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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.
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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

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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.

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Donate to our legal & campaign fees

Many of you have so generously asked how you can help, and whether you can donate to help us in our legal appeal and wider campaign to #saveUKCBD.

If you’re able to, any support would be gratefully received. Click here to make a donation.

Thank you in advance for any support we might receive. Your kindness is already enough. We’ll update with a campaign plan very soon.

For those who you who haven’t signed, there’s a petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/department-of-food-and-agriculture-change-the-hemp-license-hypocrisy

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£2.4 million in lost potential from hemp

Close up of destroying hemp crop

You may have seen our story on the BBC News website yesterday. Its headline shares a figure of our estimated financial loss, just from the retail sales we could have generated from the hemp seed alone, as hemp seed oil and hemp protein powder:

That is a large figure, especially for a small business. But, it pales in comparison to our calculations of the potential revenue we could have generated, were we allowed to harvest the flowers of the plant. The 40 acres lost to us this week could have been transformed into £2.4 million as CBD at retail price, for a not-for-profit farming co-operative. Of this, £480,000 would have been tax for the UK government! 

Instead, the flowers are crushed, along with the hopes of other farmers around the UK of being able to harness the full economic and agronomic benefits of hemp. We’re developing our campaign to save UK CBD, and will keep you updated, to let you know how you can support us in our mission to free hemp for all.

Destroying the hemp crop