By Chef Centehua
The hemp plant has been cultivated for millennia, its use dating back to the Neolithic Age in China, Asia, the Middle East, and eventually Western Europe. It’s known to be one of the first domesticated crops, mainly for the strength of its fiber, which is effective for ropes, clothing, shoes and a form of paper. There are over 2,000 varieties of cannabis plants, most of them containing very low grade THC (the chemical compound in marijuana). This environmentally friendly, highly sustainable and nutrient rich plant is illegal to grow in the U.S. even though hemp plants approved for fiber, fuel and food don’t have enough THC to cause physical or psychological effects. The reason for its illegal status is corporate interest: hemp can be used for bio-fuel, fiber, paper, biodegradable plastic, building material, food, body care products; and it’s one of the fastest growing crops known, requiring little to no pesticides or herbicides.
Hemp could single-handedly fix many of the environmental/economic problems we have today. China is the leading producer of hemp goods, and more hemp is exported to the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, thus increasing our carbon footprint. Still, the U.S. government refuses to acknowledge the difference between industrial hemp and its high THC varieties commonly referred to as marijuana. Since hemp is legal in Canada, China, France, North Africa, Korea, Japan, Spain and Ireland, perhaps soon we’ll catch on and reinvigorate our own hemp production here on U.S. soil, just as we did until the 1930’s. Hemp cultivation was greatly responsible for our economy and used extensively during World War II. Uniforms, ropes, flags, even Bibles, not to mention the Declaration of Independence, were all made from hemp. There was even a movie called Hemp for Victory made in 1942. Hemp is one of the world’s most useful fibers and can also be used for building homes, even cars. In fact, Henry Ford built his first car entirely out of hemp. The possibilities are endless.
Nutrion is a very important attribute of this amazing plant. Hemp is high in essential fatty acids, protein, amino acids, fiber and vitamins. A handful of hemp seeds provides a great balance of omega 3’s, amino acids and protein comparable to that in milk, meat and soy. Hemp oil has a delicious nutty flavor, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent in salad dressings, and can be added as a supplement to smoothies.
Hempoline is bio-diesel made from the hemp oils and stalks. The production of hemp fuel, sadly, is minimal. The petroleum industry is still the leader in fuel, synthetic fibers, and a variety of “food” items; and it is responsible for great environmental and human suffering across the world. When we collectively begin to understand the potential for hemp use, it will be revolutionary. We should consider giving trees a break and grow hemp instead. We are living in crucial times, when life on earth is threatened by the misuse of natural resources. It is of outmost importance to understand the power we have individually and as a collective. We can demand change; it is essential for our survival and for the quality of life of the entire living planet.
Hemp= health and sustainability= Love