It's easy to talk about the many serious problems with our food system, but sometimes not enough attention is given to solutions. In celebration of Hemp History Week, here are 10 facts you might not know about hemp, an amazing plant that has the potential to transform our food, our toiletries, our clothes, and our homes.
1.Hemp has been cultivated in China for use in food and textiles for at least 5,000 years.
2. Hemp is a complete protein, containing all of the necessary amino acids. You can put hemp seeds in your cereal or salads, add hemp protein powder to your smoothie, or drink hemp milk to get an extra protein boost.
3. Hemp also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation, balance hormones, and protect against heart disease.
4. Hemp sometimes gets a bad rap due to its risqué sister plant, but hemp is not psychoactive so it is not valuable as a drug.
5. George Washington grew hemp, which in colonial days was used for paper, cloth, and canvas. It's possible that early drafts of the Constitution were written on hemp paper
6. Companies like Dr. Bronner's use hemp in soap and skin care products because hemp oil contains vitamins A, E, and D, which help keep skin smooth and moisturized.
7. Hemp fiber can be used as a sustainable alternative to almost any material. It can help stop deforestation by replacing virgin trees in cotton and lumber; help pollinators by replacing pesticide-intensive cotton in fabrics; and help stop climate change by replacing corn in bio-fuel, concrete in building materials, and cows in food.
8. Over half of all US states have lifted the ban on industrial hemp production, but it's still illegal on the federal level due to outdated drug policy.
9. A few weeks ago, the Hemp Industry Association filed a lawsuit to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.10. Do you think hemp should be legalized so that we can create a more sustainable world? Here are ways that you can take action.