I have been involved in the development of NY’s Hemp industry for almost two years; it is not easy to impress me with an event or a panel. Yet, I am still mesmerized by Part One of the Hemp NY City event put together by Mia Feroleto and Susie Cody last Saturday at the historic Cooper Union.
As I walked into The Great Hall, fashionably late, the event was already in progress, but instead of rushing to grab a seat, I was pulled in by a large American Flag that was laid out on a table not far from the entryway. I had to feel it! I knew it was made out of Hemp!
Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, was giving a well rounded overview of the industry as it currently stands. I was very impressed by his involvement and relationships with local, state and federal officials spanning our whole nation. We felt a real sense of progress taking place.
Next spoke the pioneering Hemp Farmers, Joel Bedard of Vermont and later, Mike Lewis of Kentucky.
Joel shared stories of his perseverance and of breaking through nonsensical laws, to become the largest Hemp Farmer in the North East. Leading by example, he has been able to significantly influence Hemp reform in Vermont. His genuineness and sense of humor made the inspirational presentation a real treat.
Mike Lewis started off by quoting from a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave on the very same stage of The Great Hall. Mike, an honored veteran, is an experienced farmer who with his organization Growing Warriors trains, assists and equips veteran families with skills, tools, and supplies needed to grow high quality organic produce. His warm-hearted approach did not simplify his path of Hemp cultivation, as various agencies did their best to intimidate him from growing a crop which our Founding Fathers grew. It was his Hemp that The American Flag at the entry of The Great Hall was made of. Mike and his Hemp-Compatriots used the same method as Betsy Ross did when making the First American Flag, which was also made out of Hemp. It was no surprise that this flag had such authentic energy; a flag that was Grown and Made in the USA, as the Founding Fathers intended.
Jamie Petty, the founder of Indiana’s Hemp Industries Association, gave a fact-filled presentation that went over countless applications of this fast-growing plant and featured hundreds of products that improve our health and our planet. She covered everything from essential nutrition, clothing, skin care, and even BMW door panels.
Finally, Tim Callahan gave his best-ever presentation during which he enlightened the audience about Hempcrete; a mold-resistant building material with high insulation properties that diminish the need for toxic materials currently used. Tim featured a very impressive montage of all the Hemp-based structures that he and his firm, Alembic Studio, have helped developed in the USA and abroad. We are truly honored to be collaborating with Tim to build HempHome: Tiny+, a project by GreenBuilt LLC which we will unveil soon.
A great bonus was having Rick Trojan and The Hemp Road Trip Bus parked outside, in Cooper Square. Rick’s farm grows nearly 300 acres of Hemp in Colorado, making him the largest Hemp-Farm in the United States. He spends most of his time on the road with his dedicated Hemp-Compatriots, crossing the country, visiting presidential campaigns and raising Hemp-Awareness everywhere along the way. There are a lot of cool Hemp products to check out on that bus!
I highly recommend watching the recordings of this event. Let me know if interested and I will gladly link you once they are posted up on YouTube. For now, you can check out the pictures from the event by Todd Hinden and a few shots I took.
The audience was very enthusiastic and asked pertinent questions, yet the attendance at the event was too light, given the significance of this special plant. Thus, it is all of our responsibility to share this plant’s history and knowledge with everyone. It’s hard to imagine that the second panel, this upcoming Saturday, will be able to supersede the first, but I know minds will be blown. If you are in the City and available, come to Cooper Union. You will understand how Hemp will help our health, our economy and our planet.
You can get the event info at www.hempnycity.com