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Breaking Down the Hemp Crop ~ Part 2 ~ Hurd

Hemp Stalk

Have you hurd the news? Hemp crops yield abundant eco-friendly uses and heal the Earth during the growth cycle.

At the core of the hemp stalk is the hurd, a wood like material also referred to as shives.  It is surrounded by the hemp fibre or bast which you might have read about in our last blog post.

Hurd History

The uses of this part of the crop are astonishing.  From construction materials to paper products, the benefits are just starting to be enjoyed once again in the North American market.

While its roots go back milleniums, due to different laws and regulations, not all countries have been able to enjoy this resilient, eco-friendly raw material at liberty in the last century.

Luckily, with public awareness and evolving regulations surrounding hemp, it is only a matter of time before production gears up and positive impacts are realized yet again.

Saving Forests

Since hemp can be used to make paper, it relieves stress on forests as an alternative to clear cutting trees for consumer products. The cellulose rich centre of the crop combined with the strong hemp fibres create a long lasting, chemical free option in the paper industry.

Sustainable Building

Hempcrete is a wonderful option as a carbon neutral construction material.  When hemp hurd is mixed with water and lime, great things happen.  Canadian company Just BioFiber highlights details on the carbon sequestration features of their building block in this article.    

Making the Most of our Miracle Crop

The hemp stalk, made up of hurd and fibre, is already being commercialized in Canada, however we are nowhere near full capacity.  Entrepreneurs are coming together with innovative solutions, and amazing products are being created.

HempE founder, Cyndal Johnston, visited with Dan Madlung of BioComposites Group in Alberta who shed a little light on the end products derived from the hemp stalk.

Biomass Fuels

As if the above mentioned uses weren’t enough, the stalk can also be converted into hemp biomass as a fuel source.  In fact, Henry Ford reaped the reward of hemp as a fuel source near 100 years ago.  

You might be wondering, why didn’t the idea stick?  That’s a bit complicated and goes back to issues of legality and economics.  

The Future is Green

The more we learn about hemp, the more we fall in love with this miracle crop.  From its many uses to its carbon sequestration and soil cleaning capabilities, demand is inevitably going to grow.

Though its commercialization still faces constraints in some parts of the world, once those barriers are broken, we’ll be growing our way to a cleaner, greener future.

How do you support the hemp industry? Join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com

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Breaking Down the Hemp Crop ~ Part 1 ~ Fibre

Breaking Down the Hemp Crop ~ Part 1

Are you as impressed as we are with all the amazing uses of hemp?

In addition to the high nutritional value for humans and animals in this miracle crop, it’s also super healthy for the environment.

There are a many things that make this crop so wonderful. One of them is how much of the plant can be used to supply solutions to customer demands.  Since different parts of the plant have different benefits, we’re going to break it down one part at a time starting with the fibre.

Fibre

Also known as bast is one of the most productive parts of the plant.  It derives a great deal of products and is embraced for its excellent strength and durability.  The hemp plant produces both long and short fibre, each having its own uses.

Early Uses

One of the earliest uses of hemp fibre was for cordage on ships.  Its strength, durability, and resistance to rot made it a great option for sailors.

Another pioneer user of hemp fibre was Levi Strauss.  He gained popularity in Western USA during the gold rush offering a strong, resilient pants to miners.

Long Fibre

Taken from the exterior of the plant, the long fibre is considered the bark of the stalk.  It stretches the entire length of the plant, and can therefore produce a fibre over 10 feet in length – depending on the height of the finished crop.  

This makes it ideal for textiles as it offers a continuous “thread” which does not break down as quickly as its competitor, cotton.  Cotton fibres are less than 1% of that length, averaging 1-2mm.  This shorter length inevitably results in faster wear in cotton products.

The insulative effect of hemp fibre makes it an ideal multi-season garment as it keeps you cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter.  Its anti-bacterial properties also make it attractive as a textile, cordage, and paper product.

Short Fibre

Considered a secondary or bi-product of the long-fibre, as the name suggests, the difference is in its length.  Despite the short fibre not being as strong as the long fibre, it is still considered superior and stronger than many other fibres being used in the textile industry.

The short fibre is collected during the process of separating the fibre from the hurd in the hemp stalk.  This secondary product offers first class solutions to demand for products like textiles, paper products, auto-body parts, and building materials.

Attractive Alternative

Being able to use multiple parts of this miracle crop certainly makes it attractive.  The yield per acre planted increases, and waste decreases.  If you are a conscious customer looking for an environmentally friendly alternative that passes the quality test, hemp has you covered.

