Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tai'an establishes first Academy Workshop of Hemp Weaving


The first Academy Workshop of Hemp Weaving kicked off in Tai'an city, Shandong province, on April 22. Lead by Yao Mu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the workshop will focus on research and development in the weaving industry. It will boost the development of local weaving companies and accelerate the application of modern technology, according to
The workshop will take advantage of local natural resources and the weaving industry and help incubate innovation. Jinfeihong Weaving Co, one of the outstanding participants, will play as the body of this workstation.
Yao Mu, a pioneer in the textile material field, has been working on textile material and imitation wool technology. With the help of Yao and the workshop, Jinfeihong will focus on developing environment-friendly materials for space, yachts and automobiles.
At the same time, the workshop can help the local industry cultivate talent, expand its business platform, establish standards and push innovation. Tai'an is expected to develop more local companies with core technology and a better competitive edge.

Eating Seeds: Metaphysical Murder?

By Anneli Rufus

In a sense, eating seeds feels wrong.
It feels criminal. Sinful, physically and metaphysically -- because every seed holds the literal potential for not only the next generation of plants but the next and the next and the next: That is, for future plants in perpetuity, which is to say life on earth forever, including human life.
With every seed we eat, however tiny, how much health and sustainability do we deny our descendants? How much less beautiful will the earth be without all the golden flax and countless pumpkins whose existence we deny with every seed we crunch between our teeth? That cheap snack you devoured at the bus stop: How many future Vincent Van Goghs will now be denied their fields of glorious yellow sunflowers to paint?
Does anyone here remember that epiphanic Gilligan's Island episode in which the castaways plant a vegetable garden and the Professor says, "If these seeds die, we die?"
It's true. Eating seeds is a form of murder, but deal with it -- because eating seeds has become very trendy indeed. Pro-paleo? Our prehistoric ancestors ate seeds. That was wise, because recent studies suggest that hemp seeds counter fatigue and boost the immune system, that hemp seeds are very high in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, that chia seeds promote heart and liver health, and that roasted apricot kernels are antioxidant powerhouses, as are pumpkin and sesame seeds.
So now dishes featuring whole complete seeds are popping up in chic restaurants such as Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room in Beverly Hills, where Chef Stephen Kalt serves a roasted beet-avocado-arugula-pumpkin-seed salad. Chef Bryan Moscatello of Chicago's Storefront Company serves quail with egg, endive, apricot kernels and coupole. Chef Gonzalo Rivera at Sausalito's Copita Tequileria y Comida uses whole pumpkin seeds -- aka pipián -- in a ceviche (depicted above) that is fueled by Kümmel, the caraway-seed liqueur. At San Francisco's Baker & Banker, chefs Jeff Banker and Lori Baker serve sesame brittle with a new salad that incorporates avocado, farmers' cheese, sprouts, greens and Banyuls vinaigrette. Chef Matt Christianson of Portland, Oregon's Urban Farmersteakhouse serves pickled rhubarb and chia-seed crackers with his scallop crudo. At San Francisco's Michael Mina, executive chef Ron Siegel serves caviar and octopus alongside sesame-seed-topped farro crackers, as depicted below. This is just the start of something very seedy.
Seed dishes scatter the menu at San Francisco's Plant Café Organic: Executive Chef Sascha Weiss offers five-spice sesame-seed-crusted pan-seared tempeh; Meyer lemon sorbet with lemon poppyseed cookies; roasted baby carrots with Moroccan spices, sunflower seeds and sprouts; and spinach salad with goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and Champagne vinaigrette.
"I'm always looking to different foods to bring crunch -- especially when toasted -- and texture and mouthfeel to my cooking," Weiss told me. "Whole seeds do this with the added benefit encompassing huge nutritional value."
Across the bay at Oakland's Picán, Chef Sophie Uong serves a benne-seed sauce -- and lima-bean/chickpea fritters, fried artichokes, pepper chow chow and hickory-smoked eggplant puree -- with arbol chile-grilled lamb chops. "Benne" derives from the Malinke word for the plant otherwise known as sesame; benne wafers were popular in the Colonial South. 
"We are using benne seeds, aka unhulled sesame seeds, pounded together with water, lemon juice and garlic to make a tahini-type sauce," Uong said. "I'm waiting for a delivery of benne flour from Anson Mills to add to our temperamental fritters.
"We also use sprouted basil seeds for our fried green tomato, burrata, and basil pistou dish. I have chia seeds in-house as well, but they don't sprout as well as the basil seeds I grew up drinking. Basil seeds are pretty tasteless; however, we use them often to garnish a plate after they have been bloomed and turned into a vinaigrette.
"We use fennel seeds, fenugreek, cumin, and coriander to marinate our pork shanks overnight before we dust them with garbanzo flour and braise them in bourbon, molasses, and root beer. The fenugreek has an unusual bitterness that I like," Uong went on.
"We are working on a Southern-style pepitoria of benne seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and roasted peanuts. I have used this before to garnish grilled gulf shrimp with collard green mojo. We also make a sweet version, candied, for dessert streusel."
Seed-studded artisanal chocolates and baked goods are now ubiquitous. Seeds pack the dense rye bread -- aka rugbrød -- that is the essential foundation of Danish open-faced sandwiches, aka smørrebrød, which are experiencing a renaissance of their own:
The idea of adding spoonsful of seeds to nearly everything -- salads, smoothies, French toast, cakes, even sandwiches (although you have to mush them into the mustard to keep them from falling out) first came to me recently at Food Fete, where I met the folks from hemp-seed companyManitoba Harvest and from One Degree Organic Foods. The former sells nutty-tasting shelled hemp seeds, as depicted above in the Hello Kitty spoon. The latter sells organic and "veganic" (that is, grown without the use of any animal by-products) seeds and tasty seed-studded breads.
"Farmers who grow organic seeds constantly battle birds for their carefully cultivated crops," One Degree's VP Danny Houghton said. The very purpose of scarecrows is "to try and keep birds from helping themselves to too many seeds from the farmer's crop."
A mature hemp crop "looks exactly like marijuana," because "hemp is a very close cousin to marijuana, minus the THC -- which, when smoked, gives marijuana users their high," Houghton explained. One of his Canadian hemp-seed suppliers told him this funny story:
"A bunch of the local high school kids had gone out into his field one night after the hemp-seed crop was rather mature and tried to smoke the hemp. Our farmer's son and daughter drove out after hearing some noise in the field and surprised the small group, who immediately made their getaway. It was rumored around school the next day that all they got for their efforts were headaches, much to the enjoyment of our farmer and his family. Hemp is really an incredibly nutritious seed. ... Better to eat it than try to smoke it!"
Farro-cracker photograph courtesy of Michael Mina. Ceviche photograph by Yasemin Sussman. Flax and hemp-seed photographs by Anneli Rufus. Smorrebrod photograph by Kristan Lawson. All images used with permission.

