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How can hemp seed oil help my health?

UK-grown organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil, oh how we’ve missed you!

So luxurious, with your emerald tones, nutty flavour, and heaps of nutritional goodness.

Omega oils galore! We hear your brains and muscles crying out with joy.

Just in the nick of time to start training for that marathon…

Where’s it been hiding?

Hemp is a relatively new crop in modern agriculture, even though it was one of the first crops cultivated by humans.

Somewhere along the way, we went from seeing the ease and versatility of this plant to losing sight of all the benefits it offers to the soil as well as the people.

Now we’re on a mission to bring it back! The health benefits of this wonderful seed just keep on coming. With a perfect balance of omega fatty acids, plus phytonutrients and vitamins, this oil is a must for anyone focusing on their nutritional health.

We are currently applying for a new licence to grow hemp on our farm*. Over the past year, we’ve been partnering with other farms across the UK to help them grow hemp all over the country.

We believe that cooperation and collaboration builds resilience. By supporting each other, we can build an ethical industry from the ground up!

Our organic cold-pressed oil is a deliciously simple way to consume hemp seeds.

Drizzle some over your warm meals, mix into a sauce for salads, or keep it pure as a tasty and vibrant dipping oil. What a treat to have in the kitchen!

Very few plants are as climate friendly as hemp. It’s a fantastic rotation crop, regenerating soils and trapping carbon from the atmosphere.

Hemp removes impurities from the soil, so it’s really important to buy organic. That way you know you’re getting all the benefits with none of the toxins!

We bring all our freshly harvested seeds back to the farm to be processed into products for you lovely folk.

How should I use it?

Hemp seed oil is affected by high temperatures so it’s best to avoid frying with it or overheating it. 

Did you know you can also apply this 100% pure hemp seed oil directly to your skin, hair and beard?

Our Hemp Seed Moisturising Oils have added fragrances (as well as one with CBD extract!).

You could even get creative and mix your favourite essential oils for a personalised scent.

All in all, this wonder oil is tasty, versatile and packed full of nutrients.

With a spoonful of hemp seed oil, you won’t need to help the medicine go down!

 

 

*Our licence was revoked in 2019 and we had to destroy our crop worth £200k:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49082533

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8 ways to support your wellbeing this winter!

It’s wonderful to tune into the changing seasons!

We are welcoming our hemp seeds into our processing barn at this pivotal moment in the year.

What a time to appreciate the long summer days when all the plants were growing and to be grateful for the bounty the fields have produced. With the harsh winter months arriving fast, it’s a time to turn inwards and slow down the ever-increasing pace of modern life. It’s also an opportunity to take stock of what we have and invest in ourselves to get through the colder, darker days with warmth and light. 

What have you been doing to prepare for the season? Have you made changes at home for your wellbeing? Whether you’re an expert or a novice, here are a few of our own winter wellbeing tips to keep the blues at bay:

 

1. Get prepared! 

Storage spaces are cleared, labels are written and jars are filled.

We’ve been organising our food stores to make sure we have all the staples we need to get through the winter. With the potential for another lockdown and possible Brexit delays, it’s important to plan ahead.

Being smart about what’s in your pantry is a good way to avoid any surprises or panic buying, making sure there’s still enough for everyone to go around.

It’s also an opportunity to check in with the variation of your diet. Make any modifications if you have diet requirements, and to take the time to reconnect with all the food and nutrients you’ll be needing for good health maintenance.

wellbeing tips

2. Vitamins

We know how important Vitamin C and D are for keeping our immune systems on top form. Did you know you can get these magic supplements in other ways than eating your weight in oranges?

Our favourite wild-foraged vitamin-stores are elderberries and rosehips. Preserve these beauties as elderberry tincture or in a winter elixir. Take a moment to think about what you might need over winter and plan ahead to preserve if fresh produce will be more difficult to access.

elderberry tincture
vitamin foraging
elderberry elixir

3. Food supplements

CBD can be taken as a food supplement, either in dropper format or our signature organic coconut oil.

Another timely benefit of this cannabinoid is that when taken regularly as part of a healthy diet, “Cannabis can reduce the virus’ entry points to the body by up to 70 percent.’’

