The Hemp Commerce & Farming Report
Volume 1, Issue 4, September 8th, 1999
© 1999 AHEM, ARTHUR HANKS
IN THIS ISSUE:
Top of the Crop
The Value of Value-Added Hempseed Foods
GMO's: a Marketing Opportunity for Hemp
Hempburger: where's the beef?
New Processors and Marketers in Place in Manitoba:
Profile on Hemp OIL Canada and Fresh Hemp Foods
Upcoming Industry Events
Editor: Arthur Hanks firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales, Sponsorship, and Distribution:
Jason Freeman email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE:
Jon Cloud, Jason Freeman, Terry Lefebvre, David Marcus, Jerzy Prytyk, Ron Schnider, Gordon Scheifele
SUBMISSIONS: Submissions are most welcome. Please contact HCFR editor, Arthur Hanks, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your story, research or information for inclusion in the HCFR.
Welcome to our fourth issue. We have compiled an interesting mix of articles and information for you this time, including features on processing opportunities, marketing, production and our evolving social and regulatory environment. Thanks to Jon Cloud, Jason Freeman and Ron Schnider for being a part of this edition.
Based on our reader's feedback, media inquiries and professional comments coming this way, the HCFR has achieved its goal of become a leading source of industrial hemp information. We have come a long way in the last few months and our move to becoming a web-based publication (last issue) has been a smoother one than I anticipated. And we're not done. Next month, we will be taking greater advantage of our medium, and initiate some changes that I feel are long overdue.
Are the tractors burning yet? I have been told many times that "growing hemp is the easy part" and harvesting is when you really know what you are up against. Based on reports from the field, quality and quantity should be all over the map. Some producers on the Prairies are running into lower than expected yields this fall, fingering poor soil and climatic conditions this spring and early summer. And based on their projected yields, some have also commented on the less than satisfactory quality of certified seed they purchased this year, citing too many males in the mix. In the East, some Ontario producers, both organic and traditional, could be enjoying a bumper year. We'll have more details next issue in our Cross-Canada Crop Report.
I am also excited by the upcoming Hemp Industries of America Convention, being held in Toronto September on 22-26th. The full schedule is included in the issue (see Upcoming Events for details) if you want to get a flavour of how the event is structured. Many Canadians have expressed an interest in attending this year's show, and I hope to see you there in a few weeks time.
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Top of the Crop
1. Health Canada Summer Reports
Almost 750 commercial licenses were issued in Canada this year. According to the Therapeutic Products Programme Report on Industrial Hemp Licenses, (dated June of 1999), 600 applicants sent in paperwork to Ottawa this winter and spring, resulting in 746 various licenses being issued.
This was over twice the number of licenses issued last year.
In the report, Health Canada notes "not many farmers were ready or able to take advantage of the early licensing provisions (established this year) and by March 1st, only 50 applications were received. The bulk of the applications were received in April or May...there was, once again, a rush to process applications at the last minute."
As of June 11th 14,200 hectares were licensed for hemp production in Canada. The actual figure cultivated is unknown, as there has been a burn off of this acreage due to commercial factors such as the unavailability of seeds, licensing procedures, weather and other reasons.
Based on these figures, it appears that many farmers who may have grown 10 acres last year, "just to try the crop out", liked what they saw, and planned on growing substantially more this year.
Licensed hectares, province by province, are as follows: BC 225, Alberta 775, Saskatchewan 3093, Manitoba 8886, Ontario 1022, Quebec 86, New Brunswick 4, Nova Scotia 126 and PEI 4.
Coast-to-coast, 59 additional hectares were licensed for research purposes.
In a related document June 1999 Questions and Answers, Health Canada says, "The majority of licenses were incomplete and required further information from the applicant." The main identified problem with the applications was missing or incomplete Global Positioning Co-ordinates.
For more information, visit Health Canada's Industrial Hemp Web site at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb-dgps/therapeut/
2. CGP Closes the Door
Rumours are rife, as Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), who are pursuing an aggressive big acreage strategy in Western Canada, is looking embattled. The American-based company has recently fired their CEO, Larry Siddens. And according to sources in the industry, Martin Moravcik, the Canadian Vice President, is now also apparently "working on contract".
The company has named no replacements. These events follows a controversial spring where CGP fired their President, Doug Campbell and the Manitoba Securities Commission began investigating the company's fund-raising practises in Dauphin Manitoba, where a processing facility is to be built.
CGP's annual Hemp Pageant was not held this year, and it was revealed in the Western Producer, that the company's claim to be the FAO's "primary contact for information on industrial hemp, recognised as a promising food crop for developing nations" was denied by a UN spokesperson.