Ramshackel trades grip tape for hemp skateboard carpet

By: CC Weiss

Ramshackel woven hemp skateboard grip
Ramshackel woven hemp skateboard grip

If you've seen a skateboard, you've probably seen grip tape, the typically black, sandpaper-like covering that adheres to the top of the board. As its name reveals, grip tape helps to provide more traction for staying stable on the board. Australian skating outfit Ramshackel believes that the grip tape market is in need of an update, which it provides with a woven hemp kit.

Ramshackel says the problem with grip tape is inherent: It wasn't originally designed to cover skateboards but to line stairs and slippery floor surfaces. While it works okay for skateboarding, Ramshackel believes that it's time to move past some of grip tape's shortcomings by offering a traction pad meant for skateboarding, and only skateboarding.
Unlike standard paper grip tape, which can be torn or ripped by hand, Ramshackel FGT Series woven hemp is durable enough that anyone other than Wolverine will have trouble tearing through it without a blade of some kind. The added durability is designed for reliable, long-lasting performance.
Installation of Ramshackel grip tape is fairly work-intensive and time-consuming when compared to the peel-stick-cut nature of regular grip tape. It takes at least two days to get it done.
The kit starts with a two-sided tape that's placed on the deck and then cut to size. Up until that point, it plays out similarly to installing traditional grip tape, but the process is just getting started instead of being complete. The 18-step process outlined on Ramshackel's website includes sticking the hemp grip to the tape, adding three coats of non-slip liquid compound, sprinkling in one of several grades of included powdered grip aggregate, and cutting the hemp to size.
Those who want to ride barefoot without a gritty, rough surface have things a little easier in only needing two coats of non-slip compound and no powder, but it's still a time-consuming process.
The kit includes the fabric, two-sided tape, compound and several grades of grip aggregate...

Ramshackel grip certainly won't be great for those that want to slap on a gritty sticker and get out to the skatepark, but in addition to being more durable than other grip tapes, the grip is renewable. Once the grittiness wears off and the deck smooths out, the skater can simply add more compound and grip aggregate, rather than replacing the tape. Grip tape isn't necessarily expensive, but removing it can be a pain, so being able to "refresh" it should prove much easier to folks that regularly rip or wear out tape but don't want to constantly replace the whole deck.
Ramshackel was a finalist for an ISPO BrandNew Award for the FGT design. Its kits are available now in four colors: natural, black, blue tie dye and red tie dye. They retail for AUS$40 to $60 (about the same when converted to US dollars), depending upon size. Ramshackel also plans to expand its line with more colors and styles in the future.
The idea for a better, renewable grip tape sounds good, but the price seems steep. You can buy a new skate deck for the price Ramshackel is charging for its FGT kit and add a piece of grip tape for $5. And what happens if and when you break a deck with $40 worth of FGT hemp on it? Ramshackel's director Craig Harris confirmed that the company has not tried to remove an FGT grip from one skateboard and put it on another, so it's possible that a broken board will equate to a lost Ramshackel.
The quality seems like it's there, but Ramshackel may need to streamline the kit (by only offering one type of aggregate, for example) and bring the price down for it to catch on. Harris told us that Ramshackel is mindful of the price and is hoping to ramp up investment dollars to buy materials in bulk and/or license its design to a larger skate company to manufacture and distribute on its own.
Ramshackel hopes to expand its line into all kinds of different colors and designs

High on Environmentalism, Hemp, Inc. Acquires Scrubnuts, Inc.

