It may seem surprising that a family steeped in military tradition should launch a cannabis business. But CEO Bob Patton cites his grandfather General George S. Patton’s battlefield daring in World War II and his father’s devotion to soldiers he commanded in Vietnam as inspirations behind the new venture—showing that bold action and moral commitment can go hand-in-hand.
The family has high standards for both action and commitment. General Patton is widely considered one of the most successful combat generals in U.S. history, helping to liberate Europe and lead the Allies to victory in WWII. Since then, the Patton family name has become synonymous with military and veteran service.
A lesser-known family legacy is in organic agriculture. Following his retirement as an army major general in 1981, George and Beatrice’s son, George Patton IV, started the original Green Meadows Farm, a pick-your-own blueberry business that later evolved into an organic produce stand, the first of its kind in the area, and a Community Supported Agriculture collective. Now, after closing that farm in 2017 and leasing the fields to local farmers, the Patton family is pursuing organic cultivation in a bold and different way: to grow and sell cannabis with the same dedication to veterans, community service, and organic agriculture that characterized the first Green Meadows Farm—now planting new roots in Southbridge.
Family enterprise, social commitment
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. Green Meadows management includes Bob’s sons and stepsons, all 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 regulatory compliance.
Bob’s brother, sister and mother hold advisory roles with Green Meadows while continuing to manage their own philanthropic enterprises. Benjamin Patton founded the Patton Veterans Project in 2011 to help veterans suffering from PTSD and social isolation to reconnect through collaborative film projects. Helen Patton heads the Patton Foundation in Europe to promote peaceful interaction through cooperative efforts across borders and political platforms. Their mother Joanne, a company counsellor on charities and community outreach, was named an Essex Heritage Hero in 2013 for her support of area programs supporting veterans, special needs adults, and child welfare.
Here’s more about the founding family members:
Robert H. “Bob” Patton, grandson of the famed General George S. Patton Jr., serves as Green Meadows CEO. Patton brings rich, diverse experience to his CEO role, working as a Capitol Hill reporter, a commercial fisherman, and a real estate developer before launching his career as an author with the publication of his family memoir, The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family in 1994. Since then, he has published three novels and two histories.
Bob is an advisor to his brother Ben’s Patton Veterans Project. He co-founded the Fairfield County Youth Football League in Connecticut in 2003 and spearheaded a $1.2 million project to build multi-use turf athletic fields for youth sports programs in Darien, CT in 2008. He graduated from Brown University and holds a Master’s degree from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.
Robert “Rob” Patton, Bob’s son, serves as Green Meadows Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). He has held senior leadership positions at several digital and traditional marketing firms. His clients have ranged from small enterprises to Fortune 100 companies, driving revenues exceeding $450 million annually. Rob graduated from Bates College.
Chris Zawacki, Bob’s stepson, assumed the Chief Operating Officer (COO) role at Green Meadows after leaving Netology, where he was a Principal and delivered advanced managed technology services and support for businesses.
Chris has spent more than 20 years providing technology solutions and data center hosting services for the small and middle market sector. He grew up in the tech space in the mid to late 90s in San Francisco during the dot com boom, where he focused on building mechanisms and processes to deliver enterprise-grade customer service to small businesses and the middle market. He also oversaw all business development efforts and worked directly to support revenue growth efforts. Chris founded his first venture in 2006 and completed its sale in April 2011. He graduated with honors from Boston College.
Tom Zawacki is a financial advisor to Green Meadows and is an accomplished business leader, mentor, and innovator with a track record of building successful companies. Brother to Green Meadows COO Chris Zawacki and stepson to CEO Bob Patton, Tom is Chief Digital Officer at Infogroup. He formerly was Senior VP of Corporate Strategy & Innovation at Rocket Fuel Inc., where he specialized in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. He came to Rocket Fuel as part of the executive management team at [x+1], a marketing technology company acquired by Rocket Fuel in 2014 for $230 million.
Tom has launched several technology and media start-up companies, including Lemonade, the first social commerce company enabling e-commerce inside of Facebook. Lemonade was privately acquired in 2011. He also spent 12 years building Modem Media, the Internet industry’s first digital advertising agency. Modem Media had a successful IPO in 1999 and was acquired for $200 million. Tom graduated from Princeton University.
Joanne Patton, the family matriarch and Bob’s mother, has made her home in Hamilton, Massachusetts ever since her late husband, Major General George S. Patton IV, retired to Green Meadows Farm in 1980. At first hesitant about the family’s cannabis venture, her research into the benefits that cannabis offers to veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain has made her a passionate advocate for the new Green Meadows Farm and its mission.
Joanne has a lifetime’s experience in charitable community engagement. Seeing the necessity of additional services for people living with developmental disabilities as she cared for her special- needs son, George, she co-founded Special Friends, a program providing social opportunities for disabled young people. For nine years, she was Vice President of Ready, Willing…Enable!, the local cable TV program that showcased the newest advances in assistive technology and quality of life issues for the disabled.
Joanne served for many years on the Board of the North Shore Music Theater and was named its first Trustee Emerita. Her extensive list of causes includes the Red Cross, where she was named an Enduring Hero in 2003, the North Shore Association for Volunteerism, Operation Troop Support, and St. John’s Church in Beverly Farms.
She has been a Trustee of her alma mater, Sweet Briar College, and the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, and was on the Board of Fellows at Norwich University. She is the mother of five, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of six.
Benjamin Patton, Bob’s brother, founded Patton Veterans Project: I WAS THERE Films in 2011 after discovering the impact of the film workshop model on teenagers. He went on to oversee hundreds of workshops over the past eight years. He also spearheaded a groundbreaking, three-year study to demonstrate the efficacy of the workshop on veterans with post-traumatic stress.
In 2020, Ben shifted from executive director to Vice Chairman of PVP and recently co-founded Green Screen Media, a canna-friendly entertainment startup. The youngest grandson of WWII’s General George S. Patton Jr., Ben published Growing Up Patton: Reflections on Heroes, History and Family Wisdom (Berkley-Caliber, 2012). He has a MA in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University-Teachers College and a BA from Georgetown University.
Helen Patton, Bob’s sister, heads up the Patton Foundation, which aids returning troops and veterans in need. She also manages the Patton Stiftung Sustainable Trust to uphold the memory of the WWII generation of veterans.
Like her brothers, Helen champions military history, producing documentaries about General John “Black Jack” Pershing and about the historical struggles of post-deployment combat soldiers. She is also a patron of the 101st Airborne Museum in Bastogne, Belgium.