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The 4 "F"s of hemp

Food, Fiber, Fuel, Foundation

Industrial Hemp is one of the most versatile agricultural crops on the planet. There are Four parts of the Hemp plant, and each one of them is a valuable component.  We’re going to look at the four ways that we can benefit from all parts of the hemp plant.

 

FOOD

 Hempseed, the first part of the plant, is a healthy source of all the good things in a meal.  Click here to learn more about the Health Benefits.   Just adding a dash of Ben’s Hemp will add protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to any meal.  Hemp can also be used as a flour.  Just substitute about 10% hemp flour into a normal recipe to add health benefits to any recipe.  Use hulled hempseed to add to any recipe without hardly affecting the taste or texture.  The oil can be used in salad dressings and makes a great vinaigrette.    There are so many different ways that hemp can be eaten, and it is so packed with nutrition, that the first part of the plant is the seed and the use, is the first F- Food.

Hemp photo

FIBER

The outside of the hemp stalk, the bark, or the bast, is the second part of the hemp plant.  For thousands of years, this has been one of humanity’s primary sources of strong, high quality fiber.   At one point, the word hemp even became synonymous for strong fiber, and other crops had the word hemp tacked on, just to make them sound stronger.  Sisal hemp, manila hemp, abaca hemp, jute hemp, were all confusing the word hemp for other plants.  Only cannabis sativa was ever known as "true hemp."

Among the characteristics of hemp fiber are its superior strength and durability: it is the longest and strongest of any natural fiber.   It has stunning resistance to rot, which madehemp integral to the shipping industry, but today, this translates to antimicrobial clothing that resists odors and requires less washing.  Hemp is breathable, so it keeps you cool in the summer, but is also highly insulative, keeping you warm in the winter.  Hemp also protects your skin from harmful UV rays, which can penetrate through cotton and synthetic fibers.     

Hemp fiber also contains a low amount of lignin, the organic glue that binds plant cells, which allows for environmentally friendly bleaching without the use of chlorine.  The majority of hemp products don’t use any harsh chemicals in production, while most other clothes on the market, such as cotton or polyester, use huge amounts of toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and petroleum byproducts.  Because hemp is the strongest  natural fiber on the planet, the second part and use of hemp is as a Fiber. 

FUEL

Inside the fiberous outside of the plant, is a woody interior, sometimes called the shiv or hurds, which make the third part of the plant.  This is often thrown away when the fiber or seed is harvested, but it can be also be a valuble part of the plant. 

Composed of almost pure cellulose, this can be a raw material for a number of different materials.  is the major component to a number of materials.  Cellophane plastic used to be made from cellulose, and today, hemp is used to make different types of biodegradable plastics.  Any paper product, from newspapers to books to boxes to toilet paper, can all be made from raw cellulose.  Cellulose can also be used to make building materials from particle board to a type of concrete called Hemcrete.  Cellulose can even be tuned into high octane, ethanol fuel!
Automobile innovator Henry Ford was a pioneer in using hemp for high-tech applications.  In the early 1900’s, Ford created a car body from a bio-composite material made of mostly hemp. In this video, Ford’s tests show that is both lighter and STRONGER than steel

 He also experimented using hemp as a fuel.  He already could see that cars would require huge amounts of fuel, and Ford wanted this fuel to be sustainable and even grown from the earth.  Ford was a dedicated hemp advocate, and the auto industry may have yet to fully catch up to his ideas, which may have been ahead of their time….

The third part of the hemp plant, the inner, woody hurds, have hundreds of uses.  But one with the most potential, cellulosic ethanol, makes the third use of hemp, Fuel.


FOUNDATION

The fourth part of the plant is a part we can’t actually see, yet should not be forgotten as an important and beneficial part of the  plant.  This is the root system.  What keeps a slender stalk of hemp to stand upright over 15 feet without bending over?  Hemp’s deep root system helps to sequester carbon, prevent erosion, and can even has healing properties, as illustrated in by Hemp-EaZe.

Most importantly, the hemp root system is great for the soil, which is why hemp farming is so beneficial from a farmer's perspective.  Hemp naturally outcompetes with weeds, so no need for herbicides.  Hemp doesn't require chemical fertilizers either, which can take a harsh toll on the farmer's valuable topsoil.  Subsequently, hemp does not deplete the soil's natural nutriets, which makes it a great rotational crop.  In fact, if a farmer were to grow hemp before he or she grows soy, they would actually get more soy from the same land!

The hemp plant, because of it's strong and relient root system, can even be used for phytoremediation.  Special plants are used to absorb harmful chemicals, heavy metals, oil, even nuclear particles.  Contaminated land can pose a major health risk, and hemp can help reverse the harmful effects of industrial processes that put chemicals into the soil and groundwater.    Hemp was used in Chernobyl help eliminate the nuclear health hazards, and is even being studied in Australia to clean sewage water!

The fourth part of the hemp plant is the root system, the fourth F is Foundation, because hemp's foundation has benefits for another important F, American FARMERS.

Every part of the hemp plant should be utilized for the amazing products that can be made, and for the environmental benefits that are inherently part of using hemp.  This is why American Farmers must be able to grow hemp, so that American manufactureres can process the different parts of the plant, so that we can build a domestic infrastructure that makes the best hemp products in the world! Ben is a huge advocate for American hemp farming, and works tirelessly to make it a reality.  Until then, the best thing you can do is to buy hemp.  Voting with your dollars raises the demand for hemp products and shows how many people really want hemp to be grown.  There are also other things you can do to be part of the hemp movement, visit Votehemp.com to learn more. 


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