For The Greater Goods (sm)

Organic Hemp: A Closer Look For Hemp History Week (June 3-9)

organic hempEndorsed by celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, musicians like Ziggy Marley, athletes like Brendan Brazier as well as bestselling author and alternative health advocate Dr. Andrew Weil, Hemp History Week is a time to educate about the benefits of industrial hemp for fiber, food, fuel, paper, building products, plastic and more.  Learn more about Hemp History Week HERE. There are lots of reasons why organic hemp is beneficial – let’s take a look at some:

Organic Hemp is good for Our Bodies

Hemp seeds are high in protein and beneficial Omega fatty acids.  In fact, they have a perfectly balanced 1:3 ration of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s – a balance that is critically important yet hard to find in most foods.  Organic hemp seeds are easily digested, are free of gluten and have no known allergens.  As a food source, organic hemp is nearly perfect.  Their light, nutty flavor lends itself well to making plant based milk, cereals, granolas, protein powder and more.  You’ll find organic hemp as an ingredient in many Nature’s Path products – cereals, oatmeal, granola, granola bars and more.

Organic Hemp is good for Our Earth

As an environmentally sustainable source of raw material for a wide range of products from paper, fabrics, plastics, fuel, building material and food, hemp is a low impact agricultural product as it can be grown without pesticides.  It grows like a weed, which is how hemp’s cousin marijuana got its nickname.  In case you think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, rest assured, they are different and I’ll address that a little later.

Since organic hemp can be grown easily without chemical inputs, using it as a clothing fiber it can replace the use of cotton, a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of the pesticide use in the U.S.  By shifting our clothing choices to organic hemp, we’re making a significant impact on the planet.

Hemp has even been used to clean up soil contamination.  After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, industrial hemp was tested to help clean up the soil.  Because of its fast growth rate, hemp showed great potential in cleaning up land contaminated with a number of pollutants from fly ash, sewage sludge to heavy metals.

Organic Hemp is good for Farmers

Hemp can easily be grown organically; it is beneficial for suppressing weeds and building soil, making it a perfect rotation crop.  The market for hemp products is nearly a half a billion dollars a year and it is only growing.  Since it is currently illegal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S., we are importing all of our organic hemp from Canada.  As a crop that grows well wherever wheat grows well, organic hemp would be a boon to farmers in the U.S.

Organic Hemp History

Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known to man and has been crown by many civilizations dating back over 12,000 years. . Archaeologically, hemp dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on pottery dating from the 5th century BC. The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper.

Did you know that organic hemp is part of our nation’s heritage?  George Washington planted hemp seeds in his vineyard at Mt. Vernon from 1765 to 1796.  Thomas Jefferson planted an acre of hemp at Monticello in 1811 and promoted its cultivation.  In fact, this country’s declaration of independence is written on paper made from hemp.  Up until the 1930s, hemp cultivation was legal and hemp was a common crop. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the US government and media began spreading lies and misinformation about marijuana that its prohibition became imminent. It was banned in the USA under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and remains banned to this day.

Dispelling the Myths of Organic Hemp

Although hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis species, hemp contains virtually no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. If you smoke hemp you will likely get a headache. You will not get ‘high’. Its THC level is less than 1%, whereas marijuana may contain between 5 – 15%. Consuming hemp products will not cause a false positive drug test.

How to Use Organic Hemp

Organic Hemp Seeds

Available hulled or in the shell, hemp seeds are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps and more.  Blend the hulled hempseed into smoothies, use them in oatmeal, granola or other cereals, bake them into cookies and cakes – the uses are nearly endless.  I love Ziggy Marley’s roasted whole hemp seeds; they have a crunch that makes the seed pop in your mouth with a burst of flavor.

Organic Hemp Oil

Use in salads or smoothies for a burst of beneficial Omega fatty acids.  Organic hemp oil has a bright green color and a nutty flavor that may seem strong at first.  Try using a little bit at a time until your palate adjusts and make sure to store any opened organic hemp oil in the refrigerator.

Organic Hemp Protein Powder

A great addition to smoothies and protein shakes to up the usable protein in your diet.  Try adding a little organic hemp protein powder in baked goods in place of some of the flour – you won’t taste the difference but your body will know.

Organic Hemp Milk

A great non-dairy alternative to milk, hemp milk provides a creamy texture that is rich and flavorful.  Use it in place of dairy milk anywhere you’d use it.  Hemp milk is especially good in smoothies and shakes – try it in chocolate to make chocolate shakes for the kids.

Let us know which organic hemp products you’ve tried and how you use them!

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I'm a firm believer that you are what you eat and I want to be fresh, local, organic and healthy! I've spent a lifetime experimenting with natural foods, different diets and ways of eating, and have settled on the food philosophy that Michael Pollan expresses so well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I'm passionate about organic foods, natural living, cooking healthy meals, and improving my health on a daily basis.

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