The Hemp Industries Association, alongside thousands of grassroots organizers and supporters around the country, have launched the 9th annual Hemp History Week today, with a call to action for eco-minded consumers, farmers, entrepreneurs, health advocates and legislators to join together in the movement to lift the federal prohibition on commercial cultivation of industrial hemp. This Hemp History Week June 4 – 10, 2018, will witness hundreds of events taking place across the nation, to raise awareness about the benefits of hemp, highlight sustainable hemp products and U.S. hemp businesses, and catalyze pressure on Congress to pass the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. For more information about Hemp History Week, and to find an event near you, visit: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.
This year, Hemp History Week focuses on the theme Deep Roots, a metaphor that speaks doubly to the deeply rooted history of hemp farming in the U.S. and its role in shaping the early American agricultural and industrial economy; as well as the deep roots hemp extends into the soil, which make hemp a valuable, versatile crop in regenerative organic farming models that rely on deep taproot crops to prevent soil erosion, and convey nutrients and minerals between crop rotations. To learn more about the regenerative organic agricultural benefits of hemp, watch the 2018 Hemp History Week campaign video, Deep Roots, which shares the story of The Rodale Institute’s research on organic hemp cultivation, now in its second year of study: https://youtu.be/wCcTYPQLk8s.
“Farmers and entrepreneurs are so eager to begin producing hemp at full commercial scale, to finally be able to supply with U.S. grown hemp the largest market for hemp in the world—that of the U.S.!” said Colleen Keahey Lanier, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “This Hemp History Week we come together in support of hemp farming, in support of giving our farmers a new valuable crop, in support of healthy American made products, and in support of a more sustainable future.”
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/HIAhemppressreleases/6097992.
In the effort to pressure Congress to pass the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, Hemp History Week in conjunction with Vote Hemp, will hold a “Take Action!” petition drive, to encourage voters to contact their representatives to support lifting the prohibition on hemp farming. To learn more, and to join the movement, visit: https://actnow.io/w6haydP.
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.
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.