Beyond Fibre

As mentioned, the hemp plant provides many commercial uses.  Stay tuned for the next post all about the hemp hurd.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com

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Seeds are the Source of Life – Part 2

growing a vegetable garden

How is your garden growing?

It’s been about 2 weeks since posting Part 1 of this blog.  With the strong sun and warmer weather, plants will be gaining strength and starting to show growth.

Depending on what you have planted in the garden, you will likely see the next stages in the days and weeks to come.

If you are noticing that your plants are being nibbled, consider what might be eating the leaves.  If it’s slugs, try watering your garden in the morning.  Slugs like moist conditions and often come out at night.  If you water in the evening, you are creating more favorable conditions for them to thrive.

Slugs aren’t the only creatures that enjoy fresh leaves and healthy gardens.  Squirrels, rabbits, skunks, cats, and raccoons might all find their way into your plot of plants.  If possible, add some reinforcement to the area with chicken wire.

Now, onto the next stages of plant growth!

Budding

Another much anticipated phase in the growth process is when the first buds of your plant start to show.  This is a good time to introduce phosphorus into your soil to help stimulate this vital stage of crop growth.  

In understanding the pH level of your garden, you will avoid over fertilizing your crops.  Read through this informative article to get a better grasp of the science behind soil.

Flowering

The bud emerges, and a flower starts to show!  A good indicator that the fruit or vegetable isn’t too far behind.  Just like in the last two phases, natural fertilizer can be applied to your garden to help boost this stage of plant growth.   However, if you have already tended to your garden well in the earlier stages, your plants won’t need much more than water, sunshine, and love.

Ripening

It’s the moment every garden is waiting for. The crops begin to bear fruit, and the colours begin to turn.  Keep watering your plants throughout this stage to keep them hydrated, and help to flush out use of natural and organic fertilizers.  Being vigilant will help at this stage, since as mentioned, furry friends like fruits and vegetables too!  

Harvest

This is when all your hard work pays off.  You reap what you sow, and if you have taken all the right steps in your garden, you will enjoy the feast.  Harvest usually happens towards the end of Summer and into the Fall.    Plan out this stage well to allow enough time for you to pick your fruits and vegetables, and preserve them for months of enjoyment.

Learning as you Grow

While there are many stages to plant growth, each one is unique and rewarding.  By participating in the process, you begin to learn that seeds are micro miracles and the source of all life.   Enjoy yourself as you connect with the Earth and the food you grow!

We love hemp for its endless uses – what’s your favorite seed to plant? Join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com

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Hemp Offers a Healthy Harvest for Farmers

hemp for victory

Have you ever thought about why farmers grow the crops they do?  

While it has a lot to do with climate and soil type, market demand plays a large role in the ultimate decision. This is where you, the customer, comes into the picture.

Simple Economics

Supply and demand is a basic principle in economics, and decision makers take careful consideration when selecting which crops to plant for the year.  This very principle is a big reason as to why traditional crop farmers are choosing to grow hemp rather than canola in their fields.

You see, for a farmer to switch their annual crop from a tried and tested plant like canola, they need to be sure that there is a demand for their new crop of choice, and also that there is not too much supply to meet that demand.  The odds are in the hemp farmers favour since there is a growing demand for this super crop, and current supply is not over the top due to stricter regulations.

Healthy Harvest

Hemp is a favorable option for farmers looking to make the switch from a commonly grown crop to an innovative option.  Not only does hemp offer a healthy end product for customers, it is also great for soil and the atmosphere.   With an abundant list of benefits to growing and using hemp, you might wonder why more farmers aren’t planting it?

Though the plant itself has been grown across the globe for thousands of years, it’s faced some limitations in the last century due to being part of the cannabis sativa family.  Luckily, things are changing, and laws are loosening up surrounding the entire plant species due to its numerous advantages for people and the planet.

Industrial Hemp

The agricultural community is pondering the future of hemp as a crop option, often asking if it will grow to be more popular than canola.  While nobody can predict what’s to come, hemp pioneers are speaking up about this natural solution that is a substitute for petroleum based products and reduces dependency on trees for paper and cotton for clothes.  Imagine the possibilities once hemp reaches its full potential.

There is an important shift happening in Canada from a legal perspective, and hemp regulations are developing in the plant and planet’s favour.  While it is still regulated by Health Canada, the growing demand for use of the entire crop will push for updated legal treatment of a plant that is not a drug, but treated like one.

Demand Creates Supply

As Canadian citizens demand healthier options for ourselves and the Earth, policy makers will surely supply us with the right regulations to ensure that we aren’t missing the boat on an economic success story that’s an environmental win.

What do you think about the current status of hemp in Canada?  Join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com