Even the best homegrown seeds can’t reach their full potential without natural sunlight, and Swami Select knows that. The thriving cannabis company is under the guidance of two hippies turned businesspeople: Nikki and Swami.
This ganja duo believes in using naturally-grown marijuana for healing and introspection. Their work for HomeGrown Cannabis Company is moving the market in a sustainable direction, and their advocacy supports weed rights for all. Their life stories are equally impactful.
How did these free spirits come about, and how did they become so prominent? Let’s look at their biographies to find out.
Nikki and Swami have origins in the countercultural movement from the 60s. They met in the summer of 1969.
Swami was called William back in the day. He married his high school sweetheart, studied in Germany, and worked in Madison, Wisconsin. The revolutionary tide soon swept him up, so he divorced and moved to San Francisco in 1967.
Nikki Lastreto lived and studied in the same city. She said she was destined to be a flower child, considering her upbringing at the heart of the hippie movement.
In 1969, William was a member of a commune in North Beach. Nikki sometimes visited the group as a teen. The two had brief contact but didn’t immediately enter a relationship; she went on to work as a journalist.
The pair got together in 1976 and married in 1985. City life wasn’t for either of them, so they began traveling. Their journeys led them in an exciting direction.
A Journey of Spirituality
Nikki and Swami wanted to explore alternative cultures, so they joined hippie communities worldwide. They spent time in Europe and South America before settling in India.
Although not their first encounter with the plant, toking in India influenced the couple. From making classical music to empowering meditation, weed has the potential to push people in new, unexplored directions. William felt that the most.
The couple lived with the International Tribe of Freaks, where they got their first taste of a true spiritual awakening. Then Lord Shiva appeared to William in a dream, telling him to leave Nikki and develop an independent identity. The two separated for several years, him staying in India and her returning to San Francisco.
William participated in the Kumbh Mela spiritual gathering in 1998, where he developed the Swami Chaitanya identity.
During their time apart, Nikki started working with altars and statues for spiritual gatherings. The job got tiring, and she wanted to put down roots in a comfortable California home. Swami had finished his quest in India, so he followed her.
Cultivating Under the Sun
After returning to America, Nikki and Swami moved into a large plot of land in Mendocino County. They started growing cannabis outdoors, developing a community on their ranch.
Word of their expertise spread with time. The specialist cultivator status made the pair official judges of California’s Emerald Cup in 2004. They have held the position since.
As legalization reached California, the couple got involved in local politics. They used their age and experience to advocate for farmer rights and craft cultivators within the County.
The changing laws also necessitated action on the business front. Their shared ambition led to the official establishment of Swami Select in 2011.
The High Times and similar popular publications featured Nikki and Swami. They were named the first-ever Ambassadors for the inaugural cannabis competition in California in 2021.
Career and Company
Swami Select is a cannabis brand that produces weed for “medical and inspirational use.” The buds develop in Nikki and Swami’s Ganja Ma gardens in Mendocino County. Cultivation occurs outdoors, in living soil, and under natural sunlight.
The company sticks to the basics and keeps its production capacities small. The founders pick one strain to raise each spring. As a result, the same cultivar delivers a variety of cannabinoid and terpene profiles, allowing for natural variation.
The duo also breeds new cultivars, but that project is independent of the company. There are currently no Swami Select seeds available for purchase.
The company sells only sun-grown, dried buds for consumption. As their business grows, we suggest they pair with Chef Nikki Steward and start producing edibles.
An Emerald Love Story
As Nikki and Swami lived and grew their business, their love also took on a new form. They reconnected and returned to America in the early 2000s, but their relationship was primarily platonic between 1994 and 2019.
Then came the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, when they rekindled their romantic relationship. They married again, calling their new love mature and sacred.
We wish the pair all the best in their future endeavors. Our readers may buy seeds, grow weed, and apply the lessons learned from the Emerald couple.
Trivia and Facts
Nikki and Swami regularly post opinion pieces on their official website.
Swami’s spiritual teacher guided him to make a celibacy vow and wear only one color.
The couple got married three times; the last wedding happened in 2019.