Head & Heal: From Local Farmers to Industry Innovators
Karli Miller-Hornick and Allan Gandelman, co-founders of long-time Rev member company New York Hemp Oil, best known for its product line Head & Heal, are gaining increasing recognition in the hemp farming industry for their leadership and innovation.
Originally founded in 2010 as Main Street Farms, the company has drastically grown and evolved over the past several years. From their beginnings as an organic vegetable farm — with produce still being grown and distributed to CSA members and eateries like Sweetgreen and Dig Inn — the company pivoted in 2018, adding CBD (cannabidiol) oils and tinctures to their product offerings and has continued to expand since.
“We’re up north; so in the winter, we were having a problem keeping our farmers employed year-round,” said Miller-Hornick. “We were always looking for a value-added product, struggling to find something that would fill that gap during the winter. In 2018, New York started issuing hemp licenses, and we applied for one,” she said.
As one of the first licensed hemp growers in New York State, Head & Heal has served as a model for success in the hemp industry. The founders have been outspoken advocates for the legalization of cannabis in New York State. Gandelman, in particular, has been quoted and featured in numerous publications as an industry expert on the issue, including the Wall Street Journal and Fox Business.
Gandelman — who also serves as the co-founder and president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association — was recognized by City & State New York as one of its inaugural Agriculture Power 50. The list honors those that have “shaped New York’s agricultural landscape,” and includes names such as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani.
Head & Heal was also featured in Hemp Grower magazine this year, nabbing the cover of their September 2021 issue. The magazine chronicled the founding of the company, which was inspired by Gandelman’s struggles with Lyme disease and his use of CBD oil as a treatment.
“My doctor kept trying to prescribe me painkillers, but I was still driving the tractor and running the farm, and I knew I couldn’t do that on opioids,” Gandelman said in the article. “Then a friend in Colorado sent me a bottle of CBD oil, so I started taking that and slowly feeling the effects. After a few months, most of my pain was gone.”
The story also highlighted Head & Heal’s dedication to quality and customer satisfaction through their ever-expanding innovative product line, which includes dog treats and bath products. The company has a highly engaged customer base, which they frequently survey to determine which products to offer next. In fact, Head & Heal was named Rev’s “Most Customer Driven Startup” this summer in a public vote.
“We care about the people and the planet — and we care about our customers,” said Miller-Hornick. “Cannabis is such a green rush. But farming is never an industry about making money. We’re about sustaining the community, whether it’s by providing food, jobs or medicine. We’re proving that we can do this through regenerative farming.”
The company’s products have also been recognized for their quality. Head & Heal’s CBG Focus Oil, recently won a NEXTY Award for Best New CBD/Hemp Product at the New Hope Network’s Natural Products Expo East in September 2021. As opposed to CBD, the award-winning oil is made using CBG (cannabigerol), the original molecule in the hemp plant with neuroprotectant properties that may promote mental alertness. Users of the oil flooded the Hemp & Heal website with rave reviews, citing mental clarity and relief from “brain fog.” Readers interested in learning more about Head & Heal and their product offerings can visit www.headandheal.com or follow them on social media.