Press Release

LAS VEGAS, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP), continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional hemp-derived products to consumers worldwide, acquired Scrubnuts, Inc., a company specializing in providing "fun-raising" clothing to the medical field.
Under the terms of the agreement, the transaction value is $135,000 plus two million shares of stock. The acquisition is already proving to be successful as the first $100,000 sale has been made by Hemp, Inc.'s CEO, Bruce Perlowin.
"This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of branded clothing with Hemp, Inc.'s unique and unparalleled creativity for marketing across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value," said David Koral, Scrubnuts previous owner.
Perlowin, a 45-year veteran in the hemp industry, purchased the scrub company to provide sustainable, eco-friendly clothing made of natural fibers that are durable, elastic, and antimicrobial and transform it into the future clothing line of medical professionals worldwide.
Scrubnuts, originally owned by David Koral and Levi Koral, had successfully been making healthcare more joyful through fun clothing aimed at raising the spirit of patients and caregivers in clinical settings.
"Scrubs used to be white--the color of cleanliness. Then, one influential doctor switched to green thinking it would be easier on a surgeon's eyes plus, green has a very calming, soothing effect," said Perlowin.
"These scrubs will be the future of hemp clothing and I'm excited. We've been talking of partnering with the right clothing company over the years... Cartel Blue and many others. The future of hemp clothing will continue to ease suffering and promote healing through laughter and humor," said Perlowin.
Under Perlowin's leadership, Scrubnuts will evolve and pioneer into an even more advanced worldwide market with hemp scrubs, nurse's jackets, lab coats and more. In fact, Perlowin plans to donate an enormous amount of these scrubs to his Child Legacy project as one of the Benefactors of Humanity.
Also, Perlowin plans to give 10 percent of the sales proceeds to Patch Adams' Gesundheit Institute to aid in building a multi-million dollar free hospital in West Virginia. The institute is a not-for-profit health care organization specializing in holistic medical care based on the belief that one cannot separate the health of the individual from the health of the family, the community, the world, and the health care system itself.
Moreover, the acquisition of Scrubnuts will provide an outlet of sustainable clothing made of natural fabric for more eco-friendly clothing. The physical advantages of hemp fiber are its length, strength, durability, elasticity, and ability to withstand high temperatures without degeneration. It also has antimicrobial properties, as hemp is resistant to the growth of Aspergillus Niger... a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. It causes a disease called black mold and is ubiquitous in soil, commonly reported from indoor environments. Furthermore, hemp can be grown without or very minimal herbicides and pesticides.
In comparing hemp to cotton, a textile used in producing many garments, studies show cotton uses about 50% of the world's toxic crop chemicals and not only is hemp stronger, but it lasts longer, is more absorbent, warmer, breathes better, and is more microbially-resistant. Not to mention, hemp requires only a third as much water as cotton to grow and only a tiny fraction of the fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide that cotton does.
According to Van B. Klingeren, in PubMed, "The chemical components in hemp are able to kill microorganisms including: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus viridans, Pneumococcus Cornyebacterium diphteriae, Bacillus anthracis, and Mycobacterium." Indeed, Hemp, Inc. is on the forefront and leading the trend in hemp clothing.
Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) focuses on the vast market created by the quickly emerging, and growing, multibillion dollar industrial hemp industry. Hemp, Inc. is not involved in the cultivation or marketing of medical marijuana. It is the company's belief that legalization of hemp in all 50 states and at the federal level will come to pass. With that in mind, the company is building infrastructure with the potential to gain substantial market share before and after industrial hemp prohibition ends. (Pending any federal licensing or other requirements, that may be enacted after hemp prohibition ends).
Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) seeks to benefit many constituencies, not exploit or endanger any group of them. Thus, the publicly-traded company believes in the "upstreaming" of a portion of profit from the marketing of their finished hemp goods back to its originator, in which most cases will one day be the American farmer, cultivating natural, sustainable products. By Hemp, Inc. focusing on comprehensive investment results--that is, with respect to performance along the interrelated dimensions of people, planet, and profits-- our triple bottom line approach can be an important tool to support sustainability goals.
CEO of Hemp, Inc., Bruce Perlowin, is positioning the company as a leader in the industrial hemp industry, with a social and environmental mission at its core. In fact, he wanted to, consciously, found a business with non-financial goals that were not an after-thought, but are part of its DNA.
Phone: 1-877-221-8351
SOURCE Hemp, Inc.
/Web site:

Colorado hemp grower to plant historic first U.S. crop in decades

By Steve Raabe

Ryan Loflin, owner of Colorado Hemp, is leasing 60 acres of his father's alfalfa farm in Springfield to plant hemp and install a press to squeeze the oil from the seeds. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Ryan Loflin plans to make history, becoming the nation's first commercial-scale hemp grower in almost 60 years. In a few days, he will plant his hemp crop on a farm in the far southeastern corner of Colorado. Loflin and a handful of other growers are set to capitalize on hemp's new legal status in Colorado.

Plenty of financial, operational and legal challenges lie ahead. But cultivating the marijuana look-alike is no novelty pursuit for Loflin, who owns a company called Colorado Hemp. He sees it as a commodity that one day could help reverse the sagging fortunes of rural Colorado.

"I believe this is really going to revitalize and strengthen farm communities," said Loflin, 40, who grew up on a farm in Springfield but left after high school for a career in construction.

Now he returns, leasing 60 acres of his father's alfalfa farm to plant the crop and install a press to squeeze the oil from hemp seeds. He'll have a jump on other farmers, with 400 starter plants already growing at an indoor facility prior to transplanting them in the field.

Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but contains little or no THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana.

The sale of hemp products in the U.S.— including food, cosmetics, clothing and industrial materials — reached an estimated $500 million last year, according to the Hemp Industries Association.

Yet because of a federal prohibition on growing, all hemp used in U.S. products is imported from foreign countries.

