2880 14th Street SE
Loveland, CO 80537
Interview with Katelynn Martinez, Director of Operations and Business Development
How new is OneCanopy and how did you get started?
OneCanopy is quite new, less than two years old. In 2021, local entrepreneur Kevin Brinkman approached me with a keen interest in starting a reforestation company that addressed issues within the reforestation pipeline, notably the lack of reforestation plant material. Currently less than 20% of the demand for reforestation plants is being met by producers. Our first challenge was to find a suitable property for our operation and at first we were having little luck. In early 2022, we learned of a place that was coming onto the market – the old Rabbit Shadow Farm nursery near Loveland. Quickly seizing the opportunity, we were able to purchase the 7.5 acre parcel before it was even put on the market. And the 34,000 sq. ft. greenhouse space that came with it.
What type of plants do you sell?
We’re focusing on the ‘bread and butter’ reforestation plants for this region with a mix of trees and shrubs. Currently that includes trees like ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and Douglas fir, as well as a few shrubs such as chokecherry and native plum. All our plant material is grown from native seed that is ecotypic to Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. Currently our speculative grows are produced in 10 cubic inch plug-size containers (approx. 1 inch diameter by 8 inches deep). We are also growing in D40 and 1 gallon containers on contract. While bare root plant material is common in reforestation projects, science tells us that containerized plants like ours survive better over time.
What markets do you serve and where?
Our primary markets, initially, will be in Colorado and Wyoming, although down the road we hope to cover the entire Rocky Mountain region. We sell primarily to conservation districts, municipalities and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners.
What challenges are you encountering?
In simple terms, it is the supply of seed, which is impacted by two main factors – labor and climate change. On the labor side, there aren’t enough seed collectors to keep up with the demand. Climate change also affects seed supply since erratic weather patterns influence the frequency of cone (seed) production, the quantity of cones, and the viability of seeds that are produced.
What trends are influencing your business?
With recent federal legislation, a new influx of federal money to the states will improve and expand the reforestation pipeline. While the money won’t come directly to us, it will be available to our primary customers who will then turn to us to produce the plants they need.
Are you concerned about water shortages?
We are but not so much in a supply way. Our concern is about how our water use affects our triple bottom line of sustainability, that is our ability to meet environmental, social and financial goals. If growing our seedlings proves to have a more negative impact to these three areas than the actual planting does, then we will reconfigure our processes.
Why did you decide to join CNGA?
We see great value in the networking and sharing of knowledge that CNGA provides. Even though our business focus is more in the native and wildland applications, we feel there is plenty to learn from the horticulture industry that can help us. We’re excited to be part of CNGA!