The company has declined to issue any statement on these or other issues, and has refused to be interviewed by the press, citing negative publicity and inaccurate reporting.
Messages to CGP by the HCFR have not been returned.
This month, the MSC is expected to issue their ruling in on whether charges will be laid in relation to fund-raising irregularities; CGP is also scheduled to break the ground on their Dauphin plant.
According to the company, they planted 18, 700 acres this year with Canadian farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The majority of this acreage has been contracted with Parkland Industrial Growers, operating in the area around Dauphin, Manitoba.
The worst case scenario: what would you do with 12 million pounds of surplus hempseed?
Keep an eye on CGP's web site: http://www.congrowpro.com for their side of the story.
Sources: The Western Producer, Consolidated Growers and Processors
3. Hempty Tea
Another hemp first. Brown Bear Medicinals of Grand Forks, BC has begun selling hemp tea to the general public. According to company spokesperson Pavel Dimitoff, the teas have been supplied to compassion clubs for therapeutic purposes for over a year and are now available through selected retailers across southern BC.
"Hempty" tea is low THC tea, collected from the tip leaves of the industrial hemp plant. Dimitoff notes that while the tea is minimal in THC content, it is high in CBD's that also have a therapeutic effect. According to Dimotoff, "the THC content of these leaves in nil, since they come from approved cultivars, and are harvested before the plant produces any THC." Hempty can be planted and harvested in a period as short as three weeks.
Tea is considered to be a valuable source of calcium and other minerals and vitamins and has a high anti-oxidant content. Tea also has a fluoride content that helps prevent tooth decay and helps decrease plaque, the scale caused by mouth bacteria that leads to gum disease.
BBM has also experimented with "Hempty" ice cream, and claims that the taste and look is different from ice cream derived from hempseed. BBM is also growing hemp sprouts for use in salads, soups and sandwiches, and is developing extracts and tinctures from the leaves.
OK, so is it legal? According to the Industrial Hemp Regulations, hemp leaves cannot be processed and must remain in the field, and Brown Bear is defiantly positioning itself for a fight with Health Canada on this issue. The HCFR asked Brown Bear whether they were licensed for "Hempty" or had received any other sort of dispensation from the federal government. Dimitoff replied, "I am not convinced that because of the wording of a regulation, that we should be prevented from any of the benefits of this miraculous plant. Maybe we all should be willing to go the wall over this plant, the Natives say this plant is our Buffalo."
Brown Bear Medicinals specialises in natural and organic medicines and can be reached at (250) 442-5166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Northern Ontario Research Update
According to Northern Ontario Research Co-ordinator Gordon Scheifele, the five research stations involved in the 99 trials (Thunder Bay, Emo, Kapuskasing, Liskeard and Verner) were all growing well. Fibre harvesting began in mid August. FIN 314 and Fasamo were expected to be ready for grain harvest at the end of August. Both cultivars look very encouraging as grain varieties that would be suitable for the region. "I have also seen enough of Anka (new variety from Kenex) and am very excited about it as an early grain variety with short stature (about 1 metre)," says Scheifele.
According to Scheifele, "We have 10 acres in Thunder Bay for grain of FIN 314 (1/2 acre), Fasamo (4 acres) and Fedora 19 (5 1/2 acres). The FIN 314 and Fasamo are very weedy due to a too thin stand and poor vigour... The other 16 acre field is in Dryden and has Fasamo, Fedora 19 and Felina 34. Here also the Fasamo is very thin stand and had very poor vigour and the weeds are bad."
It has also been noted that with the early short hemp varieties involved in the research (Fasamo, FIN and Anka), weed control is questionable. However, the weeds don't appear to be hurting any varieties.
Also in the works: the development of a hemp/gouda cheese with Thunder Oak Cheese Farm of Thunder Bay. The Northern Ontario project is also awaiting word on funding for a major feasibility study to be done in conjunction with Lakehead University for the potential for a hemp industry in Northern Ontario.
5. Quebec Grower's Update
Thanks to Jerzy Prytyk
According to the Quebec Police, 12 permits to grow industrial hemp were issued in Quebec in 1999
"ChanvrEstrie" is growing 4 ha. (10 acres) of three varieties: Uniko B, Fedora for fibre and Fasamo for grain. The quality of Uniko-B and Fedora certified seed were much better this year as compared to the last. Germination of the Fasamo was very low.
Luc Breton of Dunham planted 4 ha of Uniko B and Fedrina. He has a contract with Les Huiles Orphéé of Quebec "Orphéé" is planning a line of hemp oils for the Quebec market.
