The Patton Family Combines Organic Farming and Military Support in its Green Meadows Cannabis Venture
The descendants of the famed World War Two hero bring a heritage of organic agriculture, community service, and veteran advocacy to Massachusetts cannabis.
Many Americans know the name George S. Patton. And many who live on Boston’s North Shore have visited the Essex County produce farm founded forty years ago by the famous general’s son and namesake, a retired general himself. Now, after closing the farm in 2017 and leasing the fields to local farmers, their descendants are forging a new tradition: to grow and sell cannabis with the same dedication to veterans, community service, and organic agriculture that characterized the Green Meadows Farm of old. And it’s coming soon to Southbridge.
Under a company creed of integrity, quality, and responsibility, Green Meadows will offer cannabis products locally grown and refined to organic standards. The company will engage with its adult-use and medical cannabis customers to further public understanding about how these products can benefit personal health and well-being. Veteran and diversity hiring will be a priority, as will the community engagement and charitable support for which the Patton family has long been known.
Today the company is in its final stage of licensing to open as an adult-use retailer in a converted mill building in downtown Southbridge, a commercial hub located at the intersection of I-90 and I-84 just north of the Connecticut border. In a rarity for Massachusetts cannabis, Green Meadows will launch its cultivation and processing facility within the same restored 19th Century structure, ensuring a seamless integration of customer-facing retail and premium organic production. Once vertically integrated from seed to sale, Green Meadows will activate its pending medical cannabis license and serve registered patients along with adult-use patrons.
“It’s kind of a reverse process from what we first planned,” says Bob Patton, Green Meadows CEO. “Organic medical cannabis was always our goal – for patients of all kinds, but especially for veterans suffering from PTSD, long-term pain, or opioid abuse. But licensing requirements in Massachusetts led us to begin with adult-use and add medical afterward, once our production ramps up.”
It may seem surprising that a family steeped in historical tradition should launch a cannabis business. But Patton cites his grandfather’s battlefield daring in World War II and his father’s devotion to soldiers he commanded in Vietnam as inspirations behind the new venture. “They showed that bold action and moral commitment can go hand-in-hand. We know that veterans have benefited from cannabis medication. And we know that regulated legal cannabis can mean revenue, employment, and business development for local communities. So we decided to help make those good things happen.”
In its social values and business background, Green Meadows is truly a family enterprise. The company’s organic principles stem from the original farm’s “green” philosophy. Bob’s brother Benjamin founded the Patton Veterans Project in 2012 to help veterans suffering from PTSD and social isolation. His sister Helen heads the Patton Foundation in Europe to promote peaceful interaction through cooperative efforts across borders and political platforms. Their mother Joanne, a company advisor on philanthropy and veteran outreach, was named an Essex Heritage Hero in 2013 for her support of area programs supporting veterans, special needs adults, and child welfare.
Green Meadows management includes Bob’s sons and stepsons, entrepreneurs with established track records in guiding startup companies from conception to operational success. They’ve assembled a diverse team of men and women experienced in cannabis production and in regulatory compliance, always a significant matter under the comprehensive oversight of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
The last piece of the Green Meadows story resides with Southbridge itself. Having lost much of its manufacturing base with the departure of the American Optical Company in the 1990s, Southbridge is currently embarked on a multi-million dollar downtown renewal project with both public and private sponsors. Green Meadows’ bid to join in the economic resurgence has been enthusiastically endorsed by government and business leaders, and the company, after spearheading a voter education campaign last year to permit adult-use marijuana in town, was grateful for the popular support indicated by the referendum’s overwhelming approval.
“A basic tenet of cannabis business is to go where you’re wanted,” Bob Patton summarizes. “We wanted Southbridge and they wanted us. Eventually we hope to open dispensaries elsewhere to be supplied by our production facility, but Southbridge is more than Green Meadows’ headquarters now. It’s our home.”