Researchers (and we!) are very excited by this discovery. More time is being invested to better understand the effects. Although it might feel like a luxury, it’s a great reminder to keep up with your regular dose of CBD oil. 

4. Stay hydrated

We need to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, with more if we exercise.

Not a fan of plain old water? It can be hard getting in all those glasses!

Herbal teas are hydrating and a great way to ensure winter wellness.

Be conscious of drinking too much caffeinated or sweetened liquid as this can be dehydrating.

Water is such a simple way to boost your mood, keep you energised and feeling healthy.

We’ve all seen a sad looking plant that needs a drink.

Humans aren’t that different!

5. Kraut it up!

Oh, how we love probiotics!

We grew a LOT of cabbage this year, so preserving them as sauerkraut and kimchi in extra large jars was a great way to avoid wasting it. It also means we get to enjoy vegetables long past autumn.

We make a fresh batch of Kombucha every couple of months, using a second ferment of hemp stem tea mixed with something tasty and seasonal.

We’ve had elderflower, meadowsweet, even cherry! Our last batch used hemp tea and apples from our apple picking day. Make it all the merrier by getting creative with your winter preserving.

We’re very happy to keep a good stock of products by our local fermenters, the wonderful Pama Creations. What’s your favourite fermentation? 

cabbage probiotic sauerkraut

6. Plan your planting 

If you have any garden space, or even a little veg box on a windowsill or patio that gets some daylight, take the natural pause of winter to plan your growing calendar.

Most plants are now dormant, but you can still get excited about what will blossom next year. Deepen your connection with the seasons and create something you can look forward to.

Honouring the soil, feeling the hopefulness of spring to come and even getting a bit dirty now and then can boost your immune system as much as all the vitamins in the land!

stroll winter wellbeing

7. Take a stroll

Head outdoors and embrace the crisp air. Even a short time outside each day can make the world of difference.

Time spent in nature helps us to relax and is great for our mental health over winter. It’s also wonderful for our immune systems as anytime spent under the sun (even a milky one!) helps the body catch natural vitamin D.

Wrap up warm before a gentle walk or get your blood pumping with some faster exercise. The cold weather doesn’t have to be a deterrent, it just means we need to change how we interact with the outside world.

8. Nourish yourself – inside and out!

In these colder days with biting wind, it’s important to protect your skin from the winter chill and the dryness that comes with it.

Keep your skin nourished and glowing with our special bundle Nourishing Winter Hemper – nothing quite like a shameless plug for a finale…

What are your winter wellbeing tips? We’d love to hear from you!

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Why Farming Matters

farming is public service

Last Wednesday, the UK Agriculture Bill was debated in parliament and despite an impressive campaign forged by the Landworkers’ Alliance and more than 5000 letters sent in support of amendments seeking to recognise farming as a public service and incentivise UK farming that is ecologically and socially sustainable, the amendments to the Bill were defeated.
 
It is entirely possible to produce all the food we need in ways that benefit people, community and planet. Big farms are not the solution.
 
COVID-19 is rattling communities and economies alike, and is exposing the fragility of the food systems that we all rely on. We urgently need to change the ways that we produce and consume and recognise the foundational role that farming plays in the wellbeing of us all. 
 
@rosannaprints

The words of Soul Fire Farm, located upstate New York, resonate:

This outbreak reveals the interconnectedness of our world in a very personal way. It is showing, conclusively, that the health and well being of one is intimately bound to the health and well being of all. We must take action to protect the most vulnerable who will be hit hardest: those whose health is already compromised, those who are denied access to medical care, those who bear great risk in asking for help and those on the frontlines of poverty and pollution.

We stand with the immigrants who are demonized, and the people in prison who are denied the tools to protect their health. We stand with our elders and neighbors with compromised immune systems. We stand with the workers in healthcare and service industries, who are at the front line of financial and health risks. We stand with the farmers and landworkers whose livelihood is at stake.

Here, Now.

Waiting to be served at the counter of a local corner shop the other morning, I glanced down at the shelf stacked with tempting snacks – crisps with familiar flavours, and weird ones, jelly snakes and sweets shaped like emojis, classic kit-kats and chunky ones with peanut butter in them, it was all there, arranged invitingly. Amid the spread of cheerful colours and fonts I spotted a label which read:

 

“Sorry! No brazils.” 

