The second Annual Hemp History Week ended yesterday.
The national grassroots education campaign aims to renew support for hemp farming in the U.S. Although illegal today, hemp was traditionally grown in the U.S. by many farmers—including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper!
In addition to edible hemp seed, hemp has long been used to make fiber for rope and textiles.
The growing of hemp as a food and textile crop was banned in 1957, due to federal confusion over industrial hemp and marijuana.
While there is pending legislation to change the situation, currently no live hemp plant (specifically, leaves and stems) can enter the U.S. But the seeds and end products containing them can be imported.
Shelled hemp seeds are a delicious addition
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritious foods around. Hemp, along with quinoa, is one of the few plant foods that are a complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids). Hemp seed is packed with protein, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (the highest levels of any plant source) and magnesium. The flavor is mild, similar to sunflower seeds.
If only hemp were legal, it would add inexpensive protein to our diet. Instead of appearing only in niche health foods, large manufacturers would use it to add protein to cereal, milk and other foods.
Currently, Americans can purchase hemp seed powder to add to smoothies and other foods; shelled hemp seeds to sprinkle on salads, soups, veggies, yogurt and hot and cold breakfast cereals (very tasty!); and hemp seed oil for salads.
Beyond nutrition, an excellent reason to legalize hemp growing is that it can be a salvation to many of America’s farmers.
It is difficult for many American farm families to earn a living from farming. Farmers earn $25/acre for growing corn. Hemp would yield $200/acre, giving them the income they need to keep their family farms.
Now that you know, support hemp farming. Write to your state and federal representatives. Not only does the federal government need to legalize hemp farming, but each state must also legalize it in order to allow its farmers to grow hemp.
Learn more at VoteHemp.com and follow the link to send a pre-written email, fax or letter to your legislators to let them know how you feel about the status of hemp in the U.S.
And don’t forget to enjoy the benefits of hemp as a high protein nutritional supplement. Start with sprinkling the tiny seeds onto your salads. If you typically eat a low-protein vegetable salad for lunch, it’s just what the doctor (or nutritionist) ordered. Two tablespoons of hemp seed provides 11 grams of protein, as much as a chicken drumstick.
Our favorite hemp food: the hemp bagels from French Meadow Bakery.
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