There is a project in Joliette lead by Ms. Héléne Sergerie, commissaire industriel du CLD-Joliette. Last year ChanvrEstrie delivered a few tonnes of hemp straw to them. More details of this project remain confidential.
Normand Gagné in Chicoutimi planted 8 ha of industrial hemp
Tieneke Kuijner of Pontiac has 4 ha of Fasamo. This is her second year of commercial hemp growing.
Philippe Marquis, researcher of Université du Quebec (Abitibi), works for La Société des Plantes á Fibres Inc. This is his second year of experimental hemp cultivation, The goal of which is evaluation of varieties.
Yvon Morrisette of Granby has 4 ha of Fellina-74 and Uniko B destined for experimental production of biocomposites.
Hempco continues in its pedigree seed production of FIN 314. In 1998, Hempco produced seed that was classified as Foundation. This year the Quebec-based company has 30 ha. (75 acres) that will be certified Registered. The seeds are grown in two locations; one in Ayer's Cliff, the other in Compton. In August, an unusual permit was issued by Health Canada, allowing 100 FIN 314 plants to appear as props in the movie "La vie apres l'amour." The production's crew was apparently quite satisfied with "the good looks and the pungent smell of their new star. "
6. Nutiva now sold at Healthshop.com
Nutiva, a Sebastopol, California, hemp food marketer has recently signed an exclusive agreement with Internet retailer Healthshop.com to distribute its fast-selling hempseed bar.
Preliminary sales results were announced on September 1st - over 1000 of the company's bars, which contain Canadian hempseeds mixed with flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds in a light honey base, were sold during the first week making it one of the top new product launches in the web site's history.
According to Nutiva founder and President John W. Roulac, "Hemp foods are revolutionising the natural-foods industry. Our strategic alliance with the Web's number one online health retailer, Healthshop.com, will create additional awareness of our bar and its nutritional benefits, as well as building brand equity and loyalty."
Bob Purcell, Healthshop.com's VP of Marketing and Business Development is excited. "We recognise the exploding popularity of hemp products and the incredible nutritional value of hempseeds. The Nutiva bar has quickly become a best-seller with our discriminating audience." Healthshop.com features Nutiva's hempseed bars on its home page and is planning promotional e-mails to its customer base and partner sites.
Nutiva introduced its hempseed bar at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim last March and has enjoyed a rising wave of consumer and retail demand. Currently, Nutiva is adding some 50 new stores a week to its base of 600 in 32 states. According to Terry Phillips, Nutiva's VP for Sales, "Our hempseed bars are popular with natural-food retailers, including Whole Foods and Wild Oats. We recently signed agreements with Nature's Best and Mountain People's Warehouse, the two leading natural-food distributors in the Western U.S."
Healthshop.com is a leading Web site for custom-tailored natural health solutions. Backed by a medical Advisory Board with a focus on natural health and experience in the fields of naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutrition, and allopathic (traditional) medicine, Healthshop.com is a complete source for personalised wellness plans, high-quality natural health products, and medically sound information. Healthshop.com currently is carrying over 6000 products, including Nutiva, Spectrum Essentials cold pressed hemp oil capsules, and a full line of Jason Natural Cosmetics bodycare products.
Nutiva is a hemp-food developer and marketer of branded products to natural-food retailers, convenience stores, and supermarkets. During the next year, Nutiva plans additional flavours and line extensions.
For further information, visit http://www.nutiva.com or visit Http://www.healthshop.com
SOURCE: Nutiva, Healthshop.com
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Growers and Processors of textile grade Flax and Hemp Fibre
755 boulevard des Érables, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield,
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Contact: Tim Niedermann, Tel: 450-371-0333, Fax: 450-371-2220
Developing sustainable alternatives in international agribusiness
The Value of Value-Added Hempseed Foods
By Ron William Schnider
Foods made from hempseeds are nutritious and tasty when prepared the right way. The North American diet is inundated with carbohydrates and 'Bad Fats', thus hempseeds, high in Amino Acids, Protein and 'Good Fats', are a necessary addition.
'Healthy' is an important feature, but usually taste, packaging and shelf life are more important factors determining the success of a food product. The key to success in the Hemp Food industry is to value-add the raw seed into a finished good that appeals to the eyes, taste and needs of the market.
Sell a Finished Product Rather than a Commodity Crop
Many farm crops, like wheat, canola and flax are sold on commodity markets. The prices of many commodities has been dropping over the years, quite dramatically at times, leaving farmers with poor incomes. To rub salt into the wounds, the 'big-money' earned value-adding these commodity crops (e.g.: bakery, brewery, oil press) go into the pockets of foreign companies not owned by farmers.
