Cannabis Sativa L. is the scientific name for hemp, a versatile plant grown since ancient times.
Amongst industrial hemp varieties, different breeds have been developed depending on the end use: tall plants (up to 4 meters) for fibre only, shorter plants (about 2 to 3 meters) for seed only, and others that offer both a seed and fibre harvest from the same plant. Hemp fibre is the strongest natural fibre known, with a strength to weight ratio greater than steel.
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutrient dense foods available, and provide the best protein source for human health. Like sunflower seeds, hemp is a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell. Once removed from the shell, the nut can be eaten raw or pressed to create hemp oil. Hempco® uses a number of unique processes to ensure that the shelling, cleaning and pressing are done gently, thoroughly, and at a cool temperature to protect nutritional values. The result is an exceptionally clean, flavourful product with an optimum nutritional profile.
Why do we consider hemp to be a perfect food?
- Easy to digest: Unlike many grains, legumes and nuts, hemp contains no enzyme inhibitors, and the seeds do not need to be soaked or sprouted before being consumed in order to get their full nutritional benefit.
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): EFAs are called “essential” because they are necessary for many metabolic processes, and are not produced by the body itself. They are distinct from fats that are used only as fuel. The two fatty acids essential for humans are alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Hemp is not only an excellent source of these two EFAs, but it also provides them in an ideal ratio of about 3:1 for Omega 6 to Omega 3.
- Essential Amino Acids: Our bodies consist of about 75% protein, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids are those which our bodies are not capable of making and which must come from our food. Hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids, and significant quantities of non-essential amino acids that are also nutritionally important.
Given the last 100 years, it’s easy to think that growing, using or eating hemp is new or unusual. In fact, the opposite is true: the history of human cultivation of hemp goes back at least 10,000 years. The oldest surviving piece of fabric, made some 8,000 years ago, uses hemp fibre. When the Chinese invented paper about 2000 years ago, they used hemp. Hemp has been grown as a crop on every continent but Antarctica. Until the late 19th century, shipping depended completely on ropes and sails made of hemp—the word “canvas” is derived from “cannabis,” the Latin word for hemp.
Henry Ford saw a future where cars with hemp-based plastic and fibre bodies would run on hemp oil-based fuel. Narcotic laws introduced in the 1930s to prohibit the production or use of marijuana also put an end to industrial hemp in North America. Only during the Second World War was the prohibition on industrial hemp in the U.S. temporarily lifted when offshore sources became unavailable.
In certain parts of Europe and in China, hemp cultivation never stopped.
Watch this amazing video on Hemp’s History and its 10,000 uses.
Many factors have helped contribute to the recent rapid increase in hemp use and production. More and more consumers have come to appreciate the nutritional and health benefits of hemp. Manufacturers are recognizing the many uses—new and old—of hemp fibres. They see the value of a strong, versatile fibre that is relatively inexpensive, completely renewable and environmentally beneficial. Farmers see it as a high-value crop that requires little if any fertilizer or pesticide. As prohibitions against marijuana have been relaxed in more and more jurisdictions, it is easier for farmers in those areas to add commercial hemp to their crop rotation.
At the moment, the supply of hemp cannot keep up with the growing demand. One of the largest barriers to increased production is that during the years of “hemp prohibition,” little progress was made in breeding new genetic strains adapted to specific growing regions or end uses. And although hemp is not difficult to grow, there has been comparatively little research in developing machinery and processes to efficiently harvest hemp and prepare a consistently high quality product.
Hempco® has long played a key role in creating new means of processing hemp seeds to ensure they offer the purest, cleanest and highest quality oil, seeds, and protein powder available today.
Hemp is an annual broadleaf plant with a long taproot. Under ideal conditions, it grows very rapidly—fast enough to outgrow most weeds. If densely planted, it creates enough shade to block light from reaching the weeds, thus killing them off. It is also vigourous enough to withstand many insect pests. Under proper growing conditions it needs neither herbicides nor pesticides. All hemp seed is non-GMO: unlike corn, soy or cotton, it thrives without any need for genetic manipulation.
Hemp also returns as much as 70% of the nutrients in each plant back to the soil in the form of unused parts of the stem, leaves, roots, and tops, ready to help fertilize the next crop. The deep taproot also helps loosen soil, and protect against erosion. Beyond its value as a rotation crop, it also has a remarkable ability to remove heavy metals, chemical contaminants and even radioactive elements from soil. The plant can then safely be used for non-food purposes such as fibre and biofuel.
Hemp is unusual in that it can be a profitable crop even when used for soil decontamination. Although hemp is widely considered to be able to grow under poor conditions, for successful food and fibre production it needs well drained, loamy soil and sufficient water, particularly in the first six weeks. It also needs adequate soil nutrients, comparable to those required to grow corn.
With years of experience in the hemp industry, and working closely with farmers in several regions across Canada, Hempco® has long recognized the need for a crop production system that goes beyond conventional or certified organic.
Conventional agriculture is 100% dependent upon GMOs, chemical fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides of all descriptions. This leads to a loss of natural soil fertility, declining nutritional quality of food, toxic residue buildup in the food chain, and increasing input costs.
Certified organic addresses many of the concerns of conventional agriculture, but it still may mean farmers are trying to grow nutritious crops in depleted soils lacking natural fertility.
The SAFE program can be described as a blended common sense approach to crop production. The SAFE program adheres to the best parts of organic standards. It does not allow the use of xenobiotic substances (foreign to nature), GMOs, pesticides or man-made chemicals in crop production. SAFE does allow for the use of moderate amounts of concentrated conventional fertilizers to supplement the essential nutritional needs to meet crop demands with specific www.bioagronics.com products such as fulvic and humic acids, probiotics and enzyme active ingredients.
This is proven to reduce weeds, soil compaction and salinity and increase fertilizer efficiency thereby attracting more living organisms for a healthy vigorous crop that is more resistant to disease and has improved crop yields of 10-30% in the first year. This common sense approach utilizes inputs that will improve soil fertility and crop production without the reliance of toxic chemicals that may have residue issues or other side effects. This means safer and healthier nutrient dense food for us.