With the November passage of Amendment 64, which legalized hemp in addition to small amounts of marijuana, Colorado becomes a test case on the issue of how much muscle the federal government will flex against states with legal cannabis.

"Once this market is really able to develop — when the feds get out of the way and eliminate the regulatory hurdles — there is definitely potential for measurable economic impact," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association.

Springfield banker Jay Suhler allows that there could be economic impact eventually, but don't count him among the boosters yet. He remains circumspect — even with the drought-induced depression that has afflicted southeast Colorado for much of the past decade.

"We're a conservative bunch around here," said Suhler, manager of Frontier Bank.

"I imagine we'd probably stick with our core crops of corn and milo and wheat," he said. "The first few years you try a new crop, it can be pretty iffy. But in a few years, who knows what might happen?"

Two hundred miles north of Springfield, Yuma County corn farmer Mike Bowman also is preparing to plant hemp this year.

Bowman has been a frequent visitor to Washington, D.C., seeking to persuade federal officials to end the hemp prohibition that makes prospective Colorado growers technically criminals.
A hemp-legalization bill is pending this year in Congress, with bipartisan support.

Until the federal-state legal disconnect is resolved, growers face the challenge of starting an industry without the benefits held by conventional farmers, such as federal crop insurance.
Colorado State University, the state's premier agricultural research institution, is not studying hemp because of the fear of losing federal contracts.

"The law is clear on this matter, and we do not want to do anything that would unintentionally result in personal criminal liability for CSU employees or that would disqualify the institution from obtaining future government funding," said Joseph Zimlich, CSU system board of governors chairman, in a recent letter to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

However, Zimlich said the board "will look more closely at the issue of industrial hemp research at its May meeting."

Another practical challenge for farmers is acquiring hemp seed for cultivation. Federal law does not permit the sale or import of non-sterilized seed suitable for growing.

It's the hemp farmer's equivalent of what recreational-marijuana activists call "the year of the magical ounce"— a reference to the unanswered question of how people can obtain marijuana for current legal use before state-permitted retail facilities open in 2014.

Bowman said he has friends who have sent him seed from feral hemp plants that are survivors from decades ago, before hemp was ruled illegal in the U.S. 

A benefit of the feral plants is that they carry natural genetic resistance to drought — a desirable quality especially for farmers who hope to grow their crops without irrigation.
Like other prospective farmers, Bowman and Loflin plan to experiment with different seed varieties to determine their traits, especially the ability to produce oil.

Seed oil is viewed as the hemp product in highest demand from food and cosmetics manufacturers. Fiber from hemp stalks is a smaller market.

Loflin and business partner Chris Thompson said that with their own oil press, they plan to become buyers or processors of seed from other growers.

Based on data from Canada's legal hemp industry, hemp seed generates revenue for farmers of $390 an acre, according to Erik Hunter, director of research and development for HempCleans, a Colorado-based advocacy group.

That makes hemp lucrative compared with most other conventional crops.
"I think that once people see the value of hemp," said Loflin, "it'll become a no-brainer."

Hemp regulation advances in Colorado


DENVER (AP) — Colorado farmers who want to grow newly legal industrial hemp are closer to being allowed to do it. A state Senate vote Friday puts a hemp regulation measure halfway to the governor's desk.

The bill requires interested hemp farmers to register with the state Agriculture Department. State agriculture officials say they're not sure how many farmers will grow it.

The bill passed 34-1, with the only opponent saying he opposes not the hemp plant but the registration requirement. The bill now heads to the House.

Senators passed around granola bars made with hemp and said the crop could be a small boost to Colorado farmers.

Industrial hemp looks like marijuana, but it lacks most of the psychoactive properties of its better-known cousin.

Lola Rosa upgrades image with (a hemp burger), its third location, a full-service brasserie on Park Ave. (Montreal)

The Hemp burger at Lola Rosa Park also includes chickpeas and lentils, and is topped with avocado, tomato, barbecue sauce and pickles.
The Hemp Burger at Lola Rosa Park also includes chickpeas and lentils, and is topped with avocado, tomato, barbecue sauce and pickles.

Lola Rosa has been a fixture of vegetarian dining in the McGill Ghetto for more than a decade. It was such a favourite with students that it opened a lunch counter right on campus last year. This third and newest location, launched in December, brings it uptown and upgrades the restaurant’s image, a reflection of the changing profile of vegetarian dining in the city. I get the sense that the brand — and it is now officially a brand — is growing up with its customers, for whom vegetarianism isn’t just something worthy of a college try during the school days, but a continuing lifestyle.

Whereas I remember the Milton location as cosy and quirky, with a more-than-decent version of the requisite black bean burrito, Lola Rosa Park is more of a full-service restaurant that puts familiar reference points in shiny new packages. While there are still the touchstones (like that burrito), here Philippe Carbone’s dishes are a bit more developed, as is the selection of draught beer and cocktails. The surroundings are slicker, too. Ambience-wise, I’d call this a vegetarian brasserie, even with the mind-body artwork on the walls. Certainly, the ghosts of the Mexican party place that preceded it are gone; it has been de-Zaziummmed.

There was a sense of excitement in the room — and a big room it is — on a Thursday night. I didn’t anticipate being asked if we had reservations before being shown to one end of a long rosewood table, which we shared with a couple, sliding onto benches with cutaway backs and colourful cushions.