Canadians Can Profit from Value-Adding Hempseed
Producing Hempseed Oil is a simple example of how to make money from hemp. If you buy one kilogram of hempseed for $1.32 and press the seeds, the equivalent of a 250-ml bottle of oil is produced which sells for $10. If the costs to value-add the product are less than $8.68, than you can make a profit. Sounds too simple? Keep in mind the costs incurred to produce the bottle of oil include:
1. Cost of Goods sold
2. Processing (Pressing the Seed)
3. Bottle and Bottling
4. Label and Labelling
5. Storage (Refrigerated)
7. Administration Costs
8. Regulations (e.g.: Product Testing)
9. Overhead and Salaries
Quick and Easy Processes
Hempseed enthusiasts can use a 'one-step' value-added process to the hempseed:
1.Oven-roasted and seasoned with spices or sweeteners.
2. De-Hulled into 'Hemp Nut' and used in the place of sesame seeds
3. Smashed in a Coffee Grinder and sprinkled over grains.
Looking for More Value-Added Hemp Ideas?
There are hundreds of applications for hempseed in the food industry. Hemp products listed in a recent Health Canada study on hemp foods include:
Hempseed oil - Bread - Cookies - Pancakes - Hemp-seed porridge - Frozen dessert - Pasta - Burgers - Pizza - Salt substitute - Brownies - Hemp fruit crumble - Salad dressings - Hemp-oil mayonnaise - Hemp cheese - Hemp yoghurt - Butter substitute - Hemp milk drinks - Nuts & seeds - Hemp-seed pad Thai - Lemonade - Beer - Wine - Coffee Hemp nog .
Canada Should Invest in Hemp Foods
Not only do value-added hemp foods cater to refined needs of the market, but they are emerging as the ideal food for the health conscious consumer. The more I research into hempseeds and their nutritional value, the more I am convinced that Canada should invest into value-added processing facilities for hempseed. Farmer-owned food facilities will greatly multiply the earnings per pound of hempseed.
Ron W. Schnider, Agribusiness Relationship Builder, can be reached at email@example.com
Harvest season is upon us. Canadian Hemp Corp is farming as well as processing this year. Our processing plant is located in Chilliwack, B.C. We will have both organic and non-organic seed, oil, nut, cake and fiber. We would like to welcome new buyers and market developers. All of our grain is 100% Canadian certified. For all inquiries contact:
Canadian Hemp Corp dba Canadian Hemp Farmers Association 9175 Mainwaring Rd. Sidney, BC, V8L 1J9 Ph: 250-656-7233 Fax: 250-656-8860 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GMO's: a Marketing Opportunity for Hemp?
By Jason Freeman
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) also referred to as Genetically Engineered Organisms are now present in over 60% of our processed foods. Since 1995 over 40 genetically modified crops have been approved in the US and Canada. However, the recent introduction of this new technology into our food chain is causing indigestion for many corporations, regulators and proponents.
There are many issues that have arisen because of this new technology. I would like to focus on two: consumer attitudes and marketing. Over the past eighteen months in Europe, Greenpeace and many other organisations have been fighting an extremely effective campaign against genetic modified crops and foods. This campaign has been so successful at convincing the European public of the dangers of genetically modified foods and crops that two of the world's largest food processors, Unilever (UK) and Nestle (UK) have agreed to faze out genetically modified ingredients from their branded products. They have been joined by grocery store chains Tesco, Sainsbury, Safeway, Iceland, France's Carrefour, Spain's Prvca and Italy's Migros. These companies were so concerned about the European public's outcry over GMO's that they did a 180-degree turn from their previous position in that GMO's were perfectly safe.
So what does this have to do with hemp and more specifically, what does this have to do with the marketing of hemp foods? Firstly, the situation provides the Canadian hemp foods industry the opportunity to market its guaranteed GM-free hemp foods to the European consumer. As there is suspicion of any agricultural commodity being exported from Canada to Europe, hemp's GM free status is definitely a marketable attribute.
Secondly, the European experience should provide us with an excellent indication of what will happen when the North American public is exposed to similar information regarding gene-altered foods. A survey conducted in June by Time magazine found that 81% of Americans want genetically engineered foods to be labelled as such.
