Lighting firm relocating operation to Grand Valley

An agricultural lighting company has announced plans to relocate operations to the Grand Valley as the firm joins in efforts to evaluate the use of ultraviolet lights in hemp production.

Violet Gro, a spinoff of Violet Defense Group based in Florida, will move to the Grand Valley. The company has joined with Colorado Hemp Solutions, Salt Creek Hemp Co. and Speedy Grow to start a research consortium to assess the potential benefits of using ultraviolet lights to grow hemp indoors.

More information abut the collaboration will be presented at what’s billed as the Hemp on the Slope event set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21 at the Salk Creek Ranch in Collbran.

“Violet Gro is an exciting company that combines innovation and technology with manufacturing and agriculture, and we’re looking forward to seeing the hemp industry grow in Western Colorado. This type of collaboration is unique and a great example of the collaborative spirit that exists here in Grand Junction,” said Robin Brown, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

Research initially will evaluate best practices for using ultraviolet lights to promote plant growth while also protecting plants from infections and pests, including powdery mildew and spider mites.

“Violet Gro’s patented technology enables our light bars to incorporate UV light without the risk of lens degradation and LED destruction that occurs with other lighting on the market. This consortium will allow us to further explore the impact that UV can have for growers as well as the optimal ways to deploy it during the grow process,” said Terrance Berland, chief executive officer of Violet Defense Group.

Speedy Grow, which operates a hemp extraction facility in Grand Junction, will assess the effects of UV light on the levels of cannabanoids hemp plants produce. “Our commitment as a local company is to work very collaboratively with strategic partners, as we believe this valley can be known for the highest quality CBD anywhere in the nation. We are excited about the potential for UV integration into the growing process and the opportunity to produce higher quality and healthier crops,” said Dustin Jensen, co-owner of Speedy Grow.

Margaret MacKenzie with Salt Creek Hemp Co. also praised the effort. “We are excited to be a part of this research to evaluate UV as a way to not only further improve the quality of our product, but also address some of our biggest challenges —including spider mites, which are a huge threat to our crops.”