They still make some good nachos, better than I recalled. A lot gets thrown at those salty and crackly fresh corn chips — corn, black beans, tomato, sour cream, avocado, salsa — until they’re laden with toppings, but not sogged down. A kale salad of curly greens, slightly too-soft beets, radish and apple, in a raspberry vinaigrette was green, fruity and not too sweet, and textured with nutty pumpkin seeds and tiny dots of quinoa and berries. A bigger bowl would improve the optics, though.

We enjoyed a risotto-like main course with mushrooms, chard and homemade seitan (they do tempeh in-house as well), enriched with cream and white wine.

But it was Lola Rosa’s hemp burger that really impressed. Starting with the presentation, borrowing the wooden board concept from charcuterie slingers. Stacked and steaming in a glossy bun, the patty itself was made of hemp, chickpeas and lentils for a squishy, moist, ripe-tasting filling. (I am actually not going to use the word earthy to describe it, because this is not its main purpose in life.) The strata were stacked one on top of the other: barbecue sauce, guacamole, tomato, and pickle, among other things that work well together. On the side: slaw and chickpea fries. Built up log cabin style, these were bendy, light, puffed out under a thin skin, for a consistency unlike what I’ve had in panisse or other versions thereof. Weird, but we liked them, and set about dunking them in vegan mayo with a splash of tamari soy.

We appreciated when our waitress nose-crinkled at the mention of vegan poutine; the tapioca cheese works better in an application like a quesadilla, she noted. But if you’re a vegan who has repeatedly watched people bliss out over a pile of the stuff, the fact that this place sells an animal-product-free version is the kind of thing that makes you squeeze a restaurant writer’s arm tightly and look deeply into her eyes (as happened to me recently). While I wouldn’t say it’s must-do dish, it demonstrates the extra effort here: not just potato, but also sweet potato fries mingling with cheese curds and dark mushroomy gravy that looked grainy but didn’t feel it.
Although we stuck with crème brûlée (given a spin with ginger and basil), all the desserts sounded appealing, including a cheesecake in a Mason jar and choco-coco pie.

Lola Rosa is a very likeable restaurant that mirrors the way more of the public is eating now. Owners Pascal Hourriez and Eric Bieunais say they want to create vegetarian restaurants for non-vegetarians. (Like a lot of local veg resto proprietors, they themselves are diet-conscious but not vegetarians, and believe that people should eat less meat.) With Carbone in the kitchen, its meat-free cuisine is not about substituting with processed mock meats, and there’s lots of flexibility and dietary sensitivity: you can choose smaller or larger portions, vegan or gluten-free options.

There’s certainly demand for it, perhaps more so now that Commensal has gone “flexitarian,” and people like my dinner date are boycotting it.

“The one thing I expect from a vegetarian restaurant is that it doesn’t serve meat. Is that too much to ask?” she ranted. (Totally agree; my last visit, squinting at the signs to see if the pale matter on the spinach salad was artichoke or chicken, I felt I was at the trough.)

Lola Rosa’s is soon to launch a food boutique on one side of the new space. It ought to do well, too — and I hear there will be picnic boxes when the weather allows, which is to say soon.

Lola Rosa Park
Good bet
4581 Park Ave. (near Mont-Royal Ave. W.)
Phone: 514-843-5652
Licensed: Yes
Credit cards: MC, Visa
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Vegetarian friendly: Yes
Open: Tues.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m., closed Mon.
Price range: Appetizers $4.75-$9, mains $9–$16, desserts $4.50–$6.50

Rosewood tables at Lola Rosa Park give warmth to the décor, and customers may find themselves sharing a table with others.

Rosewood tables at Lola Rosa Park give warmth to the décor, and customers may find themselves sharing a table with others. Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette

Obama Wants More Green Jobs? Let's Start with Hemp

By Nikolas Kozloff


Hemp could bring back sorely needed employment in the American heartland. But the drug warriors stand in the way.

