Beatrice in Victoria
How times have changed! 18 years ago when we had a licence to grow industrial hemp, there was only one variety of seed we could get, no harvesting nor processing machinery.
Last Tuesday I was invited to rural Victoria to speak to a growing number of farmers (over 140) who wanted to learn about industrial hemp farming, regulations and the markets they could sell to.
Speakers covered a range of applications including hemp houses by Southern Hemp, creating very interesting effects utilising oxides.
Hemp beer made of the roasted seeds and protein powder was also well received by all.
I took along a display of Hemp Gallery products including textiles, food and skincare to touch, feel and taste as the locals had not seen products made of hemp before.
People were amazed at how soft hemp fabrics could be these days. Gone are the days of scratchy hemp fisherman pants. Hemp silk blends are sheer and stunning.
There were cattle runners, dairy farmers, fruit and vegetable farmers, poppy growers all wanting to learn more about this new burgeoning industry and how it could be grown in rotation with other crops.
Cathy and Andrew Briant generously hosted the successful event on their farm at Neerim to share what they have learned during the hemp trials, as well as collectively looking into the development of farming and processing machinery to be able to cope with long and strong hemp fibres.
There were representatives from CSIRO and Biosecurity. Over the years almost every University in Australia including CSIRO have been applying Research and Development into hemp paper, hemp/wool blended textiles, biodegradable hemp plastics, geotextiles, gyprock and timber replacement to name a few.
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.