, Tipper said.
Though there are some companies that are transparent about everything in their product, it can be difficult to find companies that list everything used in their products, how its product is processed and where they source their ingredients, Arters said.
Prospect Farms grows its own hemp plants from seed to harvest, using organic practices, according to Arters. It sources all of its other ingredients from the same places so it can track everything going into its products. The company controls its own supply chain from seed to store.
A lot of industrial hemp companies get products from multiple sources, mixing them all together, but that can make it difficult to know exactly what is in their products, Arters said. He and Tipper think it is important to know exactly how much of everything is going into their products.
The company conducts at least 14 tests on its product for multiple substances from pesticides to cannabinoid content to ensure quality control, Arter said. The two hope their seed-to-store concept ripples through the industry to inspire other companies to increase their product standards.
The business partners started the farm in 2018, after they found an ideal location at a former hobby horse farm that had fallen into disrepair, Arters said. After looking all over the Northeast, they found Prospect to be the most geographically ideal place to fulfill their mission to grow organic hemp and produce CBD products to their standard, Tipper said.
Neither Tipper nor Arters has a farming background, so aligning themselves with a local farmer was key to starting their grow operation, they said. They brought in Tom Davis, who is now their head of farming operations, to help them succeed.
Davis is a fifth-generation farmer in Maine, with a family tradition reaching back through his family’s roots in Ireland, he said. His family started in dairy farming but he switched to vegetables.
Davis considers himself a good judge of character and is not somebody who will jump at just any business opportunity offered to him, he said.
When he started talking with Arters, he was unsure if he wanted to align himself with their farm but the two hit it off, he said. After his mother tried the first iterations of their product on one of her physical ailments and it helped her, he felt comfortable working with them.
“I need to know whether or not it has benefits,” he said. “If it doesn’t, I’m walking, because it doesn’t matter what’s being thrown at me for any kind of payment for anything. If it doesn’t work, I want no part of it.”
Since Shields started with the company, Arters has seen an uptick in awareness about the quality standards the farm is hoping to steer the industry toward, he said. They are working on Project Paw, a campaign with Brooke Shields to educate people about the benefits of botanical products. It helps support pet shelters around the country.
Not all CBD oils and products are made the same and they want people to know that what goes into them matters. “We’re introducing a higher standard of approaching artisanal formulations,” Arters said, “because every ingredient matters. You know, while CBD is important, it is only one of the many botanical ingredients.”
The farm is a member of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and is currently seeking an organic certification from Baystate Organic Certifiers in Massachusetts, Arters said.
Prospect Farms products can be found online at prospectfarms.com.