Though Obama has frequently spoken of the need for more “green jobs,” he has failed to acknowledge the inherent environmental advantages associated with a curious plant called hemp.  One of the earliest domesticated crops, hemp is incredibly versatile and can be utilized for everything from food, clothing, rope, paper and plastic to even car parts.  In an era of high unemployment, hemp could provide welcome relief to the states and help to spur the transition from antiquated and polluting manufacturing jobs to the new green economy. What is more, in lieu of our warming world and climate change, the need for environmentally sustainable industries like hemp has never been greater.  Given all of these benefits, why have Obama and the political establishment chosen to remain silent? 
 The explanation has to do with retrograde and backward beliefs which have been hindering environmental progress for a generation.  A biological cousin of marijuana, hemp contains minute amounts of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical.  Even though advocates say one would have to smoke huge amounts of hemp to get high, the plant occupies a highly dubious legal status in the U.S.   During the 1970s, Congress declared hemp a “Schedule I” drug under the Controlled Substances Act, ridiculously lopping the plant in the same category as heroin.  Though the authorities allow farmers to petition the federal government to grow hemp, the Drug Enforcement Administration or D.E.A. has proven incredibly resistant to such licenses and for all intents and purposes the crop has remained illegal [ironically enough, however, the U.S. imports many hemp-related products from abroad].
Tide Beginning to Turn
On the other hand, tectonic political and cultural change may provide some reason for optimism.  Last fall, Washington state and Colorado legalized marijuana which has in turn exerted pressure on the Obama administration.  As I discuss in a  recent article, surprisingly diverse social constituencies supported the ballot initiatives, which suggests that the political tides may be turning [in Latin America, too,public sentiment seems to have soured on Washington’s unpopular drug war]. 
In moving to legalize marijuana, Colorado also passed hemp legalization though the D.E.A. must still grant permission to farm the crop.  Colorado joins a growing number of states which are moving on hemp legislation, though such measures are hardly uniform.  Some states have authorized the study of industrial hemp as an industry, while others have simply asked the Feds to relax draconian drug laws.  Some, however, have legalized hemp production just like Colorado. 
This in turn raises the question of whether the Obama administration might actually conduct raids on local farms in an effort to crack down on the crop.  Perhaps, such a scenario will never come to pass since change has even come to Capitol Hill: recently, a bipartisan group ranging from liberal Democrat to right-wing Republican reintroduced legislation which would require the federal government to respect state laws allowing for the cultivation of hemp. 
Creating New Green Jobs in the American Heartland?
Could hemp help to bring back sorely needed employment in the American heartland?  That is the hope in Kentucky, which had a booming hemp industry as recently as World War II.  Somewhat outlandishly, Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell no less has remarked “the utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”
In Colorado meanwhile, hemp boosters are hoping that the once taboo crop could help the local economy.  Indeed, hemp production might provide the state with new jobs and tax revenue.  Colorado farmers believe that their state could lead the way in this new, innovative field and some even hope to turn their crop into edible oil.  Trendy food markets in Boulder are already carrying a number of products made out of hemp ranging from soaps to lotions and even protein powders. Perhaps, Colorado farmers will one day turn out “Hemp Hearts,” a new product made out of the partially shelled seed of the plant.  Boosters say Hemp Hearts, which don’t have an overly assertive taste, can be spread over cereal or yogurt.
Not to be outdone, manufacturers in Oregon hope that hemp will help to revive flagging industry.  Oregon has been hard hit by the economic downturn, and hemp boosters say the crop could assist in the production of everything from bio-plastics to sustainable construction materials to bio-fuels.  Some envision a scenario in which hemp farmers sell their crop to bio-fuel refineries and budding green-building entrepreneurs.  Just across the border in California, meanwhile, farmers hope that hemp fiber may help to spur the growth of a budding textile industry.  
From New Vehicles to Masonry to Textiles and Petrochemicals 
If such claims regarding hemp’s transformative properties were not enough, advocates also envision nothing less than the end of the petrochemical industry as we know it.  From shoes to sofas to cars and even planes, many of the common materials that we use today are derived from petrochemicals.  Hemp on the other hand is a versatile fiber and could be employed in everything from the construction of tractor hoods to shields to cabs. 
At one time, none other than Henry Ford produced a car whose frame was partially made of hemp and whose engine could be powered with hemp fuel.  Some manufacturers claim that vehicles made out of hemp are lighter and as a result display greater fuel efficiency. In addition, agricultural fibers can be cheaper to produce than fiberglass.  What is more, scientists are conducting research on how to derive biodegradable plastic products from hemp. Already, such research has borne fruit as auto companies introduce hemp into major manufacturing.
Perhaps most interestingly, hemp can also be made into most any building material including roofing, flooring, paint and even bricks.  Hemp plaster is known for its high insulation qualities and can reduce the need for heating in winter and air conditioning in summer.  Curiously, by simply adding water and lime to hemp one winds up with efficient and lightweight “hempcrete” which can help to construct houses.  Experts say that hemp masonry exhibits exceptional fire resistant qualities and is easily recycled.   
Advocates also believe that hemp can help to bring about a revolution in the textile industry.  In the not-too-distant future, “eco-textiles” could become a popular buzzword as hemp replaces environmentally wasteful cotton production.  Entrepreneurs say that hemp necessitates far less water to grow than cotton.  Additionally, hemp rarely requires pesticides to grow and scientists are developing an innovative technique designed to turn tough hemp fiber into yarn.  Early independent tests indicate that the process yields clothes which are durable and comparable to cotton in both softness and brightness.
Interestingly enough, by shifting to large-scale hemp production the U.S. might not only spur the growth of new industries but also help to clean up contaminated landfill. Recently, the Colorado State legislature passed a bill to study hemp’s potential to bring about so-called “phyto-remediation,” a process by which plants actually filter and clean polluted soil. If Colorado plants hemp on contaminated sites, the state would follow in the steps of Ukraine, which  planted industrial hemp near Chernobyl in the late 1990s in an effort to remove harmful contaminants from the ill-fated nuclear site.  
Bio-Fuels and Climate Change
As if all these potential benefits were not enough, advocates hope that hemp could also be used to create a new bio-fuel.  To be sure, the planet needs to shift away from fossil fuels which exacerbate climate change, though in practice some bio-fuels fail to measure up.  As I argue in my last book,  No Rain in the Amazon: How South America’s Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet, corn-based ethanol based in the American Midwest does not put much of a dent in our global warming problem.  Though Brazil’s program of sugar cane ethanol is somewhat better than corn from an environmental standpoint, the crop still eats up land and leads to deforestation in sensitive bio-diverse areas such as the cerrado.  Moreover, sugar cane requires fertilizer and deprives poor peasant farmers of land which could otherwise be used to grow food.
So, how does hemp stack up when compared to corn or sugar cane?  Writing in Salon, Steven Wishnia remarks that hemp oil for bio-fuel “is unlikely to be practical.”  At 50 gallons per acre, he explains, “even if every acre of U.S. cropland were used for hemp, it would supply current U.S. demand for oil for less than three weeks.”  Nevertheless, hemp biomass can be converted into many diverse fuels such as methane, methanol and gasoline.  Moreover, planting hemp arguably represents a more efficient use of land and resources than corn or sugarcane.  That is so because hemp can be used for fuel but also for food and its seeds contain roughly four times the cellulose biomass potential of corn. Best of all, hemp grows very fast and leaves the soil in good shape. 
In addition to bio-fuel, could hemp also lead to other benefits --- like helping restore the earth’s climate equilibrium?  The short answer seems to be, yes.  As hemp grows, it “sequesters” or captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Hemp is able to sequester such large amounts of carbon because it grows very tall --- between 9 and 12 feet to be exact --- within a very short span of time.  Furthermore, when hemp is manufactured into masonry this acts as a carbon sink: the carbon is literally locked into the building material.
A Silver Bullet?
With so many benefits, hemp advocates believe that the plant may represent a silver bullet when it comes to solving the earth’s many environmental problems.  Take for example widespread deforestation which has exacerbated climate change.  Though deforestation is linked to many diverse and complex causes, the timber industry has no doubt played a nefarious role.  Hemp and marijuana boosters --- which often overlap --- claim that hemp might offer a way out of our deforestation dilemma.  Hemp has a higher cellulose level than wood, advocates argue, and therefore the plant could be used for paper to avoid cutting down trees.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol argues that hemp paper manufacturing may reduce wastewater contamination and the plant’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids utilized in the process of pulping.  Hemp can be used for every quality of paper, though it would most likely be mixed with recycled paper.  Moreover, advocates say that high quality hemp paper can be recycled more times than wood-based paper.  “Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis,” the group states.  Not everyone, however, agrees with such rosy prognostications.  According to the Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal, hemp is nowhere near as environmentally-friendly as eucalyptus and researchers say that hemp is an “annual” plant that needs to be grown from scratch year in and year out. 
Whatever the case, hemp’s overall environmental potential should not be underestimated.  In an era of ever worsening global warming and job scarcity, this unlikely plant may represent an ecological and social boon to wider society.  If the Obama administration is serious about job creation and the next wave of green employment, it would do well to investigate hemp more seriously.  To be sure, the humble crop still carries a social stigma, though such outmoded attitudes seem to be changing.  Indeed, if recent political and cultural change associated with marijuana legalization is any indication, hemp production may be coming to America sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Will the 113th Congress Legalize Hemp?

