Posted on

Changes we’d like to see

The world we share is rapidly changing, and we are watching each day as more news of coronavirus (COVID-19) comes through. It’s the hot topic and it’s changing our everyday lives. Plans we had are gone, or on hold, just like that. 

Our sympathies are with those who are most affected by this, our loved ones. And with the key workers called to action, especially nurses, doctors and NHS staff working overtime and without the proper protective equipment. We are genuinely feeling the effect this is having on our community and friends. 

Somewhere inside us, we all knew at some point something had to give, the polarised society between the rich and the poor, the constant increase of the destruction of our rainforests, the continual rise in the production of toxic plastic, the mass drive for profit and greed. We are living in the time of the anthropocene. 

A crisis brings up a time for unimaginable change, and this means that we also have a chance to purposefully and positively affect the trajectory we were previously on.

‘’Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken, depend on the ideas that are laying around.’’ Milton Friedman. 

“We know this script. In 2008, the last time we had a global financial meltdown, the same kinds of bad ideas for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts carried the day, and regular people around the world paid the price.”  Naomi Klein

Watch the video and read more: https://interc.pt/2IOfBQb

Right now, governments and big business will use this crisis to push through policies that were very distant discussions before, for the worse or for the better. This is a time of great danger or opportunity. 

There have been some more drastic measures taken that are not nice for any of us, like being home bound for the foreseeable. For those of us who can, a more positive outlook on this situation could bring about ideas and policies that were once seen as far too radical or unfeasible. In fact they are actually happening overnight…

But what would be disappointing for us and the generations to follow, is for big industries to be bailed out once again – the ones that are causing the most environmental damage, with disregard to making sizeable changes in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

What changes would we like to see, which are for all of our best interests? Potentially permanent changes that could fight poverty and the climate crisis, and at the same time mitigate the chance of another disaster of this kind. How and in what ways should we be returning back to work? How should we value jobs that sustain our lives? 

4 Day Working Week Campaign

“100 years ago we won the weekend & the 8hr day. Today we sure as hell can win a #4DayWeek.”

At Hempen we encourage a model of working 3 days a week, and for residents 1 day a week for the community. A shorter working week could improve the economy, our environment and our society as a whole. We don’t want to be confined to our work, needing time to rest and play. Less work could also mean we address inequalities, lack of time to live sustainably, and help to reduce carbon emissions. 

"In the rush to return ro normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to." Dave Hollis

Universal Basic Income (UBI) 

At the very least, temporary enactment of UBI for three months throughout the crisis would mean the spike in renters being evicted recently could have been avoided. Every day we hear new ways in which the government plans to help alleviate financial hardship, though many businesses and people are left behind or in uncertain circumstances. If UBI was to be brought in for a few months, we can see how it might work for our economy in the long-term. Leaving people without a means of income in this crisis induces stress, which in turn lowers immune systems, somewhat counter productive.  

If 8 men have as much wealth as the rest of the world, it seems possible that more wealth could be shared. If you feel inclined then sign the petition for Basic Income: https://bit.ly/2QDIClE

For Hempen and for other not-for-profits, having access to the UBI provides the freedom for more people to create projects that are built from their own passions and skill sets, especially now when so many may face unemployment or lack of work. Though UBI needs to be enough to cover average rent prices and food to work effectively, and not just be a token amount.

More Support for Key Workers – Bolster the National Living Wage, Save the NHS, Food Security by supporting UK Farmers. 

In this emergency, we get a rare reality check of the type of jobs that are important. As our country heads into lock-down, NHS staff, cleaners and food producers are noticeably some of the key workers in our society. Note that the likes of airlines, banks and such are not in this mix.

Here at Hempen, our products are classified as food, and we continue to go about our daily business with some adjustments. We are already planting vegetable seeds to help create more food for our community, and are searching for ways to use our fields to be of more use. We hope many others are using their own gardens and gorilla growing in an abandoned or unloved spaces. Now is the time for councils to open up unused spaces to communities. There are signs of a global food shortage ahead, so we are calling for a government package to protect local food supplies and increase production. If you like the sound of that, please sign: https://www.change.org/LandArmySupport

We can be part of the debate and changes ahead, lets stay active!