This argument becomes even stronger when the experience in other markets is investigated. As a result of strong pressure from many consumer and environmental groups, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are introducing food-labelling legislation. In India a coalition of groups is mounting an impressive lobby against the "GM-ization" of Indian agriculture. Brazil, based on consumer fears, has rejected Monsanto's application to register Round-up Ready Soybean. This leaves Brazil, the world's second largest soybean producer, in the enviable position to supply the hungry European market place with the GMO free soybean that this market demands. Because the Brazilian government and now its Supreme Court have prevented the registration of GM soybean, Brazil can guarantee its customers GM free soy. US agricultural exports were down 20% from the year before, so it is safe to venture that the Brazilian farmers were one of the groups to profit from this decline in American exports.
These examples provide strong evidence that a large percentage of the marketplace is rejecting GM foods. Therefore, as the adage goes, "The customer is always right," the hemp food industry should provide the customer with the GM free food that the customer demands. And not only should the industry provide this product, they should market this attribute.
One of the platforms that brought about the legalisation of hemp in Canada was hemp's benefit to the environment. The introduction of GMO's has raised many questions about this technology's environmental safety. Therefore it is a logical fit for hemp to remain GM free and for the industry to publicise this fact.
Presently, since there are no registered GM hemp cultivars, hemp is one of a few grain crops grown in Canada that can be guaranteed GMO free. Even organic canola, wheat and flax cannot guarantee this because of the proven danger of cross-pollination with their GM counterparts.
As the hemp industry matures so will the sophistication of its marketing. Educating the market place about hemp's exciting nutritional characteristics and its non-GM status will take a co-operative effort on an industry wide level. Therefore, if you are hemp grain farmer, processor or marketer and are interested in such a co-operative marketing effort, please feel free to contact me.
Jason Freeman is President of BioHemp, a Canadian wholesaler of certified organic hemp oil products. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Jon Cloud
In my last article I talked about earthworms, the Leviathans of the soil. This month I want to tell you about the little critters, the Lilliputians that feed the giants. The little critters are generally referred to as microbes. These Lilliputians feed on the organic material you provide for them, the bulk of which is made up of carbon. Fungi are the only little critters that can break down the wood-like material in plants, which is mostly carbon. When you add Organic Matter (OM) to your soil, you are actually adding carbon. This is how you build fertility in your fields. Besides fertility, you are increasing the friability (texture and carbon) in your soil. Microorganisms live on plant reside (carbon) you give them. Fungi lives primarily on carbon you provide them through your crop residue.
Where do you get the carbon? Well, you get it free from the air. The carbon is placed in your plants when the crop breathes in CO2 and breathes out Oxygen. Carbon is important in plant growth - 49% to 60% of the weight of the plant is carbon. All of this mass is provided free by the atmosphere. This is fortunate as fungi rely on carbon. In other words, 50% of the active living organisms in the soil are living on the carbon which was provided to you by the air and delivered to the microorganisms via your crop residue.
So what if your soil test shows that you have 10% organic matter, then what is the rest of the soil made from?
Soil composition is categorised into two parts. The largest part is made up of material which is unusable or unavailable for use by your crop. This comprises 90% of your total soil mass. The remaining 10% is Organic Matter. Many soil test reports that you receive from the soil analysis you send to the laboratory show this as OM. If you have an OM of 10% most people would think you are doing a great job. In fact, 10% Organic Matter is very average.
Let's say you have 10% Organic Matter in your field. Of this 10%, only 10-30% is the active organic fraction of your OM. Let's take the average between the 10%-30% - that would leave us with 20% as the active part of your Organic Matter. Since 20% of 10% is only 2%, you are only working with 2% of your total soil to feed your crops. So you can see what happens when you increase the organic matter in your soil by a few percentage points - you are providing a larger percentage to the active organic material or food to your crop. About 24%-30% of the active organic matter is comprised of living microbes. The other 70% of the active organic material is decomposable organic matter. This means that only about 0.5% of your soil is alive. This 0.5% is actually supplying your crop with the foods it needs to produce a good yield for you. The microbes, which are decomposing your Organic Matter, are less than 1% of your soil. Remember 50% of these creatures are fungi. Why fungi? Because fungi are the primary decomposers of carbon which you provided through your cover crop and crop residue. Herein lies the key to your soil fertility.
So where does the fertility and nutrient supply come from? Indirectly from your Organic Matter. Directly from the bodies of the microbes that grow, die and decay in your soil. It is in the microbes' bodies that your plants are feeding on.
The best way to build fertility is through your microbe populations. The best way to build your microbe populations is to build your carbon which is what your cover crops are doing.
Where does the carbon come from? The carbon is free because is comes from the air. Build fertility by using the air! Cover crops use the air and build you soil's fertility while all the time you're sitting by the fire keeping you feet warm.
