WHY DO WE LOVE
Nutritious, ecological and versatile.
The hemp plant is one of the most nutritious, regenerative and versatile plants on the planet. With 50,000 known uses and counting, we’re still discovering more! Have a look at our blog to find out more hempformation.
Hemp is a food, medicine, cosmetic, material, cleaning product, textile, construction material and biodegradable plastic. It’s even used as a clean renewable energy source as a biofuel and battery. Making hemp a green replacement for countless current destructive or extractive industries. No other plant on earth can do so much.
Yes, it really is a miracle plant! That’s why we are passionate about the campaign for cultivation to utilise the non-psychoactive strain of the Cannabis plant, known as hemp! Still today, hemp is largely restricted and often trapped in red tape.
Growing fields of this plant is particularly special for our land, which has been terribly degraded. Soil specialists believe there are only 15 years left of good topsoil to grow our food in, as it takes a while to rebuild soils. Hemp is a sign of hope. Hemp locks in far more carbon than trees and replenishes the soil organic matter as it grows with its long tap root, suppressing unwanted weeds naturally without the use of harmful chemicals. In all, cultivating hemp makes better soils. Hemp is even be used to detoxify poisoned land, as hemp draws up the toxins and continues to seed future crops.
Our not-for-profit worker co-operative believes in the power of hemp-based alternatives to solve the challenges we are all facing, including health issues, ecological crisis and social instability
Are hemp and Cannabis the same thing?
It’s all really Cannabis, it’s just been made to be rather confusing. Cannabis comes from the botanical family of Cannabaceae, shared with genome Humulus which is largely cultivated for the species lupulus ‘hops’ famous for its bitter flavours and sleepy beers. Cannabis also has many species, thousands even, the most common being Cannabis sativa. You may notice in the ingredients list of our products this strain being mentioned.
Cannabis sativa is the most common type of strain. In fact, the strains of Cannabis have been so mixed up and travelled the world since the beginning of time, that strains have just found their names. Hemp today classically refers to strains which are more suited to field scale grows with plants are typically more robust and hardy often with less delicate compounds, also they grow tall for creating fibre and produce lots of hemp seeds for creating food. Hemp is also known as industrial hemp, as it’s used on industrial scales for lots of end uses.
Cannabis has proven to be one of the top five most powerful and complex plants on earth, along with cocoa and coffee. It’s incredibly nutrient dense. The entire Cannabis strains and varieties of plants contain 500 plus compounds. We are discovering more about each day as science slowly catches up with its range of health benefits.
Although, there is an important distinction between Cannabis and Cannabis Hemp in UK regulations, entirely dependent on the variation of the compound THC. All Cannabis strains contain the compounds CBD (the one which interacts with the Cannabinoid receptors in your body) and THC (the more mind-altering one), but in varying proportions. Hemp typically contains less THC, though high amounts of CBD.
To produce Hemp legally in the UK, a licence must be granted by the government’s Home Office. Cannabis Hemp plants must be grown with less than 0.2% THC to be applicable to that licence and its fee. Otherwise, there are expensive licences for high CBD and THC combined.
UK CBD products must contain less than 0.01% of the THC compound, so you won’t feel any psychoactive ‘high’ effects, though many countries allow more and are still seen as safe to consume.
So in fact it’s all just Cannabis. Some strains, known as hemp, are preferred when cultivating large fields for lots of uses, and typically contain less THC (the more photoactive compound). In this way, globally, hemp has been recognised to be a safe crop to cultivate.
Laws and regulations are changing as there is a lot of power in Cannabis.
Hemp as a food
The seeds are one of nature’s superfoods. Often referred to as the most nutritious seed on the planet! They are one of the best sources of complete plant-based protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, without any of the phytic acid in soya. So all the lovely nutrients can be absorbed by the body. The oil from hemp seeds is higher than fish oils in omegas 3, 6 & 9, in the perfect balance for the human body. Also known as ‘the golden ratio’ of, omegas. The oil is also high in vitamin E, making it wonderful for cosmetics and skin care. So it’s also an anti-ageing treat! The oil is also non-comedogenic, so won’t clog your pores. Great for oily or spot-prone skin.
High in fibre, the seed shell is also a rare nutritional source of vitamin D for when the sun isn’t shining. The combination of protein and fat that is provided by the seed make it an excellent replacement for meat or dairy products. Great for cutting down on animal protein for more plant-based and ecologically-friendly diets.
