This page contains author profiles for the blog series Perspectives from the Hemp Industry.
Benny Blanchard is a deaf business owner located in the Tampa Bay Area. He operates The Human’s Mechanic as a Massage Therapist and was in the maritime industry as a commercial diver and sailor. He currently specializes in commercial real estate and start up business opportunities all over Florida. Mr. Blanchard also serves as a member of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project Advisory Committee.
Jeffrey Block, M.D.
Dr. Jeffrey Block is a Board-certified physician anesthesiologist and adjunct Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Additionally, he is a highly awarded horticulturist and certified Master Gardener educator with the University of Florida’s UF/IFAS Extension Program. In 2014, Block served the Florida Medical Association authoring mandated physician education and was appointed by Florida’s Surgeon General in 2015 to determine the rules to Florida’s first cannabis law. His demonstrated insight and responsible leadership are valued by allied industries seeking knowledge about the future uses for cannabis.
Josephine Cannella-Krehl is a Florida licensed clinical social worker who was instrumental in the implementation of both Florida’s medical cannabis and industrial hemp programs. She is the founder of MMJ Knowledge, a medical cannabis education company and serves on FDACS Medical Advisory Committee and the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Committee, as Legislative Chair.
Ed Geis raises organic hemp in Camden, Maine and crafts CBD products for his small family farm business, Bald Mountain Botanicals. Ed holds a PhD in Literature and Ecology from University of Utah where his work focused on how American fiction at the turn of the 20th century engaged with the new science of ecology and the conservation movement.
Carlos Hayden is a Master of Business Administration, rooted in the Treasure Coast, owner of hemp genetics company Volition Seed, and founder of a hemp co-op through Volition. Carlos consults on organic and conventional hemp, citrus, produce, and sod production throughout the state of Florida. As a partner farmer of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Program he was able to research and develop hemp genetics and crop production and to share his sustainable farming philosophy and practices.
David Raab is a second generation Ornamental Plant grower who founded Roseville Farms in Apopka Fl in 1995, now recognized as one of the country’s top 100 Greenhouse growers. Roseville partnered with UF/IFAS in the Hemp Pilot Project funding the research at MREC and providing the facilities and expertise to run the Cultivar Approval Program for new varieties. The program certified over 30 Hemp varieties for Florida growers. Currently Roseville is producing new Hemp varieties both indoors under LED Lights and in Greenhouses.
Jeff Thomas is a UF graduate with a BS in Agriculture. He was President and partner in Elsberry Greenhouse Inc. for 20 years. Elsberry Greenhouse was a supplier to big box stores of sod, grass plugs, and ornamental color. He has been responsible for growing multiple greenhouse and field crops throughout his career. He currently is Director of Agronomy at Tater Farms and a partner in Ancient City Hemp.