Hemp: Growing into the Future
According to Colorado hemp growers Ed Berg and Scott Perez, hemp is an extraordinary plant with many uses: It can feed people and animals, heal medical conditions, make cloth and rope, produce biodegradable plastics, sequester carbon, and remove toxins from soil. So what’s in the way of its widespread use–and how can small producers survive when it becomes a major commodity crop?
Ed and Scott were speakers at the recent Regenerate Conference. Check out the YouTube video of their talk!
0’44 how Ed and Scott started growing hemp
1’38 land use problems in Colorado
3’37 is hemp already a big commodity crop?
4’56 how Scott got into hemp through the holistic movement
5’18 pulling radiation from the ground in Chernobyl with hemp
6’28 what do you do with the radioactive hemp plants
7’02 Ed’s ideas on what to do with radioactive materials
8’38 removing heavy metals from soils
9’19 hemp in regenerative agriculture
9’53 hemp grows everywhere
11’11 hemp drought-tolerant
12’33 hemp very adaptible
13’25 historical hemp producing areas coming back
13’45 other uses of hemp besides CBD and medicinal uses, like fiber
15’31 hemp being used by car companies to make body panels
16’00 hemp glass compared to fiberglass
16’35 canvas and cannabis from the same root word
16’52 cannabanoid plants co-evolved with animal life
18’28 hemp medicines in pharmaceutical context
19’06 hemp sequestering carbon
20’23 the carbon content of soil and water retention
22’12 water issues in Colorado
23’01 do animals eat hemp plants?
24’31 cows love hemp
25’18 hemp as food for humans
26’07 why hemp was made illegal in the early 20th century
27’52 reefer madness
28’19 hemp twine better than plastic
29’14 biodegradable plastic from hemp
29’38 is there anything hemp can’t do?
30’09 if hemp is used for everything it’s used for does that create a land use problem
31’44 monocropping vs polycropping for hemp
33’44 what would large scale regenerative hemp production look like
36’12 weed and cover crops protecting insects
37’13 deer making their beds in plants and polishing their antlers
37’38 how do you find good seeds and not get ripped off
40’21 hemp as a community builder
41’24 business models for small producers who want to use the whole plant
42’21 acequia as a community model
44’28 the problems with new proposed hemp regulation–and what people can do
48’48 how hemp has helped Ed and Scott personally
Roberto Meza was an artist and MIT graduate student who took some time off to deal with health concerns—and found that fresh greens made such a difference in his life that he started growing them. Now he runs a thriving business and focuses on food sovereignty and equity.
Part of the experience of colonization for Native people has been the denial of their long-standing practices of agriculture. Now indigenous voices are becoming part of the conversation about how to think in a healthy and holistic manner about food.
Many food producers spend so much on interest to banks that they can’t pay for improvements to make their farms more resilient and regenerative. Zach Ducheneaux talks about an alternative that’s already having some success in Indian country.
In her new book, Judith Schwartz takes us to five continents and tell us stories of people restoring devastated landscapes–and overcoming deep conflicts that stem from degraded ecosystems. The results are phenomenal.
“What’s good for the bird is good for the herd”–that’s the basis of a win-win initiative to preserve bird habitat on ranches and grasslands. We speak with Audubon Society VP Marshall Johnson about grassland ecology and their successful conservation collaborations.
Vanessa García Polanco is from a farming family that emigrated to the US when she was a teenager. She explores the challenges that young and beginning farmers, and farmers of color, are dealing with–especially during the global pandemic.
The Eastern Shoshone people traditionally survived with the buffalo, and their way of life suffered when tens of millions of buffalo were killed by the US government. But now they’re returning to the land–and starting to renew a culture.
When the “green revolution” offered the promise of better agriculture through chemical-intensive farming, J.I. Rodale was skeptical. He started an organic farm and then an institute to study how farming could improve the land and human health. Now they’re doing great work from coast to coast.
Hopi farmers must be doing something right: they have survived and grown their own food for hundreds of generations. We talk to Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson about their regenerative farming and cultural practices––and the challenges to maintaining them.
Betsy Gaines Quammen has been researching the history of Mormonism and its relationship to Western landscapes for years. We talk about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.
Water expert Brian Richter walks us through the history of these great man-made lakes, and how we can ensure that they will continue to provide water through man-made crises like climate change.
There’s plenty of food, but with Covid-19 it’s not getting where it needs to go, and everyone–especially farmers–is paying the price. Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons walks us through the problems–and some solutions–to the many dilemmas facing the food system.
Grazing on public lands is controversial–for good reason. But when it’s done right, adaptive grazing can greatly improve land health–from overgrazed land, to former oil fields, to bombing ranges. Gregory Horner tells the stories.
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz didn’t know they were cultivating soil health when they started doing Holistic Management of their livestock. But as they learned to work with nature rather than fighting it their soil–and their farm–began to thrive in ways they’d never dreamed of.
Farmer and writer Stanley Crawford got involved in a legal action that challenged a huge firm that wasn’t paying duties, and was “dumping” garlic onto the US market. What was supposed to take one year turned into a multi-year drama that is still ongoing.
Ronnie Cummins analyzes what’s not working about our food system and lays out a blueprint for change — while reminding us that regenerative agriculture is ultimately a necessity.