Hemp as a material
Did you know the word “canvas” is derived from “cannabis”?
Hemp was an abundant crop, and used to create strong sails and ropes on our ships! “Hempen” is old English word meaning “made from hemp” so you can see why Hempen is the perfect name for us! There was a time when many things around us would have been made from hemp!
The fibres of hemp are up to 25 times stronger than cotton. They require 10% of the water and no fertiliser, herbicide or pesticides. These fibres can be used to make textiles, composite materials such as panelling for vehicles and a variety of other products.
The inside of the stem is made up of a carbon-rich material known as ‘shiv’ or ‘hurds’. This substance can be used to make paper or can be mixed with lime and/or clay to form hempcrete, a wonderful, breathable building insulation material, that can be used to make ecological housing.
Hemp for construction
Hemp plants are extremely vigorous and can capture more carbon-rich biomass during a growing season than any other plant in a temperate climate. The opportunity to lock this biomass into high quality construction material presents a viable strategy for decarbonising the atmosphere, and mitigating some aspects of climate change.
At times, after taking the more nutritious parts, we have harvested straw from our fields. With help and often in partnership with other groups, created housing from it. Here is a project that we provided consultancy for in order to cultivate to build this home. What’s great about this build is that the hemp is inside and out!
We’ve got more grand plans to build – watch this space!
These are just a few reasons why we believe hemp is one sustainable powerhouse of an answer to the global crises of our time.
The emerging green economy
Hemp is an abundant renewable crop that is valuable and able to transform entire regions rapidly. Hemp is known as the new ‘green rush’. Hemp can be a health food, a medicine, used to create eco-constructions, bio-fuels, bio-plastics and natural fabrics, to name a few.
Hemp nurtures the soil rather than depletes it
Hemp decontaminates soil and water by absorbing contaminants, pollutants and toxins, restoring soil quality. Hemp’s long taproot significantly boosts the soil organic matter (SOM) and the carbon content in soil. Hemp’s taproot reaches deeper to find water, making it more drought resistant and reduces the exposure of sun and wind to the valuable topsoil, keeping the ground held together and full of life. This ensures food security through the building of healthy soils that are more resilient to droughts and floods.
Many crops degrade the soil quality, leading to lower yields. Hemp is a useful break crop in farming rotations. Hemp is a native seed, it requires few inputs, improves the soil structure providing better yields and ultimately is financially beneficial. Farmers need to feed the nation, we need healthy soils to achieve this.
One hectare of industrial hemp has been known to absorb 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. Averagely, hemp sequesters between 8 – 15 tonnes of carbon per hectare. Woodlands commonly record 2 – 6 tonnes. Hemp has been shown to be the most efficient annual plant for carbon sequestering.
Why is hemp so important?
Hempen is a response to destructive industries and inequitable social structures. We are reviving this ancient crop as a catalyst for wider change. Over the years, we have identified six key issues that we directly address.
With the average farmer being over 60 years old, there is a shortage of young farmers. Hemp offers an exciting entry and reason for young people to get into farming that is a positive environmental and social cause.
The largest unknown problem in the British farming industry is the high suicide rate of farmers. This is due to the amount of pressures they face from lack of government support, rising costs and unpredictable weather conditions. Hemp can help alleviate some of these challenges, providing something new, more holistic and regenerative.
Hemp is for everyone. People from marginalised backgrounds have less access to the countryside and even more hurdles when it comes to farming and rural community land-projects. For hemp to be mainstream, it needs to reach a diverse audience from a variety of backgrounds. Identifying these barriers is important if a diverse and thriving hemp industry is to be born.
In response to the destruction caused by large corporate agribusiness and industrial producers, small scale regenerative farming is making a comeback. As we revive a more ecological and resilient way of producing food, we build a stronger food network. For this to happen, farmers need native and ancient seeds, such as hemp, to be readily available for cultivation.
British soils are in crisis. The UK government’s environment secretary has stated that we are 30 years away from an ”eradication of soil fertility” because we ”drenched it in chemicals”. Studies suggest that an inch of soil takes over 500 years to form. Currently, soil degradation in England and Wales costs £1.2 billion every year. Growing hemp has shown it can rapidly regenerate the topsoil, allowing farmers to plant new crops in a much shorter time-frame.
We collectively understand the seriousness of the climate crisis, yet truly green alternatives and solutions are lacking. With extensive uses and a quick cultivation time, hemp should be widely recognised and prioritised as a renewable resource in order to tackle the urgency of the climate crisis.
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