What’s New in the World of Hemp?


modern-uses-for-hemp

Greetings!

Much has been going on lately, both in my world and in the world of hemp!

Let’s start with my world. My book transcript is finished, now I am editor shopping and working on a book cover, as well as a cover for a spoken word CD I will be creating to go with the book…and one other creative project I may add to the package! Exciting times!!

There has been so much news about hemp lately, I almost don’t know where to start!

It is exciting to see daily, weekly, and monthly progress in education and legalization of hemp. Having said that, below, in outline style, is a run-down of what is happening nationally:

1) The call for hemp homes is getting stronger! Hemp Industries Association is offering a 3-day hands on course for building homes from hemcrete. Hemcrete is strong, versatile, and a high performance alternative to traditional building materials. Homes made with hemcrete leave a negative carbon footprint. The class is in September, so there is still time to check it out! You can find the information HERE.

2) Virginia is currently drafting a hemp farming act; when I hear more about the details I’ll share them here!

3) Next year, California may finally be planting hemp seed in research fields. Last year the bill passed, but it as been slow to get the action going. Again, as more details become available I’ll be writing and keeping you up to date!

4) GREAT NEWS FOR WASHINGTON STATE! First of all, I’m sure most of you know that recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Washington State. I do believe that this helped get the door open for industrial hemp farming. Currently there is pending legislation to allow hemp farming. Washington State has much farmland, and some of that isn’t even being used. How great it would be to see that land utilized for a crop that can feed, heal, house, and clothe us, fuel our cars, and much, much more! Whatcom county soil (which is where I live!!!) will be tested, and hopefully some test plots planted here. In my honest opinion, this is an excellent choice – we are, after all, the berry capital of the world (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries) with our wonderful soils, as well as producers of corn, potatoes, and other crops. You can see the news clip from NBC News HERE.

5) “On May 12, Murray State University made history by becoming the first entity of any type in the nation to legally place industrial hemp seeds in the ground as part of a statewide trial.” What great news to see that hemp is legally planted in U.S. soil! http://murrayledger.com/news/growing-like-a-weed-msu-industrial-hemp-crop-thriving-in/article_2f1fb430-fe7f-11e3-bec4-0019bb2963f4.html

6) Tennessee is jumping in: “The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules for hemp farming include plenty of red tape.

Under the proposal, farers would have to obtain a $500 license, be subjected to random testing of THC levels (to ensure trace amounts compared to marijuana) and provide GPS coordinates for their fields, Nashville Public Radio reports.

State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) told the station that strict rules were necessary to open Tennessee’s’ doors to industrial hemp, but that he hopes there will be fewer hoops to jump through in the future. Farmers wishing to grow hemp can submit applications to the state later this year to begin growing in 2015.” http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/morning_call/2014/06/stateagriculture-department-proposes-many-hoops.html

7) And here comes Nebraska! “The first federal law mentioning hemp came in 1937. Congress discouraged the high THC varieties of cannabis, like marijuana, while exempting farmers who grew the crop for industrial uses like fiber and seed. It enjoyed a short resurgence during World War II, when the federal government actually promoted the crop, petering off in the 1950s. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 put the current kibosh on the plant. It required farmers apply for a federal permit before growing it. No commercial permits have been granted since then.

But in a historic move, the 2014 farm bill allowed hemp cultivation in areas where state laws have legalized the crop.” http://netnebraska.org/article/news/921662/now-appearing-hemp-first-time-decades

 

As you can see, the movement toward hemp farming, cultivation, and use is increasing as populations are learning about the excellent uses and versatility of hemp (not to mention a huge boost to the economy!). Can you feel the momentum? I can!

Kentucky, California, and Colorado are among states that have welcomed its return. Nebraska recently passed a law opening the door for farmers to grow hemp. Currently 12 states have legislation on the books that would allow cultivation of hemp as laid out in the recent Farm Bill.

Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

Hemp Habitats – Homes of the Future?


Hemp homes, while not mainstream yet, are the cutting edge of green building and living. Hemp, one of the strongest and most durable fibers on the planet, is being used for foundations, walls, roofing, insulation, and indoor textiles and installations.

Hemcrete is made with hemp hurds  and lime, and is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than concrete. It is used for foundations and wall structures, and is a carbon-negative substitute for traditional concrete.

Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council and demand for carbon neutral and/or zero-footprint buildings is at an all-time high.” (Inhabitat.com)

Hempboard is a fiber board made with hemp hurds. It can be used for walls, cabinetry, doors, shelves, furniture, and flooring.

Hemp insulation comes in many forms – mat and roll, spun and loosely compacted hemp fiber insulation, and hemcrete.

Hemp roof tiles can come in several shapes and sizes.

In all of the above applications, hemp is the perfect choice  because it is:

Water resistant

Insect resistant

Mold resistant

Rodent repellent

In some applications, the products are fire-resistant and,

In all applications the hemp is an excellent insulator and of course, helps to keep the air in the home clean.

Any why, do you ask, are hemp homes carbon negative? The growing and harvesting of the hemp plants lock up a larger amount of carbon dioxide (cleaning the air and environment)  than the lime binder used in the hemcrete production.

Farming hemp in the U.S. and building more hemp structures would be valuable – both economically AND environmentally.

Hemp – The Answer To The Global Food Crisis?


There are indications (and there have been for a while) that we are entering a stage where food will be in short supply in some regions of our world, and in other areas it will be in abundance, but just too expensive to buy.

Right now our grocery stores are filled with food, but most of it is packaged, processed, chemical-laden junk. Yes, some of it is cheap, but it isn’t ‘food’, it’s simply packages of unhealthy empty calories.  Good nutrition is of utmost importance, yet many are finding it difficult to find nutritious food that they can afford.

I’ve seen longer and longer lines at the food banks, but most of that is canned, packaged, unhealthy food, with only a fraction being healthy fruits and vegetables and fresh meat.

There are 2 terms we to look at here : world hunger (lack of food) and malnutrition (lack of nutritional elements needed for good health).

There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most important is protein-energy malnutrition–the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed.  The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories.  Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and  development and maintenance of muscles.(www.worldhunger.org)

Childhood malnutrition alone affects approximately 19,000,000 children worldwide. And this includes the United States. Children and families in our own country are HUNGRY.

There are many factors that contribute to the global food crisis, here are a few:

Changing weather patterns, drought

Rising food prices – wheat, soybeans, orange juice and corn prices are getting higher and higher

Depleted water tables

Higher cost of oil – the higher the oil cost, the higher the food prices (transportation, farm equipment, delivery)

Let’s look at corn, for example. The price of corn has doubled since last year. 40% of the US corn crop is consumed by the heavily subsidised biofuel industry, despite the presence of viable non-food materials such as hemp. (opendemocracy.net)

Corn- ethanol subsidies in the US….leads to farmers switching to corn production and convertion away from food and toward fuel production, which has resulted in more expensive grain prices around the world.  This is having a huge impact on both poor and rich world farmers, and consumers around the world.

1.  By Washington giving subsidies for ethanol, they are creating incentives for farmers to shift labor away from producing food, and toward making fuel. 

2.  And, they are giving farmers of other crops the incentive to switch production to corn (for fuel)

3.  this has the perverse effect of driving up food prices (less supply vs. demand).  Note:  corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup (in almost all foods), and is a key feedstock for animals, so it will cost more for steak, pork, etc.   Ethanol production has driven up the prices of corn-fed livestock, such as beef, chicken and dairy products, and products made from corn, such as cereals. As a result of higher demand for corn, other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat, have risen dramatically. The fact that the U.S. is the world’s largest grain producer and exporter means that the ethanol-induced higher grain prices will have a worldwide impact on food prices. (kookyplan.pbworks.com)

Another note about corn – Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients. (truefoodnow.org)

Now, let’s look at hemp. Hemp can be grown for food AND fuel. It grows even in poor soil – in fact, it ENRICHES the soil that it is grown in. Hemp can be used as feedstock as well.  Farming hemp can be dual-purpose – as a cash crop AND as fuel and food for the farmers themselves and their livestock.

As far as a nutritional aspect, protein malnutrition would not even be a problem with hemp. Hemp has edestin protein, the protein closest to human globulin, so it is easily digestible. Only a few tablespoons a day would fill dietary protein needs. In addition, hemp has Omega fatty acids needed for optimum health, as well as chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.

Hemp does not need fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. It is clean, natural, healthy, nutritious FOOD!

