When Jeremy and Jessica Dance opened their Fairbanks-based Barefoot Grow Company, the couple saw a direct connection between Jeremy’s childhood and the way they prepare the soil their cannabis is grown in. “I was raised on a hippie commune in a place called Ten Mile, which is ten miles north of Fort Bragg, California, and I ran around barefoot a lot,” Jeremy said, remembering how scrambling about the rugged landscape toughened up his feet. “I like running around barefoot to this day.”

That impulse to take off his shoes has proven fortuitous when it comes to blending the natural components and fertilizers he mixes together to grow his plants in. “You take all your soil and you put it on a big tarp and you dump it out,” he explained, “and to mix it you walk through it. If you go in there with shoes on, you smash all that stuff up and it gets all clumpy. So the best way to do it is, you take off your shoes, you tread through it, and you keep your feet as close on the tarp as possible so you don’t smash the dirt up.”

It’s a process that inspired a moniker. “I was looking for a name and it kind of fits what we’re going for,” Dance said.

The Dances are in the process of relaunching their business from their Fairbanks property, where a preexisting warehouse provided them with rent-free startup space. After a brief hiatus while upgrading their facility, they intend to have product in shops by summer, emblazoned with the company logo, a pair of untied bunny boots.

Dance said the couple initially outsourced their logo design, but weren’t satisfied with the results. Since Jessica is an architect by profession, and an artist as well, she gave it a try. The Dances knew they didn’t want a bare foot, as that might turn some customers away. “You never want to make a foot what people think of your product,” Jeremy explained, noting that he’s been researching the dos and don’ts of branding recently. Instead they found something uniquely Alaskan. Two bunny boots, modeled on Jeremy’s own pair, indicate that bare feet are lingering nearby. It’s an image that evokes the arctic entries of busy homes on winter evenings in Alaska’s interior. “The bunny boot fit Fairbanks,” Dance said, “and that’s what we came up with.”

David James is a freelance writer in Fairbanks. Comments about this story? Contact editor Dorothy Resch Chomicz at editor@AlaskaCannabist.com.

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