by David Borden

Earl Blumenauer at Brookings marijuana legalization forum, April 2013

I attended a forum on marijuana legalization at The Brookings Institution Monday, where Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one ofa handful of Congressional champions of marijuana law reform, was one of the speakers. Along with his general optimism for where the issue is going, Blumenauer predicted that the current Congress -- #113, in office this year and next -- will legalize hemp growing.
That may be a less bold prediction than in the past -- with the highest-ranking Republican senator supporting hemp now, Mitch McConnell, it should be more likely -- but it's still a fairly bold prediction, when one thinks about just how long Congress has refused to do anything for this utterly no-brainer of an issue. One of Blumenauer's reasons was that a House bill to legalize hemp growing, H.R. 525, also is being sponsored by a Kentucky Republican, Thomas Massie.
You heard it here first. (Unless you also watched the Brookings forum.)

Around China: Hemp shoes a hit in foreign markets

Hemp shoes a hit in foreign markets
Hemp shoes are shown in a shop in Gansu province. [Zhou Wentao/China Daily]

LANZHOU, April 13 (Xinhua) -- In northwest China's Gansu Province, hemp shoes, which used to be a must for local farmers, have made their way to the fashion world.
At the foot of the barren hills of Gangu County stand a cluster of workshops. An array of colorful hemp shoes displayed on shiny glass shelves looks out of place against the shops' dusty surroundings.
From slippers and sandals to sneakers, the hand-made hemp shoes seem even stranger when Wang Yingwu, a workshop manager, said they were originally designed in Italy, France and Japan, even though many of the local craftsmen know little about these countries.
Hemp is widely grown in China's northwest regions, especially in Gansu, where locals make rope with hemp fibers or weave hemp strands into sandals.
Chinese mythology says Fuxi, an ancient king born in Gansu, was the first to use hemp to make ropes and shoes. The Red Army also made and wore hemp shoes during the revolutionary era several decades ago.
"But the old-style hemp shoes don't match today's clothes," said Wang. "So we try to combine traditional craftsmanship with modern design."
"My shoes look the same as the fashionable ones in big stores. The only difference is that mine are made of hemp," he said.
Wang started his hemp shoe business in the 1990s. Sales were limited to nearby counties until a U.S. businessman saw his shoes at a local fair.
Wang named his shoe brand "Damoxing," meaning "walking in the desert," and sold 10,000 pairs to the United States in 1996 in cooperation with the businessman.
Since then, the factory has received more overseas orders and Wang has hired three designers from Italy, France and Japan to work for him.
Wang said his shoes have the advantages of being light, airy and the capability to kill germs due to the hemp's alkaline nature.
The shoes have been a hit at shopping malls in Italy, the UK, France and Japan. The factory made 2 million pairs of hemp shoes in 2012, with more than 90 percent sold in overseas markets. The factory raked in more than 3 million U.S. dollars in foreign trade last year.
The hemp shoe business has also fattened local wallets. The factory employs more than 200 local farmers, with each earning around 1,000 yuan (159 U.S. dollars) a month. The annual net income for farmers in the province was less than 5,000 yuan in 2012.
However, a strengthening Chinese yuan is slashing the profits of the U.S. dollar-priced hemp shoes, according to Wang.
"We used to focus on overseas markets. But now we want to pay equal attention to domestic demand, although advertising at home may cost big money that small companies like us don't have," Wang said.
Wang is now spending more time taking photos of his shoes to put online, as well as running an online store, in order to promote his shoes domestically.

