Rethinking cannabis culture is the root of chef and event organizer Liv Vasquez's work.
Vasquez channeled pot through a fashion-forward lens for her pop-up in New York last December, introducing her favorite Oregon cultivators to East Coasters via a three-day shopping and fashion press event attended by national outlets. And next week, Vasquez hosts CBD Summer Camp, a four-day cannabidiol-focused retreat in collaboration with East Fork Cultivars at its farm in Takilma, Ore. Members of the cannabis industry and consumers will meet with educators for deep-dive sessions on the best uses of organic, ethically sourced CBD.
"It really is for the person who wants to learn, from soil to sale, what they should be considering for craft-quality hemp products," Vazquez says. "Or it could just be fun to camp out on one of the best cannabis farms in the country."
Between sessions, attendees can hike, zipline, do yoga and swim in the grounds' natural pools. Vasquez will serve her gorgeous, plant-based CBD dishes and snacks, culminating in her High Noon Brunch.
But CBD Summer Camp isn't just a zany stoner vacation. Vasquez says her dining events— pairing marijuana leaves with roses, ferns and wildflowers—are more Martha Stewart Living than High Times.
"I think, especially for older women who have lived through prohibition of cannabis, and who have been more or less afraid of it for so long, for them to even come into a dispensary can be a whole emotional process," Vasquez says. "So I wanted to create these beautiful spaces for them to feel more comfortable to come in to ask questions. But at heart, I'm a Golden Girl, so I want a beautiful place where I can talk mindfully about cannabis that isn't a bunch of guys with Bob Marley posters."
Though she keeps her events open to all, Vasquez says women and femmes have connected with her events the most. Her events, she says, are partly inspired by the sexual harassment she experienced at a dispensary where she once worked.
"In cannabis, the first question you ask is, 'What brought you to use cannabis?' and the answer is always trauma," Vasquez says. "Either a physical trauma or a mental trauma, or a childhood trauma. The people who are sharing these details need to feel a connection and feel safe and feel like it's a safe space to share and that they're being heard."
Depending on how things go, Vasquez will consider doing the camp again next year. She's also looking into making the education courses available to attendees who can't camp due to accessibility needs. But small attendance numbers won't be a factor.
"I like to keep my events more on the intimate side, so no one has that experience where someone got a little too high at the party," she says. "You want to make sure everyone feels like, 'Oh, I have trust in you, and you're doing fine.'"
GO: CBD Summer Camp is Friday-Monday, Aug. 23-26. See cbdsummercamp.com for more information and to reserve a campsite.