As many of you may remember, in July 2019 the licence here at Path Hill Farm to grow hemp was revoked by the Home Office, leading to the destruction of a crop worth £200k. We were faced with a decision: to grow or not to grow?
Since then, we have continued partnering with farmers across the UK to support hemp growers while we decided what would be the most effective solution to the issues we were facing.
As of last week, we have officially submitted our new application to grow hemp in our fields! It’s a very exciting moment in Hempen’s journey but we’re not celebrating just yet…
Why apply now?
Applications for licences are accepted from the beginning of January until the end of February. An answer does not have to be returned by the Home Office until the end of April, posing a significant problem to farmers planning their rotations for the year.
In times of crisis, it is understandable to feel fear, judgement and anger. When faced with the most serious challenge to our business since we began, we chose to focus on solutions and worked to fulfil our mission to provide hemp solutions for the health of people, community and planet.
Although our capacity to bring hemp products to our customers was threatened by the licence reversal, we believe in the power of community and collaboration to build resilience. Our belief may have been tested, but the results were clear: we’re so much better when we work together.
What’s been happening since the licence was revoked?
We connected with farmers across the UK who had an interest in growing hemp, supported them with their own licence applications and shared our industry knowledge and farming expertise to help them produce the best environmental impact and yields possible for their land and resources.
Our commitment to buy hemp seed and stalk harvests from them provided the stability of a return on investment, and we intend to develop new and existing partnerships regardless of the outcome of our current application.
More hemp was grown in the UK in the past year because we supported other farmers to grow it. That means more carbon was removed from the atmosphere, more nutrients returned to the soil and more ecological alternatives to outdated products were available for the health of our consumers.
How have the processes at Hempen been affected?
To comply with UK law, we have been importing CBD from Europe, despite the significant financial and environmental costs involved compared with harvesting from the UK if that were possible.
We have been diversifying our seed and fibre product range so that you – our incredible support network of volunteers and customers – continue to have access to UK-grown organic hemp products at a fair price.
With more seed and fibre products, we are less reliant on CBD, but to do this requires further investment. We are seeking additional finance to bring more of our processing in-house, to reduce our carbon footprint and create a production loop that is as local as possible.
Many hurdles remain for the UK and European hemp industry. All around the world, legislators are waking up to the potential of this booming industry. Hemp offers solutions to so many problems including the ecological crisis, job scarcity, food sovereignty and soil health.
We are hopeful that our application to grow this most wonderful of plants will be accepted in time for us to plant this year’s crop. Our community continues to grow with more producers and industry partners each year. Show us your support for us by telling us why you think we deserve to be able to grow hemp here on the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.