The proportion of earthworms and other larger creatures in the soil is small compared to the microbial population. In our climate, the soil with its high organic matter may have 10 billion (10,000,000,000) protozoan - just one class of the many organisms that make up the biomass - per acre (it has been estimated that if all the protozoans in one acre were laid end to end, even though they are very tiny, they would go around the world three times).
The land, our land, which has been depleted and run down through neglect and ignorance for the past five decades, waits patiently for us to rebuild it. We, as pioneers of organic farming techniques, carry the one great ingredient for the successful preservation of our most important resource. Upon our foresight hangs the future. Our powers of observation of the natural system and its divine wisdom, our curiosity for knowing more, and our desire to understand how things are interconnected are insufficient without the foresight. We must not forget why we work so hard to arrive at better ways of working with the Earth. It is our foresight, that clarity of vision, which provides us with the understanding that what we are doing is for our children. We may not be able to see far enough down that long road of the future to have a clear view of what it will be. But our children will see it. They will see it even more clearly if we give them the feeling in our hearts. This is the feeling which comes from foresight, the foresight which our grandfathers or fathers had when they give this gift to us.
Little that is lasting occurs without foresight.
(This is the third of Jon Cloud's four-part series on the soil fertility cycle that began in the HCFR #2; Jon Cloud is the principal of Cloud Mountain Inc. of Toronto, Ontario.)
Cloud Mountain Inc. contracts with certified organic farmers for hemp
grain and fibre production to produce hemp oil as well as a line of hemp,
and hemp cotton socks and sweaters. Everything is Canadian Made.
Check out the Iron OX fibre and fabric line at 416-762-0940.
US dealers and representatives wanted.
"Hempburger...": where's the beef?
By Arthur Hanks
Hempburger: where's the beef?
A provocative July 27th article that ran in The Globe & Mail ("Fancy a Hempburger? Health Canada study says THC poses a health risk") immediately caused a furore in industry circles across the county. The article was based on a study in progress being conducted by the Bureau of Drug Surveillance as part of a risk assessment analysis on hemp foods. Prompted by impassioned responses from the industry, the nationally-distributed Toronto paper ran a follow-up article the next day, correcting its error as identifying hemp foods as being from the "marijuana" plant, and giving several spokespeople a chance to have their say in the forum of the national media.
In case you missed all the fuss, the original article, the follow-up and a selection of responses are posted in the " News Section" of the Hemp Trade web site. Check out: http://www.hemptrade.com/hemptrade/info1_toc.htm
I don't care what they say, as long as they're talking about me...
The short-term legacy of the G&M article has been a mixed inheritance. While to a degree, controversy is good marketing, and it's a safe bet that many curious consumers will try out hemp foods as soon as they can find them, such a study could reinforce negative attitudes towards industrial hemp on the regulatory and international trading level. Thus it is key for the industry to prepare a good critique of the findings as they are presented.
Is the study good science?
In his letter of response to the G&M, Canadian hemp researcher and breeder Peter Dragla wrote: "It is unimaginable how the research report submitted to Health Canada could develop a risk assessment analysis on hemp foods in such a short period of time (since the 1998 commercial harvest). Normally this type of risk assessment study would require 5 to 10 years of tests on lab animals and humans. How was it possible that a research report, based on 9 to 10 months of even 'extremely intensive" tests, could lead to realistic results? ... The credibility of such assessment seems rather doubtful. "
The HCFR has acquired the complete draft document (Industrial Hemp Risk Assessment, prepared by Joan Orr M.Sc. and Mary Ellen Starodub M.Sc., Human Health and Environmental Toxicology Consultants, for Hugh Davis, Head, Microbiology and Cosmetics, Product Safety Bureau of Health Canada). It's a very thick (almost 200pp), technical work that purports to have reviewed all the available literature on the subject of THC.
It's a more carefully nuanced study than you might think. The major thrust is not to determine whether hemp foods will cause a psychoactive effect, but whether there are any other health effects from use of THC products. One interesting comment is that most hemp food trials and regulations to date have been designed for passing a urine test, and very little else.
In brief, this Risk Assessment is a survey of the available literature of the effects of THC on the human body, and then an attempt to account for the effects of THC on a typical human population. This involves the creation of some theoretical models, and a lot of math.
