FACE TO FACE: “The Soil Guru” on mission and people are adhering to his message

By FÉLICITÉ DARVILLE

The cannabis industry is starting to take shape in the Bahamas with the impending Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2021 set to be tabled in Parliament.

As the issues are settled and cries are raised for fairness to the common man and groups like the Rastafari movement, some are taking the bull by the horns and preparing to claim their right in the industry. One of these visionaries is Valin Bodie.

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Valin is said to be the youngest soil scientist in the cannabis industry in the United States – and the only black. The 26-year-old Bahamian owns and operates Environmental Soil Solutions (ESS), a flooring company with a 6,000 square foot warehouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a second warehouse under construction in Oklahoma City. There he works from his research and development tent, monitoring all progress and preparing and mixing the soil.

Valin sources pure organic resources to create its soil mixes. He uses his extensive knowledge of these organic components, gained through his hands-on experience in leading growth companies, to create transformative products. His soil was so successful in growing cannabis and other plants that it was dubbed ‘the soil guru’, and the name stuck as it created a movement towards environmental sustainability around the brand.

There was a buzz surrounding the Soil Guru booth at last week’s CannaCon – one of the biggest cannabis conferences in the hemisphere. It was held at the Oklahoma City Convention Center and is considered a must-see for anyone working in the cannabis business or considering entering it.

CannaCon was an interactive gathering of industry professionals, entrepreneurs and experts discussing the latest industry developments. There, Valin was interviewed by local media who saw that there was something special about this passionate entrepreneur operating from his core value, which is to leave Earth better than when he was there.

He takes this value, in conjunction with his scientific knowledge and desire for sustainability to create a sustainable flooring company that is making strides in the industry.

As a soil scientist, Valin carefully studied the Bahamian soil he grew up on, taking into account that it is limestone and very unique, and created a special blend. This blend will allow cannabis planted in the Bahamas to be successful, which is critical to the sustainability of the brewing industry in the country.

“I can help the Bahamas become a more sustainable nation by contributing to the quality of the soils and only the overall quality of the land,” said Valin.

“It encompasses many facets such as prohibiting land degradation and increasing land conservation through the mirror of sustainability and soil management. “

As he introduced his business to hundreds of partners and potential clients just days ago, he was supported by his mother, Mia Campbell, and publicist, Lia Head-Rigby. He is the CEO of ESS and his wife, Keisha, is the CEO. With their daughter Iva Rayne, they prove that families can come together and work together in the agricultural industry and strive for self-sufficiency.

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“Food security is something people realize now that you are what you eat,” he said.

“So if you can save your body in the long run and your pockets in the short term, I think it’s an overall sustainable lifestyle.”

After her event in Oklahoma ends, Valin now plans to tour California and Florida to promote her special soil mixes.

According to CannaCon, Oklahoma has become the “far west of legalized cannabis markets,” overtaking the rest of the United States in terms of medical license holders and licensed cannabis businesses. In 2020, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Association reported that its patient count represented nearly 10% of the state’s total population.

“CannaCon has been a huge success in conveying the knowledge I have gained to the industry through the contacts made – whether exhibitors or attendees,” said Valin.

“I have made many contacts with big companies like Grow Generation and celebrities like Jim Belushi! I look forward to the exponential growth that my business will experience in the months to come.

For Mia and Lia, Valin’s success is exciting as they have seen him grow from a little boy playing the streets of Johnson Road, to becoming a football star in his country, to becoming a pioneer in the cannabis industry before. his birth in the Bahamas.

“You don’t have to bring all these foreigners into the industry in the Bahamas when you have Bahamians who are already valuable to the cannabis industry,” Lia pointed out, noting that she knows personally of. other Bahamians making strides in cannabis across the United States.

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When Valin attended St Augustine’s College at Fox Hill, he knew he wanted to pursue an education that would enable him to make a valuable contribution to planet Earth. He believes soil is one of the most important things on Earth, after water and oxygen. After graduating, he attended Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey. He then transferred to Oral Roberts University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Global Environmental Sustainability. There he met his college sweetheart who became his wife, and together he and Keisha set out on their mission to make an impact on the cannabis industry.

They think and research together, and they put the recipes down on paper. Next, Valin starts mixing the recipe by hand, then sends it to the labs for testing. It then tinkers with the soil as needed to achieve the required level of nutrients desired. He is currently excited about a new trend – the cultivation of bonsai cannabis.

“I am one hundred percent behind the legalization of cannabis because I have used cannabis as a way to overcome one of the worst concussions you can have,” he explained.

“I think there needs to be more education on cannabis to alleviate the societal stigma of it as a plant. The government must ensure that it addresses the loopholes in the laws it is about to pass and that this is done in a way that is sustainable for the country in the long term. I think it’s great to create much-needed income for the country and to have an export that we can benefit from. “

Valin calls himself “a handyman of the earth, a visionary of resources, a curious soul and a man of intention”. He shares his keys to success with young people when he is invited to speak in his alma mater and in other institutions.

As he climbs to greater success, he is always aware of the trials he will face: “God has to increase my capacity for blessings before increasing my blessings, so I am good with the struggle even if it becomes difficult. “

Long before entrepreneurial success, Valin, a fellow from Lyford Cay, used to win. He’s an athlete whose soccer success earned him publicity along the way. He played for the Bahamian national soccer team and the Cavalier Football Club. He played under Hugo Pierre at Essex County College where he led the team to the Region 19 playoffs, and went on to play for Oral Roberts University. He also played for the Bahamas National Beach Soccer Team in 2017.

His national pride extends to his flooring business and he aims to make a valuable contribution to the industry here. Customer service and product knowledge helped him grow his business.

“They work hand in hand,” he explained.

“If you know your product, believe it and stand up for it, you will help producers understand it better, which in turn will allow you to sell your product. Knowledge transfer fuels the funnel.

Valin’s report on Face to Face comes weeks after we captured the story of Dr. Robert Taylor, a veteran soil scientist in the United States and a Bahamian son of the soil. Dr Taylor pointed out that the limestone-filled soil of the Bahamas could become very viable with the right organic components.

Valin is proving it now and is expected to make a major announcement in the coming weeks.

Contact Valin by e-mail at: [email protected]

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