Back to Basics 2018 Presenter Focus: Zachary Paige to Talk on the Industrial Hemp Revolution

***If you haven’t had a chance to check out the presenters at this years Back to Basics (the 12th annual sustainability event), I highly recommend you hurry.***

We try to get a wide variety of workshop presenters. We stick with ones that have year after year sold out (I’m looking at you, Abbie!) We also like to make sure that new topics are introduced to bring a fresh feel to the event.

One presenter is looking to start a revolution.

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Zachary Paige is looking to start an industrial (hemp) revolution.

Zachary Paige, a first time presenter at this years’ Back to Basics, has a passion for spreading the word of industrial hemp.

Paige insists, “Products such as plastic, high protein food products, building materials – rope, hempcrete, fiberboard, as well as textiles can be made at an affordable price right here in America from a crop that yields well in organic systems.”

Hemp and marijuana are related, but are different strains of the same plant species. Paige explains on the White Earth Natural Resource Department website,

“The main differences between hemp and marijuana are the THC levels. Marijuana involves cannabis flowers that contain 5-10 percent or more of THC (which is responsible for the “high” effect), whereas hemp only contains .3 percent or less of THC by weight (which makes it impossible to get a significant psychoactive effect).”

Where medical and recreational marijuana has been less criminalized over the last few years and, indeed, usage has become more and more welcome into the mainstream, the industrial hemp has lagged behind. Paige believes that it’s only a matter of time before the industrial side of hemp catches up.

hempi-hemp-usesfor-hemp

These are just a few of the products that can come from industrializing hemp.

Paige believes that hemp has the potential to become an industrial staples in the United States, even supplanting crops such as cotton. Hemp is a great crop to grow in organic systems because the crop stand grows quicker than weeds, therefore there is no need to spray chemical herbicides that can harm pollinators and the environment.

Paige states, “There is a significant potential for the hemp industry in the United States but it will take a lot of infrastructure to make a profit. At this stage of the game (in the US), whoever puts in the biggest well-thought out investment will most likely reap the most benefits, but it will still take at least a few years to catch up to Canada, Europe, and China.”

hempcrete

Hempcrete can be used for construction and has an insulation and strength factor similar to regular concrete.

Back in 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture set up an industrial hemp pilot project due to the changes in the 2014 Farm Bill. The project’s goal was to get a feel for how well the industrial hemp seeds would perform.

Paige was involved in two separate projects in the White Earth area. Results are currently pending from the University of Minnesota, but having legislative approval for testing is a solid step in the direction towards opening up the industrial hemp market.

Paige continues, “The Hemp Industry is being created as we speak and we are all a part of the new hemp revolution.”

Mirroring that optimism, Paige hopes to introduce those interested in growing industrial hemp at his Back to Basics workshop. He will be covering the legal issues and history of the hemp industry. The bulk of the session will cover seed procurement, necessary equipment, harvesting technique, pressing for food-grade hemp oil, medicinal CBD processes, hemp fiber processing and everything you’ll need to get your own small to medium scale private program for the upcoming growing season.

If you’d like to see where this industry is heading, you’d best sign up for this session. Spots are filling up. To register and to find out more information, you can go to http://www.HappyDancingTurtle.org. If you’d like to learn more about the hemp industry in Minnesota, you can go to Paige’s website at www.whiteearth.com/hemp.html.

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