Industrial Hemp Development Act Introduced in Minnesota

industrial hemp

SAINT PAUL, MN — A bill to permit and regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp was introduced to the Minnesota Senate on Thursday.
Senate Bill 1590, the Industrial Hemp Development Act, was introduced by Senator Branden Petersen (R- District 35) and Senator Sean R. Nienow (R – District 32). The bill has been assigned to the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
If passed, the bill would authorize industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, placing the licensing and enforcement under the state’s Department of Agriculture.
The bill would require farmers to be licensed prior to growing hemp, and establishes the license requirements and fees.
The bill also exempts hemp from the definition of marijuana in the state’s controlled substance laws.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
Of the eight states who previously approved industrial hemp legislation, only Hawaii has received a federal waiver allowing them to grow an acre of hemp for research purposes.
Federal legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana is currently pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Hemp and Hawaii: A Winning Combination

By Cynthia Thielen

Across the country, in nearly two dozen states – including Colorado, Washington, Kentucky, California, Minnesota, and Illinois -- the drive to re-legalize hemp cultivation is gaining support. Industrial hemp is tied to no particular ideology; its supporters range from the liberal (Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon) to the conservative (Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky). This ability to leap across political barriers shows the common-sense appeal of hemp cultivation.
Our own Legislature has temporarily shelved its chance to put Hawaii at the front of America's hemp renaissance, but we will have a chance to bring it back during the 2014 session.
The intent of House Bill 154 was to allow a two-year hemp phytoremediation and biofuel research project in Hawaii.
Dole Food Company Hawaii generously offered to donate land for the project, which would cost an estimated $60,000 per year (including seeds, fencing around the two-acre plot, and other needed materials and expertise). The bill was approved by several House and Senate committees before stalling in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
I respect the Ways and Means Committee Chair's concerns about public funding for the project; it therefore makes sense to amend the bill to use only private funding. During the next few months, we can work on raising money from private sources and starting the process to get DEA permits. Then, in January, we can move the improved bill out of committee for final reading.
I spearheaded Hawaii's first industrial hemp research project, back in 1999-2003. Dole donated land then, too, and we were able to secure private funding from several sources. We secured the necessary permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The ILWU supported the project, understanding that adding a crop to Hawaii's agricultural community would benefit workers as well as the farmers themselves, along with other small and large business owners in our state.
With its ability to cleanse the soil of toxins, industrial hemp would be an environmentally friendly replacement for sugar and pineapple. Hemp is often grown without pesticides or herbicides due to its natural ability to ward off unwanted insects and weeds. And hemp's potential as a biofuel feedstock could be a game-changer for Hawaii.
Farming organizations across the U.S. support a change in the federal government's policy on hemp cultivation. The National Farmers Union, which represents more than a quarter-million family farms and ranches in the U.S., supports industrial hemp cultivation. The NFU has urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana, and to allow American farmers to grow hemp under state law without requiring DEA approval. (This was the essence of Hawaii's HCR6 SD1, which passed its House and Senate committees this session.)
Thousands of products made from hemp are imported to and sold in the U.S. Why are we paying extra to have someone else grow and process the plant these products are made from? We know we can grow successful hemp crops here – the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Project in 1999 showed us that. We can do it again, with next year's passage of HB 154.

Oregon Organization To Build Bridge Made From Hemp Materials

By Erik

Oregon State Representative Suzanne Bonamici has joined together with Senator Ron Wyden and Governor Kitzhaber to champion a new construction project involving the use of hemp buiding materials.
Suzanne bonamici Oregon Organization To Build Bridge Made From Hemp Materials
Rep. Bonamici
Representative Bonamici is an avid longtime lobbyist for the legalization of industrial hemp. “It’s rope, not dope,” Bonamici proclaims.
Governor Kitzhaber told reporters in a press conference he is fatigued with all of the past Columbia River Crossing’s half-baked project ideas.
“If we’re going to do this thing, let’s do it fully baked,” Governor Kitzhaber declared.
And as far as the governor’s interest in the project is concerned he is delighted at the prospective jobs it will offer and the fact that going green by using hemp building materials means they will be saving some “green” as well.
“It’s eco-friendly, it will bring hundreds of green jobs to Oregon, and initial projections are that building a hemp bridge will cut the costs in half,” Kitzhaber explained.
The project’s supporters have been busy recruiting celebrities with the intentions of raising awareness and to help build further backing for the venture.
Their most notable celebrity supporter to date is one Woody Harrelson, actor and activist extraordinaire.
hemp1 150x150 Oregon Organization To Build Bridge Made From Hemp Materials
hemp field
Woody expresses his feelings about the Columbia Reefer Crossing’s (recently adopted title) efforts to build a pedestrian bridge using hemp construction material.
“This is very exciting. Washington has recently legalized marijuana, and Oregon is looking at doing the same. The CRC would be a living symbol of the cannabis bridge between the two states,” Harrelson asserted.
Stay tuned to The 420 Times for any updates regarding the hemp pedestrian bridge project’s progress and for all you cannabis community news.