Photo: Hemp seeds in a bowl and spoon

by Alison Riggs

June 3rd - 9th is Hemp History Week, a public education campaign to raise awareness about the environmental sustainability, health benefits, regenerative agriculture potential, and new technological applications of industrial hemp.

In recognition of the wonders of the hemp plant and to celebrate the exciting growth of the hemp market, we wanted to share the following fascinating information from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA).  HIA is a 501(c)(6), membership-based, non-profit organization that works to advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of members, the public, and the planet. Check out HIA’s website for more information.

Hemp is a (non-psychoactive) variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of sustainable commercial products including paper, textiles, clothing, food, nutraceuticals, bio-degradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, and animal feed.

Hemp is a rich fiber woven throughout American history. From ship rigging and canvas covered wagons to nutrient-dense seed oil and protein, our history wouldn't be the same without hemp. It has been grown in the U.S. since the first European settlers arrived in the early 1600’s, and developed into a staple crop. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, and that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams all grew their own hemp?

Additionally, hemp is incredibly good for you! Its seed is delicious and nutritious, high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and highly digestible protein. Containing super omegas Stearidonic Acid (SDA), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), fiber, various minerals, and all nine Essential Amino Acids, hemp is packed with nutrients. Check out these hemp recipes to add more hemp to your diet!

Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain:

  • 11g vegan protein
  • 7.5g omega-6
  • 3.0g omega-3
  • No gluten
  • No known allergens

The great news for our environment is that hemp can be grown without use of any petrochemicals, and is a sustainable alternative to potentially thousands of every-day products. It can also be used to clean soil and water, and it is an important rotation crop for farmers. This makes it an excellent choice to incorporate in models of regenerative agriculture.

Here are a few last amazing hemp facts for you:

  • Hemp can help heal the soil. It can thrive in dry or damaged soils, mitigate erosion and remove heavy metals and toxins.
  • ​Trees mature in 50 to 100 years, while hemp matures in as few as 100 days.  Hemp’s high cellulose content makes it an excellent alternative to wood pulp for paper.
  • We all recognize that we have a worldwide plastic pollution problem, right? Hemp plastic is non-toxic and biodegradable and it is also a lot stronger than conventional plastic​!

​Visit any of our Down to Earth Organic & Natural stores to browse a large assortment of hemp products during Hemp History Week or anytime!