My blog is dedicated to the exploration of industrial hemp in America including the rich history of all forms of cannabis, the evolving law and politics of hemp and marijuana, the many products made from cannabis and the capacity, real or imagined, of hemp to re-industrialize rural America and revitalize the American family farm.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
How Industrial Hemp Is Helping This Struggling Farmer
Soil contamination due to industrialization has been making life hell for farmers for decades now. This struggling Italian farmer is using industrial hemp to fix it.
Farmers in a specific region of Italy have been dealing with toxic dioxin contamination in their soil resulting from a massive steel plant for some time. The region, renowned worldwide for its cheese cultivation has fallen on some pretty hard times. That is, until now.
Italian farmer Vincenzo Fornaro used to have a thriving farm until a neighboring steel plant began contaminating his soil, leading to the decimation of his entire herd of sheep. Things looked incredibly bleak for a while, until Fornaro and other farmers in the region decided to try using industrial hemp to decontaminate their soil.
The process is called “phytoremediation” and it involves the roots of the cannabis plant pulling toxins from the soil and either storing them in its roots, or converting the toxins into a nontoxic substance.
CBS news asked Fornaro if cannabis was “the future of his farm”, to which Fornaro replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
This process works so well with cannabis because the plant grows more quickly, meaning its roots take in nutrients from the soil faster. Cannabis, including industrial hemp is also a very tough plant, so it can handle taking in heavy metals, which kill other plants.
Phytoremediation is a pretty common technique used by farmers for cleansing soil. The stigma surrounding cannabis and industrial hemp means that phytoremediation is not as common with cannabis as with other plants.
Industrial hemp phytoremediation has been used to deal with the radiation in Chernobyl, and there are some considering using it to clean up the mess left behind in Fukushima.
The process seems to be working well for farmers like Fornaro. Hopefully hemp can revitalize his once successful farm.
This is just one of the many ways that cannabis benefits society. Heavy metal contamination in humans is an increasingly pervasive health problem in an industrialized world, and if cannabis can eliminate toxic metals from our soil and food supply, that hardly makes it the danger to society that canna-haters make it out to be,