 

On an “Eat Natural” cereal bar, an innocuous looking information bubble explained that failed harvests have led to a worldwide shortage of brazil nuts. My mind whirred. Stumbling across yet another disconcerting example of the impact environmental changes was no surprise to me. What felt so stark was the way this reality had crept into a routine activity. Marketing companies expertly avert our attention from the convoluted and unfair supply chains of land and labour; and the impact climatic fluctuations have on essential supplies. This label felt as though the marketing mask had slipped. The label was a glimpse into a situation that doesn’t look as ordered and dependable as a typical wrapper might have you believe. It is so easy to browse the vast range of food on the shelves of brightly lit supermarkets and not give a thought to the people or environmental conditions that brought it there. 

 

Though it is the backbone to all our lives, the tireless effort of farmers is rarely acknowledged and given the respect it deserves. Nor is the land and it’s complex ecology and interactions from which our food, and many other essentials, are derived. It is labels like the one at the cornershop that morning that, for me, jolted our collective complacency into a new perspective. When we take our food, and all else that we derive from the land for granted, we do so at our peril. Even more so when we overlook the labour involved. The work that farmers do to meet our needs has far reaching implications. Both globally and at a UK level, many farming practices are not good for the land, for farmer wellbeing and security, for rural communities or for us as consumers, and the systems are not set up to incentivise practices that are. 

 

The brazil nut shortage is a reminder that farming practice impacts the quality of what is grown, the soil, the ecology and the climate – as one article put it, the shortage is “a canary in the mine of climate change. There is an urgent need for widespread change which honours the vital role that farming and farmers play in the survival of us all. 

Sorry! no brazils

Big problems need big solutions

The challenges we face are global, but can we do anything on a local or national level? And how can this slot into a global picture?

In recent decades, farming has become increasingly industrialised. Small farms are being swallowed by larger ones – in the UK, 30,000 small farms have closed in 10 years, and along with them, knowledge, skills and rural culture have been lost. Supply chains and local markets are being swept out of the way with big business taking their place – 95% of food retail is controlled by supermarkets

The diverse and dynamic form that farming can take is being hampered and shut out by the government and DEFRA’s market-based approach, which rewards intensive and industrial scale farms. Power is being removed from the hands of small-scale producers and communities with it. 

Furthermore, currently less than 1% of the population owns over half of all agricultural land. Land is opportunity: opportunity to grow food, opportunity to produce energy, opportunity to build homes, opportunity to access to nature. With land in the hands of a wealthy few, only a tiny minority of people get to decide how land is used and farmed, and who benefits. Access to land needs to be fair, it needs to be a resource for the many, not a vehicle to entrench power and privilege. 

The hurdles and obstacles that farmers face have heartbreaking consequences. In the UK, one farmer a week takes their life. Farm work conditions are not easy; work is often hard and repetitive and farmers work in environments that they have very limited control over (increasingly so in a changing climate). To top it all off, farm work is undervalued in society: farmers are key workers too, where are their claps? Farmers are forced between a rock and a hard place. Either they have to opt for corner cutting; or industrial scale production which threatens the health of land and compromises the quality of what is produced; or take on large financial and personal risk if they choose to opt for a smaller scale, ecologically gentler approach to production. 

Time for change

As it stands, it is not easy for farmers and rural communities to challenge the state of affairs that prioritises the interests of corporations and international free trade agreements. We, as land workers, need to  reclaim the farming system so that policy and practice accounts for the needs of all of us – anyone who grows, prepares, distributes or eats food is represented and has contributed to the answers. We need distant policy makers to recognise that we operate in the finite limits of the earth, and as such, we need policies that promote a system of using land within its means.


Could a return to farming through a patchwork of smaller holdings offer a way out of the multitude of challenges we face? Research suggests it could. A recent report points towards the ways in which small farms promote diversity and innovation in the farming sector, offering meaningful, skilled work and the opportunity for training; as well as reducing supply chains to allow for a more responsive way of working that connects farmers to consumers –  good news for rural economies and communities.

