With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of industrialized hemp production, many farmers, environmental scientists and sustainability advocates celebrated an eco-friendly win for the health of our planet. This caused a surge in hemp in the form of clothing, food products and even plastic alternatives that made hemp one of the most popular plants in recent years.
But, what is the hype really all about when it comes to hemp? Let’s dive in by starting with the basics.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant fiber that has been used for thousands of years and can be grown in a wide variety of climates and soils. In fact, hemp is grown on almost every continent and has been used historically for paper, textiles and as an excellent source of plant protein.
Due to the resilient versatility of hemp, it requires no pesticides or herbicides, as it is naturally pest-resistant and can even improve the health of the soil in which it’s planted. This is a huge win for our food system as so much of our soil today continues to be degraded and eroded from years of conventional crops and farming practices. Since hemp can be planted in many areas where other food crops are not capable of growing, it supports the soil’s health and suppresses weeds, which makes it an excellent rotation crop for organic farmers.
A Plant-Based Superfood Hero
While there are many environmental benefits to hemp, it’s also an incredibly nutrient-dense superfood that is full of antioxidants, protein and essential minerals. Hemp contains all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete plant-based protein and an excellent source for vegans and vegetarians. It’s also an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids (something we often don’t get enough of here in the states), which are essential for healthy cell maintenance and development. For these reasons and more, hemp is the nutrition powerhouse that you’ll want to add to your diet if you aren’t already. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to easily incorporate it into your every day —through the full range of Navitas Organics products, including Hemp Seeds, Hemp Protein Powder, Essential Blends and Power Snacks.
An Eco-Friendly Plastic Replacement
Plastic is a huge problem facing our world today and the need for biodegradable, non-petroleum based plastic products has never been more pressing. Our environment simply cannot sustain the demand and rate at which we are using plastic, which means that we need an eco-friendly alternative. Luckily for us, hemp serves as part of the solution.
Since hemp is such a fibrous plant and is roughly made up of 80 percent cellulose fiber, it makes for a perfect alternative to petroleum-based plastic products (which also require cellulose). While hemp-based plastic products have been around for decades, the technology surrounding these biodegradable plastic alternatives has greatly improved and is picking up momentum in industries looking to move away from petroleum-based plastics altogether.
A Sustainable Clothing Solution
While you may feel like you’ve only recently started hearing more about hemp-based clothing, this amazing plant has actually been used around the world for thousands of years to produce textiles—from bed linens and clothing to rope and canvas. Today, hemp-based clothing is a great option for those looking to avoid synthetic fabrics and the harmful chemicals that are widely used throughout the conventional cotton industry. You may even find that hemp is being used in combination with other natural fibers to create a durable piece of clothing that also has the soft texture commonly associated with cotton or bamboo.
So, whether you’re adding Hemp Seeds to your daily smoothie, wearing hemp clothing or reducing your plastic use with some biodegradable hemp products, you will definitely see a whole lot more hemp this year and beyond. But, it's no secret that at Navitas, they're no strangers to hemp. It's been one of their staple superfoods in the form of seeds and powder for more than 10 years!