I have personally found that when I eat hemp during the day with plenty of fruit and vegetables, I need no other foods, and I am not hungry, or am I craving the garbage (sugar, sweets, salty snacks). My body feels clean, energized, and healthy (as well as my mind).  Yes, hempseeds (because they are imported) can be a little expensive. But I SAVE money on groceries when I eat hemp, because it is so nutrient dense. Aside from purchasing fruits and veggies, my body really doesn’t NEED anything else. I eat much less, yet my hunger is satisfied.

Our farmers want to grow hemp. Imagine with me, if you will, a world that is NOT hungry or malnourished; imagine a world that is healthy and getting proper nutrition, all due to one little plant – HEMP.

Hemp – A Cash Crop For Medicine, Food, And Shelter


The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop. (You can see the article here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/popmech1.htm)

Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.

What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS  a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!

Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.

Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.

Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.

Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are an excellent nutrition source, with the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, easily digestible proteins, and other nutrients needed for optimum health.

Hemp fuel is safe and clean.

Hemp used in construction means cleaner, stronger structures – and structures made from hemp are carbon neutral; in some cases they are carbon negative.

Hemp fabric and clothing are becoming more popular; hemp foods are found in health food stores, food co-ops, and some grocery stores.

Hemp plastics and automobile components are becoming more popular as well.

Most of the hemp imported into the U.S. comes from Canada and China. New figures show that the U.S. spends more than $300,000,000 per year on hemp products – both finished products and raw hemp.

In Kentucky, lawmakers are promoting hemp as a cash crop.

Willie Nelson, in the following video, explains why hemp farming should be restored to the U.S.

The hemp market is GLOBAL. Imagine if the U.S. could put farmers to work, growing cash crops of hemp, and having the ability to be a SUPPLIER of hemp world-wide. It truly WOULD be a billion dollar crop.

Why Oil Is One Of The Reasons For Our Economic Decline, And Why Hemp May Be The Remedy


We are in an economic crisis. But don’t panic, there are always good things that come out of crises. It’s all a matter of being aware, being ready, and being educated.

Our economy, put simply, really sucks right now. But the United States is not alone. Other countries are facing the same pain. There are several factors that have had a hand in the decline.

Here is a simplified example:

A country has good currency and a strong economy. It sees a population growth and economic growth. More programs are implemented (public works, healthcare, public housing assistance, welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Workman’s Comp., etc.), aiding in influence in economic issues and politics…and then the money and influence gets channeled into a huge military fund/presence. The military is then utilized, and enormous expenditures occur (funding wars). This transfer of money, or wealth, is the cause of economic pain for most of the population, and results in inflation and the declining value of the dollar.

(image from rickety.us)

Here are the main reasons for our economic state today:

1. Housing Bubble

2. Record amounts of debt

3. Oil

If you look at history about 100 years ago, when the big oil boom started, that is when the economy surged and the population started seeing an increase. And, when you think about it, almost everything you have is the result of oil. Clothing, food, homes, vehicles, transportation, electronics, household goods – all are/were dependent on oil, either in the manufacturing of those goods or the transportation used in getting those goods to you.

The United States uses 25% of the world’s daily oil supply, and imports 70% of that. (forestecologynetwork.org)

Oil is not a renewable resource, and it is a DECLINING resource.  Easy, cheap oil is on the decline. Countries are seeing a decline in oil extraction, and there is a rush to find either new oil fields or alternate sources of energy. Again, at this point, it is the EASY, CHEAP oil that is on the decline.

Global oil production is declining at 8-10% per  year. And what does this mean? Higher prices. For EVERYTHING.

Now, this is not the end of the world as we know it. There IS a solution, and that solution is HEMP.

Hemp does everything that petroleum does, AND BETTER!

Extracting fossil fuels are harmful to the environment and to human health. Petroleum extracting and processing is a chemical-intensive, expensive process.  Hemp oil for fuel is simply a matter of growing, harvesting, and processing.

Petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable. Hemp-based plastics are recyclable and biodegradable.

Fuel for transportation can be replaced with hemp-based biofuels. Hemp fuel is clean, efficient, and…if it spills it does not harm the environment, it is more like a fertilizer.

Everything, EVERYTHING, that petroleum does, hemp does. So, why are we feeling this pain from fossil fuels?

