Interview by Danny Danko.
Photos courtesy of Mandala Seeds
Tell me about Mandala Seeds' history. To some of our readers, you may appear to be new on the scene, but that's not exactly the case, right?
Mike: We've been in business for three years, and before that we gathered more than a decade of breeding experience, which has flowed into the creation of our strains. I collected landrace seeds in the early 1980s from Mexico and Jamaica and had done breeding on my own before, but with no professional goal in mind. I caught up with Jasmin in the fall of 1988. We knew each other from earlier days, but had lost track in between. On this occasion, she told me of her agricultural engagement in India. About a year later, I decided to follow her to India, where she was involved in an agricultural development project. With her own jeep and enough spare time at hand, she invited me to travel with her throughout India and Nepal. This was the most adventurous and exciting time of my life. Since we both liked good pot, Jasmin showed me the most interesting places where wild cannabis was growing. This was like paradise for me - I'd never seen anything like this before. Jasmin lived in a house in the foothills of the Himalayas with an adjoining water mill, in a beautiful spot surrounded by giant, ancient chestnut trees. She had a 10-acre plot of land, laid on fertile terraces, full of sinsemilla cannabis. This was absolutely mind-blowing. Some local families helped her take care of the plantation and would also process the resin into charas. At this pristine place, we had, for the first time, the idea to cross old-school and newer strains with fresh landrace genetics. For the next three years, however, we could not realize this idea because Jasmin had to fulfill her work contract. So she bought a house in Goa for us to stay in during the winter months, when her place in the mountains was covered in snow. Between our travels, she supervised the development project. When we eventually left India, we carried with us a lot of cannabis seeds from many different places and sources. Back in Europe, we found the quiet place we were looking for to start our breeding career.