Why Hemp is the Future of Sustainable Farming
Hemp is a gamechanger for the health of people and the planet. First Crop, a public benefit company dedicated to improving the health and wellness of people and the planet through the regenerative power of hemp, wants to kickstart the new agricultural revolution.
The company’s co-founder Michael Bowman is the founding chair of the National Hemp Association and a longtime advocate of hemp. He authored the 2014 Farm Bill Amendment, (Section 7606), which created the first legal framework for hemp cultivation since 1933. The amendment allowed states to grow hemp under pilot programs as long as it was legal.
Last December, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and legalizing it as an agricultural commodity.
Bowman told Cannabis Business Times that he believes industrial hemp is “the next big new idea,” offering “fiber, food, hemp proteins, animal feed, animal bedding, bioplastics, the ability to regenerate soil and the ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere at rates that can exceed general mature forests.”
Farmers in the U.S. are now growing hemp for the first time in 50 years. According to Hemp Today, the nation is now the third-largest cultivator of hemp in the world. Through its campaign Seed the Revolution, First Crop wants to help lead the change.
Hemp is a unique crop that can help shape a better future for family farms for generations to come.
Hemp can be cultivated in practically every environment, from New York to California. The hardy plants are pest-resistant so there’s no need for pesticides and herbicides, mature within months, and can produce additional crops, year after year.
There’s also a long list of ways that it can help the planet — because hemp can be grown locally, there’s less of a need to import it from far distances. Hemp seeds are a nutrient-rich source of food, containing high-quality plant-based protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. There’s also CBD oil — aka cannabidiol — the non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant that can address a growing list of health concerns, from chronic pain to anxiety and insomnia.
According to Forbes, the fibers of the versatile crop can also be used to make sustainable materials from biodegradable plastics to building materials.
It can also combat climate change: the hemp plant is ideal for nourishing nutrient-depleted soil and reversing the effects of erosion, making it ideal for crop rotation.
What Does First Crop Do?
Small to mid-sized farms are struggling. According to the USDA, 97 percent of the 2.1 million farms in rural America are family-owned. But soil degradation from industrial farming practices, water scarcity, and the changing climate are threatening these peoples’ livelihood.
First Crop believes that hemp is the solution. It subsidizes farmers to lower costs, provides them with high-quality hemp seeds, and educates them on best practices for organic cultivation and harvest. Farmers are guaranteed the purchase of their hemp crops at fair market prices and share in five percent of the profits. The company also gives back to the communities it empowers: ten percent is donated to the First Crop Foundation, which supports sustainable farming and efforts to fight hunger and homelessness.
Today, the company announced the launch of the Seed the Revolution campaign, designed to educate the public about the benefits of hemp and regenerative farming. Bowman believes the crop is key to both economic and environmental renewal. The Seed the Revolution campaign encourages consumers to put a stake in the ground and plant their own future with hemp—as well as their own first crop—alongside First Crop and to strengthen rural communities by empowering small and mid-sized farmers to grow and integrate this important crop into their cultivation activities.
Participants can join the campaign for a number of benefits including RCBD tinctures and body lotions, Seed the Revolution t-shirts and tickets to the inaugural First Crop Hemp Harvest Festival.
This article originally appeared in Live Kindly.