A long time ago, one of our co-founders (Joe), hoped to harness the enormous potential of the hemp plant. His vision involved creating sustainable rural communities around its production. In 2014, he spoke to a friendly organic farmer (James), on the Hardwick Estate in Oxfordshire, of the agronomic benefits of this miraculous plant. James agreed to sow an experimental crop and the first seeds of Hempen were planted.
The following year, 27 acres were sown and a bumper crop harvest was grown. A group of friends gathered around the shared passion for this plant and Hempen was formed. In our first three years of hemp cultivation, a committed team of volunteers helped us harvest the hemp by hand. We will forever be grateful to them for this, as well as for their vital role in spreading the word of Hempen. The Co-operative was officially established in 2015 for the equitable, sustainable and ethical production of hemp products. Before branching out into health & well-being, culinary and cosmetic use.
Hempen initially sold Hemp Seed Oil, Whole Hemp Seeds, Hemp flour and Hemp Protein Powder. But when we found out about the benefits of CBD, we began to harvest for this too. In 2018, medicinal cannabis was legalised for limited use under extremely strict conditions. This led to a CBD boom and our Organic CBD Oil became our most popular product. Unfortunately, the Home Office then changed the legislative guidelines, making it explicit that hemp could not be harvested for CBD in the UK.
Despite this set back, Hempen continued to make products, carefully navigating the new guidelines. However, our license was revoked in 2019 for having harvested CBD in the past. Which meant that we’ve had to rely on organic partner farms to grow hemp and source CBD concentrates from Europe ever since. If you’d like to find out more, please refer to our Hemp Licensing blog on the subject.
While the last few years have been challenging, we’re still growing: Sharing our highly specialist knowledge and expertise, through partner farms, by networking and in our belief in the benefits of this plant for people, community and planet.
We’re grateful for the incredible team of dedicated co-operative members, employees and committed volunteers who help us realise our mission. Most of all, we would like to thank our wonderful customers, supporters and friends. You are the reason we continue to bring hemp to the people and we’ll forever be grateful for that. Our community and work at Hempen is here because of our love for the hemp plant. We hope to share it with as many people as possible.