Written by Sophia, Member of Hempen

Be the change you want to see.
Posted on

COVID-19 & Hempen – we’re open

In light of the quickly developing situation, we wanted to fill you in on what new government advice means for Hempen and our activities.

In common with most organisations dealing with the effects of COVID-19, Hempen is following government guidelines and enacting additional hygiene and cleaning standards to our usual procedures; we are proactively working to minimise the spread of the virus and promote the wellbeing of our members and the well-being of the wider community.

Covid-19 & Hempen

Mindful that many people across the country benefit from our products, we are aiming to continue our operations as long as it is safe to do so for us and for other people. This includes continuing to produce our hemp products and retail these online and at markets, but only where market level commitments have been put in place to facilitate social distancing (including limiting the number of people at stalls and  2m distance between people queueing). Our members are also working from home as far as possible (though for many of our members, this changes little as we live where we work!). 

We’re also putting more people power into ensuring that we can offer the best customer service possible at this time – our phone line will now be available on weekdays and weekends, for anyone having difficulties ordering online or with product questions. We will also be checking and responding to email queries with increasing regularity to ensure no-one is waiting too long for a response. Thanks for your patience as we put plans into place.

Customer Service Contact Details:
Telephone (7 days a week) – O7597 2637O2
Email (5 days a week) – shop@hempen.co.uk

Beyond producing our hemp goods, we are reviewing our resources in order to harness our possibilities to be a supportive presence in our community.

This will include increasing our capacity to grow food and contributing to a strengthening localised food supply chain. We want to recognise the strategically important position of farmers and landworkers to buttress our food supply.

The situation continues to develop and we will keep our operations under continual review over the coming weeks, in light of any new advice from the government. 

Hempen volunteers

We appreciate people’s thoughts and perspectives, we are all learning quickly in the context of this pandemic, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

We remain committed to our mission to cultivate locally-grown, organic hemp and through it, build socially just, ecologically sustainable and economically-resilient rural communities, which we believe the nation needs now more than ever.

Love & light, the Hempen community

Posted on

Pre-order the gift of plant-based healing

Let us never underestimate the importance of plants.

Whether that’s in the miraculous powers of their physical properties, or their long-held symbolic significance, recorded in folklore as early as the Ancient Greeks. From the “I love you” of a red chrysanthemum to the purity represented by an orange blossom, the language of flowers has long been spoken amongst sapiens.

Poppy in a flower meadow

On 11th November, for some, the Red Poppy is a symbol of Remembrance of the end of the First World War, a memorial to the fallen. The White Poppy was introduced by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1933, remembering all victims of war, of all nationalities, and as a lasting symbol for peace.

For us at Hempen, the flower that holds the most daily significance in our lives is Cannabis sativa. This annual herbaceous flowering plant has ancient historical importance – with hemp cultivation recorded in China as early as 2800 BCE. Though the uses of hemp could be listed for hours, the flowers alone are packed with phytonutrients like cannabinoids, with incredible healing properties.

Hemp "has been cultivated for millennia to exploit the plant’s toolbox of useful natural compounds it offers.”
Hand gently holding organic hemp plant

Today, as we remember those returned to the earth, we also give thanks for having had (and having, in the future) the chance to cultivate a plant as incredible as hemp, to offer nutrition, relief and well-being to people.

We’re chuffed to be launching our new range of Organic CBD Oil for pre-orders today!

Why on pre-order?

Excellent question. Well, as Rob described in our previous post, we’ve spent a long time searching for the best organic hemp growers and CBD producers in Europe, and formulating, testing and tasting our potential new organic CBD oil. Because if we can’t make CBD in the UK ourselves, then we feel responsible for bringing you the best alternative we possibly can.

And, as all the best things do, that takes time. After receiving the latest round of lab test results, we collectively decided we wanted to increase the levels of cannabinoids in the final oils, bringing a wider spectrum in higher ratios. This means keeping all of the goodness in during the extraction process. We believe that using the whole of the hemp extract brings the most benefit to the body, when all of the cannabinoids work in harmony together. This is the true essence of the hemp plant, and it is what we choose to offer you.

