Hemp was revered, cultivated, and utilised for such things as food, cordage, paper, canvas, textiles, paints, fuel and medicine around the world for thousands of years.
The US introduced restrictions on hemp agriculture in 1937 after lobbying from the oil industry, which was producing synthetic by-products, such as nylon and plastics. as a consequence the hemp industry experienced a sharp downturn.
Countries around the world are now turning to hemp to revive the ancient knowledge about the properties of hemp, as a sustainable, regenerative, carbon-storing plant.
Hemp may not be the complete answer to all the current environmental, economic or social challenges. However, revitalising and developing hemp industries can contribute to implementing positive change.
The primary components of industrial hemp are Seed, Fibre and Hurd
Seed and Oil
Considered one of the ‘super foods’, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil offer many benefits, in addition to its nutritional properties.
Hemp seeds contain a high percentage of superior vegetarian based protein, all 20 amino acids and the perfect balance of essential fatty acids–Omega 3, 6 and 9, needed for optimal health.
Other potential markets and uses for hemp seed and oil include:
* eco paints
* printing inks
* eco plastics
* skin/body care products
* foods such as protein powder and cereals
* hemp milk
* salad oil
* EFA supplement
* animal feed
Hemp fibre offers sustainable alternatives to major industries which currently rely on non-renewable, finite resources.
Modern uses for bast (long, strong, outer fibres) and hurd (soft inner fibre) include:
* fibre board
* animal bedding
* and much more
Exciting areas of growth globally also include the use of hemp fibre in the automotive industry.Hemp car parts (such as interior door panels) can effectively replace heavier and less-safe fibreglass composites.
The desire for ecological alternatives in the paper industry is a growth area. Hemp can be used for high quality printer paper, packaging materials and eco-conscious business materials for promotion.
Now that the cultivation of industrial hemp is allowed in SA, it is possible to ‘grow’ a home.
1 hectare of hemp can provide enough raw materials to build a 135m2 home.
Hemp housing using a hemp-lime material offers benefits including:
* fire resistance
* a home that breathes, reduces airborne toxins and mould
* resistance to rats and mice
* aesthetically pleasing–no need to render or plaster
* high thermal insulation properties
* carbon neutral building: hemp will sequestre around 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare
For more information on building with hemp in Australia