FIRST AMERICAN MADE
Today many hemp companies make hemp fabrics woven in the U.S. Many of these are new hemp fabrics using design elements unseen in hemp before. Using true hemp fibers, bought from farmer collectives in Canada, China and Poland, the collection makes use of the many natural colors (from blonde to brown, and gray) and textures (from rustic to silky and refined) of hemp. The fabrics, ranging from 9 to 13 ounces, also make use of subtle colors of yarn dyed cotton, and intricate dobby patterns.
Clothing, accessory, and home furnishing designers are actively seeking to work with hemp for its ecological appeal, durability , and natural fiber comfort but have been often disappointed with the imports available on the market. Before, only natural color fabrics were available with very little pattern variation or surface interest. By working domestically, we are able to design and manufacture hemp fabrics with a sophistication that designers demand.
The US is the only industrialized nation in the world that currently prohibits cultivation of true hemp, the industrial strain of Cannabis Sativa l. Grown since the first settlers came to the New World, the plant was banned in the US in 1937 due to a misclassification of hemp as a narcotic. Other countries quickly followed suit under pressure from the US. In the last five years, many nations have realized hempís potential as an ecological and valuable industrial raw material and lifted the ban. Canada fully legalized hemp this year.
People would like to also use hemp fibers grown in the US. Our fabrics symbolize the bitter irony of the current politics. Where else in the world can you import and process a crop that is illegal to grow?
Hemp as a Crop?
Think of it a crop that grows well almost anywhere, uses little or no pesticides or herbicides and can be used for over 25,000 products. What is this miracle crop? It is industrial hemp but for some reason the United States government has seen it fit to out law this potential billion dollar crop.
Industrial hemp was a thriving industry in the Untied States until it fell victim to the anti-drug movement in the 1930's. It became so hard to grow hemp because of legislation passed that the industry could not compete with the up and coming cotton and paper industries. Even though the industrial hemp grown has been proven to cause no psychoactive effects. Many have said that even if you smoked a whole field of industrial hemp you would not feel any effects.
Industrial hemp is also very environment friendly. Unlike many crops grown today hemp does not require vast amounts of herbicides to control weeds because it grows so thick and dense. This leaves the field clean after the harvest and ready for the next planting. Industrial hemp also does not require lots of pesticides like cotton and many food crops. This reduction in pesticide use would help elevate ground and runoff water problems. Industrial hemp is also very high yielding. Yielding three to eight tons of dry stock per acre. If used to make paper cultivating industrial hemp could save many of Americas forests from needless destruction.
England, France, China and many other countries are already using industrial hemp and with a lot of success. Many others are starting to study and experiment with industrial hemp but America still lags behind. I think it is time America takes a serious look into the many benefits of industrial hemp and releases its strangle hold on the hemp industry.
Hemp as a Crop? - Written by: North Dakota State University
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