And yes, there is a lack of data on living populations, which the authors freely admit. By way of example, in a well-publicised section on breast feeding, the report reads:
"It should be noted that the estimates for infant exposure through breast milk are hypothetical and based on very limited data and on several assumptions (listed above) for which there is not direct scientific support. These estimates are provided by way of example and indicate that infant exposure through breast milk could possibly fall into these ranges. Actual exposures could be higher or lower (emphasis added)." (167)
There's lots more inside, and I am slowly working my way through this document. My first impression of this Health Risk Assessment is that it is not a convincing scientific argument to toughen existing standards or to erect more rules and regulations over this overly regulated crop, especially in light of the well-documented health and environmental benefits of hemp foods and cosmetics. At most, this "Risk Assessment" is a census on what information is lacking and is a map for future research.
To reach any definite conclusion at this point would seem to be irresponsible.Well the authors disagree with me on that: they end with a call for action:
" Generally the uncertainties would appear to lead to an underestimate of risk ... Even with some degree of underestimation of risk the results of this assessment clearly indicate unacceptable risks."(181).
In colloquial Canadian English, I take this to mean: "We can't prove anything right now, but you still bear the burden of guilt anyway."
Get your own copy
If you want take a crack at this report, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll see about sending you a copy. I would be very interested in hearing well-informed opinions and analysis from our capable readership. One caveat: the document is dated March 3rd, 1999, so it may have gone through some evolutions since that date.
Get your web site up and going already...Online but not on the web? Need to give your non-profit group an Internet presence? Too busy to get around to setting up the dang thing already? Terry Lefebvre of Hemptrade is offering FREE web page hosting for industrial hemp-related sites, as well as layout, set up and administration for all sites at fairly reasonable rates. Contact Terry at email@example.com for more info.
New Processors and Marketers in Place in Manitoba:
Profile on Hemp OIL Canada and Fresh Hemp Foods
By Arthur Hanks
Over half of the national crop is planted in the Manitoba, most of it contracted by the multinational Consolidated Growers and Processors. However, there are other players in the province who are not to be overlooked. Hemp Oil Canada and Fresh Hemp Foods are two bright new made-in Manitoba companies that have started up without a lot of fanfare. Both of these ventures primarily define themselves as hemp food companies. On a recent trip to Winnipeg, I was able to meet with principals of both companies, and talk about the state of their operations and the industry.
Winnipeg has a lot to offer start-up companies: low cost and full serviced industrial land, a large and well-trained labour force, and low hydro rates. The city has a diversified secondary manufacturing base and many supporting service industries. It is Canada's largest distribution centre between Vancouver and Toronto and has access to both national and international markets by air and highway, with direct rail links to seaports.
"Hemp Food is Good Food" is the motto of Shawn Crew, Hemp OIL Canada's President. HOC, located in Ste. Agathe and St. Norbert, Manitoba, started up in Match of 1998. The company currently has five core products: roasted and sterilised hempseed, hulled hempseed, Prairie Emerald Oil, and seed cake. All products are packaged in bulk.
Hemp OIL Canada is vertically integrated. The company contracts acreage with area farmers, and processes, markets and distributes its own products. HOC is also positioning itself to offer custom packaging and labelling.
Crew has a sales and marketing background, and was a freight forwarder who fortuitously happened to be in Vancouver in February 1998. Tipped off to the Commercial & Industrial Hemp Symposium II that was being held at the time, he attended, and was educated as to the possibilities that were emerging with this new industry. A few weeks after the Symposium, he helped formed Hemp Oil Canada.
A New-Old Oil Press
I am taken on a tour of HOC's new oil press, located in a warehouse at the farm of Cloutier Agra Seeds, in St. Norbert Manitoba. After some delays, the plant is very close to completion, and is expected to have a production capacity of 3 million tonnes a year. A hopper, dehuller, cleaner and gravity feeder have been set up. The oxygen-free, nitrogen fixing oil press was the last piece to arrive, and its very nearly ready.
The press is an old war-horse - Crew shows me the new components ordered from Germany, and in comparison, the old screw from the press. It's heavily grooved and worn - this unit has crushed a lot of seed in its day. Crew tells me that it's the old press from the Ohio Hempery and passed on to HOC by the Hempery's Don Wirtshafter, "...' as you Canadians are doing all the work anyway.'"
The warehouse is filled with huge sacks of seed stockpiled from last year's hemp harvest. HOC had some product developed last year, and soon will begin commercial processing of the half million pounds of grain they expect to harvest this year.
Hemp Oil Canada has some innovative ideas, including using a converted coffee roaster as an alternative to seed sterilisation (HOC is licensed by Health Canada to pursue this idea). Other research that the company is also looking at include using non-chemical solutions for cleaning seed and microscopic studies of the hempseed.
HOC is also looking to manufacture hemp nut oil, which would be a processing first.
"We are not worried about competition," says Crew, "We will be the first exclusive hemp food processor in Western Canada."
