Guests gather at Sylvan Alpaca Farm in Parkhill, Ontario
The sun is high in the sky over the Sylvan Alpaca farm in Parkhill, Ontario. Certified cannabis educator and owner of Reveal Cannabis, Andrea Meharg, relishes the warm weather as she stands inside a shady tent in front of a tablecloth decorated with marijuana leaves. Jars of dried cannabis, oils, and other “ingredients” sit on the table, providing the perfect classroom setting for the modern-day canna-tourist.
A sign that reads, “Parkhill Cannabis Club” hangs overhead, and about 36 people have gathered under the tent to hear Andrea speak. Not more than ten feet away, several alpacas graze in the long grass, completely unthreatened by the group of humans.
Andrea Meharg and Reverend Kelly walk Alpacas and talk Cannabis education
“All of you have signed up through Hibnb for this event,” Andrea tells the crowd, then asks the guests to talk a little bit about why they’re there. A woman shares that she has brought her relative to learn more about how cannabis works. A few others explain that they have scheduled the event as a 70th birthday gift. There are medical patients and cannabis enthusiasts here, and most – especially those new to cannabis -- want to learn more about how marijuana can be used as medicine. All the while, the alpacas patiently wait to take part in the adventure.
For Owners, Steph & Nick Ince, it was a no-brainer to pair their love for this breed of llama-like creatures with their knowledge about the medicine that has kept Nick well for many years. In 2010, Nick became one of the first people in the province to receive his MMR license. He chose cannabis as his medicine and began to grow. His love for the plant and his love for alpacas led him to reach out to the area’s local cannabis hero, Andrea Meharg. “I think I have a great way for us to work together to make an event,” Nick says.
Sylvan Alpaca farm owners Steph & Nick, with Lluca the Llama and plants
Andrea starts her instructional session by explaining that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in everyone and keeps us in a state of homeostasis balance. Many nod their heads, others murmur, “Yes” and “It does help” as Lluca the Llama strolls by. “Lluca, incidentally has an endocannabinoid system,” says Andrea.
After Andrea drops some more llama and cannabis science, it’s time for a bit of audience participation, in which she shares some health-related information about cannabis. Next, there’s a “how-to” session, in which guests are told about the simplest of ways to make cannabis oil.
Alpacas at Sylvan Alpaca farm prepare for another adventure
Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for arrives. Andrea tells us it’s time to meet the alpacas and the crowd cheers. Some move out from the tented area, where the owner of the farm tells participants that it’s okay to consume cannabis anywhere on the property.
Nick and Steph are growing a couple of cannabis plants, and take some humans with their new doe-eyed friends to visit them. The alpacas are extremely “chill” creatures, with soft fur. You don’t have to be high to realize they seem to be on the same vibrations as their companions. They bob their heads up and down as they walk, and exhibit absolutely no aggression; being with these creatures is a calming, enlightening experience.
“They get us here by telling us we can pet alpacas, and end up opening up our eyes to a whole new world,” says one guest, who says she came here with a friend who uses cannabis for healing.
Each guest is offered medicated and non-medicated treats and stays well past the educational portion of the afternoon. Conversations continue as the animals graze around the guests, adding to the serenity of the moment.
Now well into their third year and sixth event, Reveal Cannabis and Sylvan Alpaca Farm hope to make their Alpaca Adventure a monthly occasion next summer and fall. For those who enjoy relaxing in nature as they learn more about cannabis – or for anyone who just loves animals and weed -- it’s well worth the trip.
About the Writer
Reverend Kelly Adidson is the owner of the Kelly’s Green Lounge, a cannabis-friendly establishmentin Orono, Ontario, where everyone from the canna-curious to the cannabis connoisseur unite in education and celebration of the plant. Kelly is also an ordained minister dedicated to cannabis.