Developed by the LWA, Global Justice Now, the Ecological Land Co-op, The Centre for Agroecology and the Permaculture Association.

This involves incentivising and rewarding work that promotes on-farm biodiversity, practices which promote healthy and well structured soil, and practices which look after the people who work on the land and in connected work. In her book, Farming While Black, Leah Penniman centres the oppressive impacts of policies and structures. She centres the disproportionate affect these have on people of colour, impeding access to land and good food.  When we take a socially and racially just approach to these issues, the strategy for how to challenge oppressive policies and structures will be enriched.

Where does hemp fit?

Though the problems we face are vast, complicated and difficult to untangle, local scale farming practices and innovation offer us exciting possibilities to address these challenges. At Hempen we’re excited about hemp for its manifold possibilities; from social to economic to ecological. Recognised worldwide for thousands of years for its versatility in providing societal and economic benefits to people and community, hemp offers a promising stepping stone on the path out of the entrenched extractive practices of modern industry, towards regenerative ones. Hemp can provide us with much needed resources while also giving back to the land. 

Hemp is easy to grow organically because the dense canopy it forms eradicates weeds and is naturally resistant to insect pests. Its strong root networks can restore soil health by preventing erosion and promoting bioremediation. At Hempen we have used hemp in our crop rotation, replenishing land which is used by us or other tenant farmers. Bees love hemp flowers for their pollen which they use in nest building and feeding their young.  Small birds and mammals such as ground larks and deer, enjoy the shelter the plants provide. 

Hemp is also effective at sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere, for every ton of hemp grown, it is estimated that 1.63 tons of carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere – an indispensable tool in combating the climate crisis.

From the perspective of rural livelihoods, hemp is also powerful. It is said to have more than 25,000 uses, including as building materials, plastics, energy, and for health and nutrition. At Hempen, we are harnessing the plant to promote economic and social opportunity in our community. The small-scale production and processing methods that we use for our products provide reliable communal work in our community and form part of a varied and meaningful week. 

There are considerable and unjust barriers preventing the expansion of hemp farming in small scale farms in the UK. Hemp licencing is outdated, based on legislation created in the 1960s. Hempen is working with other farmers and activists to educate and lobby decision makers within the Home Office  to challenge current legislation and push for reform.

Stepping Stones

Just as growing hemp can be a stepping stone in the route towards a farming industry that is more in harmony with the wellbeing of people and planet, so is small-scale, agroecological farming. In the UK, the Land Workers Alliance (LWA) is working to assess and reform the way that farming is legislated, to include the voices of… Land Workers! In their post-Brexit policy recommendations, LWA are focusing on making sure that small-scale farmers have a ‘seat at the table’. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) does not reward small-scale farming, there is a democratic deficit in how farming is legislated, meaning the government is failing to ensure that producers and consumers can meet their needs. Reforms can revive family, community and co-operative based farming for high quality and healthy produce, while “enhancing the environment, strengthening communities and supporting good livelihoods for farmers, farm workers and fisherfolk”. Farming should be recognised and valued for what it is. Just as as healthcare workers look after us in times of need, and educators support us to learn, farms nourish us,  and farming is a public service. 

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Feeding the community well, together

Reading Town Meal 2019

We’re excited to be at the beautiful, community-powered Reading Town Meal this Saturday 28th September.

We feel so lucky to be part of a vibrant web of local growers and producers. This event brings us all together to provide the fruit, veg and – in our case – delicious hemp goodies to feed the community. The locally-grown produce will be cooked up into delicious dishes by Reading College students, and served up for us all to enjoy – for free!

If you’re around this Saturday, come down and join the meal. Learn more about growing your own food from local allotment holders, shop with local producers – including us and our friends from Greenbroom Farm, a local fossil fuel-free organic veg growing co-op – find out what local community and sustainability groups are doing in Reading, and dance to music from local bands. Sounds like a dreamy Saturday afternoon to us…

If you’ve got the time, there will be lots of roles to get stuck in with, from leafleting, to washing up. Volunteers always welcome! Have a browse here to see what you can do, and let the organisers know if you can help out.

See you and our lovely local community there!