Why are we not allowing our farmers to grow hemp?  Well, we know the reasons – big oil, pharma, timber, and chemical companies do not want to lose their investment dollars; the military – using OUR dollars to fund wars, some of which have to do with…yes, you guessed it…OIL.

What would happen if in the next few years we, in the U.S., farmed hemp on a large scale? We would have no more independence on foreign oil, we certainly wouldn’t need so much money spent on the military, we would have a clean, safe alternative, and every single factor in our lives when it comes to food, clothing, health, transportation, housing, etc. – it would all be thanks to HEMP. Our economy would start to heal. The government wouldn’t need to print new money, causing more debt (which, by the way, is NOT the answer to reviving a sucky economy).

So, what do we do now? We keep speaking, we keep educating, we work toward legalizing industrial hemp farming in the U.S. We put our energy into doing everything we can to rid ourselves of dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuels. Will this happen overnight? No. Of course not. But we can begin taking steps NOW to take us in that direction.

Growing Hemp – An Act Of Social Responsibility


Social responsibility is a way of acting that has a positive, ethical result or impact on society.

Throughout history, industrial hemp has had nothing but a positive impact. It is one of the most nutritionally complete food plants, it’s nutritious properties are medicinal, it is used in construction, textiles, and plastics. It is an energy source. During its growing season hemp also heals and nourishes the soil, as well as cleans the air.

The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. The first Levi Strauss jeans were made from hemp. The first Betsy Ross flag was made of hemp fabric. The first Bibles were made from hemp. Hemp was used as legal tender – one could pay their taxes with hemp. Our first presidents grew hemp. Henry Ford grew hemp, processed hemp fuel, and built a hemp car. During WWII farmers were required to grow hemp to aid in the war effort.

Hemp was desirable because of its long, strong fibers; it needed little to no fertilization or pesticide; it was clean food and clean energy.

All of that changed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and the resulting prohibition of hemp farming without proper permits (which have been impossible to get from the DEA). Hemp was banned because it threatened the investments of oil, timber, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies. Using products that were less healthy for the environment and human health became the norm.

This is where social IRRESPONSIBILITY comes into play.

Fossil fuels – fossil fuels replaced hemp fuel and other biomass. Fossil fuels are dirtier, create more pollution, are non-renewable, and are toxic. The process of extracting and processing fossil fuels is chemical-intensive and causes large amounts of pollution. Look at fracking (hydraulic fracturing,  the process for extracting natural gas) – fracking is the process of extracting natural gas by pumping fracking chemicals into the ground. These chemicals have shown up in drinking water and soil, potentially harming the health of those who are in the vicinity of the fracking projects.

Plastics – plastics made from fossil fuel products are NOT biodegradable. They are full of chemicals that harm health and body. Plastic made from hemp IS biodegradable and recyclable.

Timber – now, I am not saying cutting forests is ALL bad, (we do need wood for buildings and furniture) but I am saying that some products made from wood can be made from hemp – cardboard, paper products, fiberboard for construction, etc. Forests take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns it into oxygen. Massive deforestation reduces the cleaning of the air, and also affects animal habitats and causes erosion problems.

Pharmaceuticals – I am not against chemical medication as a whole, there are some instances where medication is needed to save a life or to bring someone’s health back into balance. However, it has become the norm to treat illness and disease with pills and chemicals instead of looking at the CAUSE. Proper nutrition has a big hand in health. So does eating hemp. Hemp treats, cures, slows down the incidence, and prevents many diseases and conditions, and it does so in a healthy way. There are many chemical medications that are extremely dangerous and some of them do more harm than good. We’ve become a pill-popping society, when we should be a hemp-eating, nutrition-conscious society.

Chemicals – hemp rope was replaced with nylon rope. Why was hemp rope desirable? It’s long, strong fibers and UV resistance made it perfect in that it did not break down easily. Natural fabrics were replaced with nylon and polyester, rayon, and orlon – all of which are petrochemical based. (I am not saying that you have to rush out and buy a new wardrobe, but I am saying that we need to be conscious of what we wear and where the fibers come from).

In all of the above products – chemicals, fossil fuels, timber, pharmaceuticals – we see that each one of them in some way does more harm than good. THAT is socially irresponsible.

Allowing farmers to grow hemp, and allowing hemp to take its rightful place BACK in our economy is the socially and economically responsible thing to do.