As our Zena so eloquently put it:

“It’s like going to a football match, but you only take your star player, and you don’t take the rest of your team. You’re not going to win, with only one player. You need the whole team, working together.”
Zena
Hempen Co-operative Member

“It’s like going to a football match, but you only take your star player, and you don’t take the rest of your team. You’re not going to win, with only one player. You need the whole team, working together.”

Right now, we’ve worked on the new formula, and are eagerly anticipating its arrival for us to mix and bottle for you. We had hoped, meditated and optimistically decided that it would, in fact, be in our hands and ready to share by now, but of course, our hard-working and ever-helpful partners need time to work their magic!

So rather than keeping you waiting any longer, we’ve decided to launch the new range on pre-order. While we’re getting it all ready, have a browse of the range, do some research, see what you think.

We’re hopeful that we’ll be ready to dispatch in two weeks time – but we don’t want to disappoint again, so we’ll update you as soon as we know for sure!

We're giving away CBD!

As a thank you for your continued patience, we’ve got a sweet, sweet special treat for everyone who orders from us this week.

All just for being beacons of patience!

Hempen 250mg Organic CBD Oil

These little gifts will be sent out along with orders placed between Monday 11th November and midnight on Sunday 17th November 2019 – with free delivery over £100.

In the meantime, read more about how we and why we chose our new CBD.

We can’t wait to hear what you all think about the new range – be sure to let us know!

And for those of you who love our UK CBD Oil, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to purchase it too (while stocks last). 

Blessings and love, the Hempen team.

Posted on

Sourcing the best organic CBD

Since the regulatory framework in the UK made it explicit that hemp farmers could not lawfully harvest the flowers and the leaves of the plants that they grow (meaning no-one can legally produce CBD for supplements in the UK), we’ve been busy changing the way we do things here at Hempen. We’ve had our heads down, focussed on finding the best way to supply organic, premium CBD to you all.

Here, Hempen’s Sales Co-ordinator Rob talks more about how we selected our new CBD source, and what that means.

Our new Organic CBD Range - how & why we chose it

Our intention at Hempen has always been to grow organic hemp locally, and to create high-quality organic hemp products for the UK market.

Growing hemp in the UK means that all the positive environmental impacts the Cannabis sativa plant provides us – such as enhancing soil health by reducing the need for herbicides and bringing diversity to crop rotations, and carbon sequestration – are happening close to where we all live. It also means that the UK has greater material and food sovereignty, given how versatile hemp is, making us less reliant on imports with high freight miles. It also means that we at Hempen have full transparency over our supply chain, and can track the production of our hemp products right through from seed to shelf. Hence, when the government made it clear that they did not want UK grown CBD products on the market we wanted to find a supplier as close to home as possible.

Proximity wasn’t the only factor when choosing our CBD source, though. We believe that hemp grown for food or well-being consumption should always be organically certified. Because hemp has the ability to draw toxic chemicals from the soil and store them in the plant material, growing on soil that may have been exposed to chemicals and pesticides increases the chances of toxic residue in the end product. Organic certification is the only way to know the integrity and safety of the hemp product from seed to shelf.

Ideally, we would have liked to have found a supplier who also subscribes to the not-for-profit, co-operative principles that underpin Hempen’s value system. We believe in community-led business that is driven by strong values rather than the bottom line. This means that we try to create a healthy way of life for our workers (us!), sharing wages equally and collectively making decisions that we believe are for the benefit of people, community and planet.

Unfortunately, at this time, other organically certified, not-for-profit hemp growers and producers are few and far between (although we have made contact with some new friends in Greece! Check them out here). Even fully organically certified CBD makers are a rare find! But after an extensive search we narrowed the field down to a handful of producers from Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

After a round of testing, tasting and discussions with the producers in terms of the traceability of their supply chain, we decided that the Swiss producers were creating the highest quality CBD oil we had tried. The farms that supply them grow their hemp organically using biodynamic and permaculture growing methods, which are often seen as “organic plus plus”. For us, this was hugely motivating factor, given that regenerative agriculture practices are crucial for the future health of our food system, planet and us. Additionally, they were able to offer the most flexibility in terms of tailoring products to our needs (such as mixing the CBD oil in high quality organic hemp seed oil) and tinkering with flavour profiles.

