Cannabis Growing in Australia

18 02 2010

Richard Friar growing hemp cannabis australiaRichard Friar, a 66-year-old farmer from Australia, and his wife Wendy are the proud owners of Australia´s first licensed industrial hemp crop to be grown in an urban area.

With permission from the Department of Primary Industries, they are in the first stages of a pilot project aimed at teaching farmers how to grow hemp and commercialise its countless byproducts.

The Friars are hemp evangelists, firm believers in the world-changing potential of this most versatile of plants, which can be used in everything from food to fabrics and building materials.

With permission from the Department of Primary Industries, they are in the first stages of a pilot project aimed at teaching farmers how to grow hemp and commercialise its myriad byproducts.

The Friars’ crop, a mix of Chinese cultivars known as Yellow River and Lulu, is a fine example: the stalks can be used in the textile and construction industries – “they even use it, instead of steel, to reinforce concrete” – while the seeds can be eaten.

In December the couple applied to Food Standards for permission to sell the seed for human consumption, with approval expected early next year.

“They are a real superfood,” Wendy says. “It’s 23 per cent protein, and has more Omega 3 and Omega 6 than virtually any other source, including fish.

”In the early 1800s, Australia was twice saved from famine by eating virtually nothing but hemp seed for protein and hemp leaves for roughage.”

But the couple also plan to become brokers for hemp products, importing seeds and matching overseas and local producers with those undertaking retail or construction projects.

“We want to kickstart consumer demand,” Wendy explains. “It’s hard, though, because hemp has for so long been vilified as a dangerous drug.”

A film-maker, farmer, former horse trainer and grade rugby union player, Mr Friar has long been interested in permaculture and recycling; his company King Poo was one of the first to sell worm farms in the early 1990s. But it is hemp that has him raving.

“As a grandfather several times over, I am championing this now as the answer to a lot of our sustainability problems. We just have to lose the baggage we have about hemp, and approach it in a more mature way.”


Houses made of hemp could help combat climate change!

27 10 2009

professor pete walker - university of bath

We have recently come across this very interesting press release from Professor Peter Walker at the University of Bath (U.K) who is leading the research into the use of hemp-lime in construction.  Buildings and other infrastructure currently accounts for almost 20% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  This is another example of how this wonderful plant can help save reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Recently we brought you the news that Hanes – one of the worlds biggest consumer brands – has been investing in a new hemp technology called Crailar which requires only a fraction of the water needed to make cotton; and we are very happy to announce that it is the subject of another of our articles, a Dutch company called Hempflax who has won the contract to supply the raw materials to Hanes – i.e. the HEMP!

Here’s the press release:

Houses made of hemp, timber or straw could help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of building construction, according to researchers at the University of Bath.

Currently the construction industry is a major contributor of environmental pollutants, with buildings and other build infrastructure contributing to around 19% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  Researchers at the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials are researching low carbon alternatives to building materials currently used by the construction industry.  Although timber is used as a building material in many parts of the world, historically it is used less in the UK than in other countries. Researchers at the Centre are developing new ways of using timber and other crop-based materials such as hemp, natural fibre composites and straw bales. Their work using straw bales as a building material has already been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs series.

Professor Peter Walker, Director of the Centre, is leading the research. He said: “The environmental impact of the construction industry is huge. For example, it is estimated that worldwide the manufacture of cement contributes up to ten per cent of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions.  “We are looking at a variety of low carbon building materials including crop-based materials, innovative uses of traditional materials and developing low carbon cements and concretes to reduce impact of new infrastructure. As well as reducing the environmental footprint, many low carbon building materials offer other benefits, including healthier living through higher levels of thermal insulation and regulation of humidity levels.”

Their research is being presented at the Sustainable Energy & the Environment showcase at the University of Bath.  The exhibition will be opened by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, and will be attended by industrialists, research councils, local and national government representatives and other key stakeholders from across the South West.  The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I-SEE) at the University of Bath, which will bring together experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, social policy and economics to tackle the problems of climate change.

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Hanes invests in Hemp!

17 08 2009

After a decade trying to prove that hemp could be soft as cotton, one American company is starting to draw the attention to its product from some of the world’s biggest consumer brands.

Naturally Advanced CEO, Ken Barker poses with hemp fibres.

