Hemp as a super crop

Hemp can be considered a ‘super-crop’ that has been grown worldwide for at least 12,000 years. It is one of the most prolific, versatile and powerful bio-tools available to humanity to meet the enormous challenges of sustainability, climate change, environmental degradation and the destruction of eco-systems.

There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp. It produces food, fibre, fuel and has unique medicinal properties. One hectare of hemp can produce as much usable fibre as four hectares of trees, or two hectares of cotton. It is the world’s most versatile natural product, potentially replacing wood, cotton, and petroleum products, including plastics.

Hemp grows in a short, flexible, summer wind of the annual crop cycle and grows in diverse climates and soil types. It does not require pesticides or herbicides, as it grows tightly spaced, out-growing and blocking out weeds. This leaves a weed-free field for follow on crops while simultaneously conditioning and securing topsoil.

It was considered the ‘billion dollar crop’ by Popular Mechanics Magazine in 1937 before the USA began its campaign to suppress the hemp industry. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. In 1942 when US sources of “Manila hemp,” (a genus of the banana plant), were cut off by the Japanese in WWII, the US Army and US Department of Agriculture promoted the “Hemp for Victory” campaign to grow hemp in the US.

 

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