Hempen Organic CBD Range from above

Despite there being CBD oil producers in Ireland, to date none of them are organic, which means we have sourced the highest quality, organically certified oil, grown as close to home as possible. Additionally, our Swiss suppliers are able to offer us a wider range of strengths than ever before, which means we now have strengths ranging from a 250mg CBD in a 10ml dropper bottle (2.5%) up to 2000mg CBD in a 10ml dropper (20%). The feedback on our UK-grown 300mg 10ml dropper has always been incredibly positive in terms of its efficacy, but it is nice that we can now service those customers who have been asking us for higher concentrations of CBD. We are also able to bring a RAW CBD oil to the market which is produced using innovative low temperature CO2 extraction techniques, maintaining 50% of the raw form of CBD – CBDa. 

Part of what strikes me about working at Hempen is how much thought and time goes into every detail. And so, like many things that are well thought-out, bringing this new range to market has been an involved process. Hence, we are very confident in the quality of this CBD range and also very happy to bring organically certified CBD to the UK market – a rarity at the moment – at the most affordable prices out there. 

We look forward to hearing your feedback, safe in the knowledge that whatever the ups and downs of hemp and CBD legislation, Hempen will always be the place to find ethical, premium quality, organically certified CBD oil.

Prices are:
250mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £18.99
500mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £31.99
800mg Organic RAW CBD + CBDa Oil, 10ml dropper – £49.99
1000mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £55.99
1500mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £75.99
2000mg Organic Full Spectrum CBD Oil, 10ml dropper – £99.99

(Edit: prices updated 10th Nov.)

Posted on

The importance of organic farming

“Organically grown”, “farmed organically”, “made with organic ingredients”… these phrases crop up more and more in our everyday, from ads on the underground, to our conversations at the hairdressers.  Organic ingredients are present in a whole host of the things we use, from food to wellbeing, clothing to cleaning products.

Hempen Organic Hemp Seed Oil

But organic farming is nothing new, nor is its importance to the wellbeing of our bodies and the natural world. Though pesticides have been experimented with for 1000’s of years, it has only been since the 1940’s and 50’s when the “pesticide erareally took hold, that non-organic farming became the new norm.

Rising populations, lower yields and smaller labour requirements are used to justify mono-cultural large scale agriculture. Today, non-organic farming accounts for 99% of farming globally, but pesticides and fertilisers are detrimental to wildlife and their impacts go beyond the boundaries where they are used. Insect populations are vanishing, spelling catastrophic consequences for food chains, pollination, soil health and our health. Can organic agricultural methods produce enough food for a population set to hit 10 billion by 2050, avoid the obliteration of insects and trees and the pollution of land and water? In these times of climate change, environmental degradation and disintegration of community, organic farming offers a relatively untapped source of hope.

Insect on organic hemp leaf

A recent US study finds that while organic farms have lower yields, food produced is more nutritious, soil and water is less polluted, biodiversity of plants, animals and microbes is greater, greenhouse gas emissions are lower, and farming methods are more energy efficient. From a social perspective, organic farms also come out tops, being associated with more jobs, healthier work environments and happier workers in more connected communities. 

Hempen is a not-for-profit organic farm co-operative. At the core of our principles is a dedication to practices which promote the health of people and the environment. We make all of our products from certified organic hemp which makes us unique in the UK.

Besides the farm being organised in a way that promotes ecological biodiversity and the wellbeing of all of us who work here, the quality of what we produce is also maximised. As hemp is bioremedial, in areas of contaminated land, hemp’s quick and deep growing roots can clean soils by absorbing toxins into the plant itself. This means it is all the more important that we farm organically. Our soil’s health is integral to the quality and effectiveness of what we make. We’re proud to say that our CBD comes from clean and nourished soils which help to maximise the many health benefits that stem from using CBD.