Based in Portland, Oregon – Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. – has developed an enzyme treatment which makes organic fibres (principally hemp and flax) suitable for producing clothes and other uses.  This treatment is known as “Crailar Fiber Technology”.  Here’s the information that Naturally Advanced provides about Crailar on their website:

“CRAILAR employs a simple, efficient 100% organic, enzyme bath and scales easily to leverage the global industrial hemp industry. In addition, CRAILAR Organic Fiber will be cost-comparable to organic cotton. Therefore, CRAILAR enables the transformation of hemp into a better sustainable alternative to organic cotton. ”

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Lotus Eco Elise

15 07 2008

On July 22nd at the British Motor Show, Lotus will unveil their new environmentally friendly sporty roadster, the Eco Elise, which features a number of “greener” improvements. Instead of just decreasing CO2 emissions, Lotus tried a holistic approach to ecology by using sustainable materials (like hemp and eco wool), a cleaner manufacturing process, renewable energy generation and reducing the car’s weight. Overall, the weight saving program for the Eco Elise has resulted in a total saving of around 70.5 lbs over the feather light Elise S, which consequently reduces the fuel required to drive the car.

Lotus Eco Elise

Are those weed plants in the background?

Although we enthusiastically  welcome the idea of using Hemp in cars ( or any other product for that matter ) may we point out that the concept of using  Hemp in a car is not that new.. (remember Henry Ford?)

Medicinal Marijuana

3 07 2008

An old solution for new problems.

Ganja, weed, cannabis, marijuanaThe qualities that made cannabis one of our ancestors’ most useful and valuable resources are no less important in the 21st century. Considering the sorry state of our planet’s ecosystem and endless political turmoil over the control of finite, fossil-based energy resources, we might conclude that hemp is of even greater importance to us than to our forbears.

The medicinal value of cannabis is widely accepted by medical professionals all over the world. It is interesting to note that opposition to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis comes almost exclusively from law-making groups rather than those with expertise in medicine or pharmacology.

The best-known medical applications of cannabis are in treating pain, asthma, glaucoma, muscle spasm and epilepsy. Cannabis is also extremely useful in combating the nausea, loss of appetite and general discomfort associated with the synthetic drugs used in chemotherapy and HIV treatment.

The various cannabinoids produced by cannabis have numerous other medical applications and more are discovered every year as legal obstacles to cannabis research are slowly overcome.

In the Netherlands, as of September 1st 2003, government-supplied cannabis is available on prescription through the nation’s pharmacies. Other European countries are likely to follow the Dutch example.

Cannabis can provide a cheap, renewable and abundant food source for the planet, as it grows almost anywhere and its cultivation does not require farmers in developing countries to purchase pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers from agricultural corporations.

The truth behind industrial Hemp

23 06 2008

Why criminalising industrial hemp is criminal

Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana, seeds

The cannabis plant is being rediscovered for it environmental friendly applicability. As you might know hemp is one of the oldest crops domesticated by man. The history of cultivating hemp goes back for thousands of years. Cannabis cultivation appears to have evolved simultaneously in separate civilisations across Eurasia.

Humankind’s earliest utilisation of cannabis was most likely in eating the seeds of the plant. Hemp seeds are among the most healthiest of grains on this planet. These seeds are low in saturated fats and full of high quality protein.

Hemp is one of the most valuable and versatile resources known to man. The manifold advantages of fibre hemp as a primary agricultural resource are apparent from the very outset of cultivation. Apart from hemp’s natural resilience, the fibre for which the plant is prized for is not a viable food source for pests. Therefore, industrial cannabis requires no insecticides. Hemp outgrows any competing plant which removes the need for herbicides, and even weeding.

Furthermore, the fibre hemp root system is highly beneficial to the structure of the soil in which it grows. Hemp requires no artificial fertilisers and, vitally does not deplenish its soil of essential nutrients in the way of many cash crops (such as cotton, corn and tobacco which can ruin for decades the land upon which they grow). This is due in part to the outstanding self-composting properties of hemp.

The stalk of the hemp plant produces one of the world’s strongest natural fibres and can be used to make things like rope, textile and paper. Hemp pulp is by far the most efficient, rational choice for paper production. Hemp also competes with the other fast growing plants that are presently a resource for pulp.

Most of these products can be recycled several times. For example, after being used, hemp textiles can be processed into paper; paper converted into building material which on its turn may ultimately be used as an energy source. Also the seed of the hemp plant contains high grade food oil that can be used as a bio-fuel and in the manufacturing of paint and soap.

Equally important is that in the treatment and processing of hemp fibres, wood and seeds, no chemicals are necessary – only mechanical methods and natural decomposition. Therefore, hemp does not only benefit the environment, but also human beings, animals and plants because the final products do not contain any harmful chemical residues.

These are just a few of the solutions offered by hemp to the various environmental problems faced today. The qualities that made cannabis one of our ancestors’ most useful and valuable resources are no less important in the 21st century. Considering the sorry state of our planet’s ecosystem and endless political turmoil over the control of finite, fossil-based energy resources, we might conclude that hemp is of even greater importance to us than to our forbears.

Dismissing these arguments just because of the fact that cannabis is an illegal substance is not only short-sighted but flat-out criminal.

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