WASHINGTON — As hemp advocates and organizers prepare for the 9th annual Hemp History Week to be held June 4-10, 2018, hemp supporters, farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers celebrate Earth Day with focus on the role hemp farming has played in the history of American agriculture, and the exciting opportunities hemp farming and hemp products provide consumers for a more sustainable, regenerative future. As people around the world celebrate the environmental movement this Earth Day, hemp advocates will raise awareness about the soil benefits, green technologies and innovative product applications, human health benefits, and regenerative agriculture potential of this versatile crop, and continue to grow grassroots engagement in the effort to legalize hemp farming in the U.S.
“For me, every day is Earth Day. From the moment I stroll down to milk the goats to the solar-powered laptop on which this message is sent, I’m trying to take little steps to Walk the Walk necessary for humanity to survive at this critical stage,” said Doug Fine, hemp farmer, bestselling author and Hemp History Week campaign endorser. “It starts with baby steps and all of us have a ways to go. But amidst that conscious effort, the single most tangible step any of us can take is to support hemp cultivation (or better yet, cultivate this plant ourselves), and support independent regenerative farmers who produce products from hemp and other bio-materials. Also it’s super fun to have your hands in the dirt,” he continued.
“Let’s celebrate Earth Day this year as a true catalyst for change. Each of us plays an important role as we create a sustainable future for generations to come, and hemp is an important part of that sustainable future. I encourage you to cherish each day in the beauty of Mother Earth,” said Franny Tacy, North Carolina hemp farmer.
Hemp for Sustainable Agriculture
Hemp is a renewable resource that can help reduce market dependency on wood, oil, and other non-sustainable industrial agriculture practices, thereby contributing to environmentally responsible food and fiber production, forest conservation, reduction in agriculture pesticide use, and soil remediation. As one of the fastest growing plants, hemp has significant potential to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and lock it in the soil through regenerative agricultural techniques such as no-till cover cropping and biomass composting, mitigating the rising rate of CO2 levels responsible for climate change. Furthermore, pollinators thrive on the proliferous pollen created by hemp plants.
Innovative Hemp Technology
Advancements in hemp research and manufacturing demonstrate the remarkable versatility and product-potential for hemp. Hemp bast fiber has shown promising potential to replace graphene in supercapacitor batteries, which could then be used to power electric cars and handheld electric devices and tools. Hemp fiber can also be used to create environmentally friendly packaging materials, and hard bio-plastics for use in everything from airplanes to car parts. Hemp homes are also on the rise, as hempcrete has many advantages to non-sustainable materials, like lumber and concrete. Hempcrete is energy-efficient, non-toxic, resistant to mold, insects and fire, and is much more sustainable and renewable.
“Deep Roots” Video Documents Rodale Institute Hemp Research
To help inform Americans about the agricultural sustainability of industrial hemp, the Hemp History Week campaign has released a new short video, Deep Roots, titled after the 9th annual campaign’s educational theme. Filmed at the Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania, Deep Rootsdocuments the research of Rodale Institute agronomists on cultivating hemp within a regenerative organic no-till agriculture model. Specifically, the video presents the researchers’ insight on hemp’s role in sustainable agriculture, soil health, mitigating climate change, and incorporating hemp into crop rotations and weed management methods. An interview with Rodale Institute farm manager Ross Duffield emphasizes how industrial hemp could play a key role in rejuvenating the soil and economic health of American farmlands, and research technician Tara Caton discusses the attraction pollinators demonstrate toward hemp. To view the new video for the 9th annual campaign, visit: https://youtu.be/wCcTYPQLk8s.
Hemp in Current Events
On April 12, 2018, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the introduction of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. If passed, this bill would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances. With industrial hemp legalized at the federal level, U.S. farmers would have the right to grow hemp commercially. Furthermore, if passed, the Hemp Farming Act would positively impact the U.S. hemp industry in the following ways: 1) Improve cooperation with regulatory bodies such as the USDA and FDA; 2) Protect interstate commerce of U.S.-grown and manufactured hemp products; 3) Normalize crop insurance, financing, and other business proceedings for hemp companies; 4) Advance research opportunities by providing access to federal research grants; 5) Ensure access to public water rights for hemp farmers; and 6) Protect the variety of legal hemp products per a “Whole Plant” definition of hemp. For more information about the Hemp Farming Act, please visit:https://thehia.org/
Health Benefits of Hemp
Among the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry, hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. The natural products industry has witnessed robust growth in sales of cannabidiol or CBD products, as consumers become increasingly aware of the health benefits of CBD hemp extracts. An excellent source of dietary fiber, hemp seed is also a complete protein—meaning it contains all ten essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body. Hemp seed, milk, ice cream, oil, cereals and snacks, as well as hemp protein powder, and CBD hemp extracts are increasingly popular and widely available at conventional and natural grocers everywhere, as consumers become turned on to the nourishing health benefits of hemp nutrition.
Hemp History Week is endorsed by celebrities and high-profile wellness experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Alicia Silverstone, Phil Lempert, Ashley Koff R.D., Brendan Brazier, Elizabeth Kucinich, Ziggy Marley, Alexandra Jamieson, Jason Mraz, Dar Williams, Michael Franti, John Salley, Doug Fine, and Grammy award-winning band Ozomatli.
Over 250 grassroots events will take place nationwide, including a restaurant program, film screenings, community outreach at farmers’ markets, state lobbying days, a letter writing campaign, spring plantings, and other exciting engagement opportunities. Specific details for these Hemp History Week events will be listed on the campaign website beginning in early April.
United in the Effort to Legalize Hemp Farming
Now in its ninth year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of the leading natural product brands known for manufacturing the highest quality hemp products. These HIA members and sponsor brands include Bluebird Botanicals, Dr. Bronner’s, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Organic, Nutiva, Pacific Foods, and Plus+ CBD Oil.
–Hemp Industries Association (HIA)
and Vote Hemp
For more articles concerning industrial hemp, click here.