Crew is also a board member of the formed-this-year Manitoba Industrial Hemp Association. The provincial association has representation from most of the in-province groups who are working with the crop, including Parkland Industrial Growers, Prairie Hemp and Hemp Oil Canada.
Industry co-operation, market development and the problematic status of the American market are some issues that keep popping up in our conversation. Crew is worried about American "zero tolerance", but believes processes like dehulling, and a better understanding of how THC collects on the seed, are ways to meet the strict expectations of the American border.
Cross-town competitor: Fresh Hemp Foods
I meet with Mike Fata, of Fresh Hemp Foods, at a café off Market Square in the Exchange District, a neighbourhood of turn-of-the-century Prairie wheat boom buildings. It's just after lunch and for some reason there's no waitress prowling the patio. So we just talk about food.
Mike Fata, wearing a green hemp ball cap, has just returned from the Edmonton Gift show and it's clear he's coming off a good run. He's enthused. "We were the only hemp company there," he says, "and because of that we were noticed." Under their Manitoba Harvest Label, Fresh Hemp Foods sells three main products wholesale to retailers: Hemp Oil, Hempseed Nut and Soft Gel Capsules.
The company grew out of the long-standing, Winnipeg-based Hemperor's Clothing company and diversified into food last year. They incorporated as Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd. in January of 1999.
Fata is primarily concerned with his company's sales, and is optimistic about the market. "There are 4000 Health food stores in Canada, three times that many other food stores. That's enough, " he says. He relates how the US market is complex, with very localised attitudes about hemp, which changes from county to county. In Canada, it's a lot simpler. A lot of education has been done and the market is receptive to Canadian-grown hemp produce.
Fresh Hemp Foods is also selling online. Their Internet sales division started in April, and now accounts for 20% of their sales, all of it direct to customer. Fresh Hemp processes orders via Credit Card or COD and can make a delivery within 2-3 days. They are finding a lot of orders come from the States. "Its good for making inroads into US market," says Fata.
Fresh Hemp has devoted resources to having a professionally labelled and packaged product. "Quality and Health, these are the concerns of the consumer; they won't buy a product with shoddy packaging, " says Fata. " You just can't sell hemp nut out of unlabeled paper bags!"
Fresh Hemp quietly opened a press in Portage-La-Prairie in January. They have achieved a high quality and consistency with their processing; Fata gives a lot of credit to their production manager.
We talk about the market. He tells me more about the Edmonton Gift show, how it was a new market with new faces. Their slogan at the show "Give the gift of hemp, give the gift of health" brought attention. Fata tells me that Sears has picked them up. Currently selling coast-to-coast, they are looking for national distribution. " I want the big stores, the Save-on-Foods, the Safeway's, " he says.
Fresh Hemp see themselves as processors and marketers, not farmers. The company sources from Kenex Ltd., as they have a very good quality and CGP, who are using the Ukrainian cultivars, which have a very low level of THC. Fresh Hemp is not yet doing organics, as Fata cites the cost of organic grain is one and a half times the conventional price. The feeling is that it's too steep a price to command for an already premium product.
Fresh Hemp had $250,000 in revenues in 1998, on the way to formalising themselves as a limited corporation. This is small potatoes in the food industry, but strong for a start-up, and certainly a long walk away from the cottage business "hemp ghetto". Despite this strong start, Fresh Hemp has kept a low profile industry-wise, eschewing industry themed trade shows, conventions and associations, and instead has been concentrating on educating the public, and developing the company
Fresh Hemp isn't worried about the scenario of a glut of hemp foods and oils (maybe up to six new brands?) on the market this fall and winter. Full of energy, they are confident of their quality, their marketing and their direction. Eyeing up to 10 new products in various stage of development, from hemp milk to protein powders, Fresh Hemp believes they are a leader, and not a follower, in the developing hemp food industry.
Next issue we will look at some developing western Canadian fibre processing ventures.
For more information on Hemp Oil Canada, and Fresh Hemp Foods, check them out online at http://www.hempoilcan.com and http://www.hemperor.com respectively.
North America's largest wholesaler of certified organic hempseed oil products:
Drums, pails, bottle, capsules.
Please call Jason Freeman, President, at 604-255-7979,
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A 1998 Hemp Industries of America (HIA) study, surveyed 50 companies in their 380 member strong organisation and projected sales in the United States at $28 million that year. Meanwhile the Body Shop reports that their growing line of hemp products now comprise 10% of their sales volume. As of fiscal year end in February 1999, the British company accounted for over £ 600 million pounds in revenue among 1663 stores open world-wide (25% of revenue was in North America spread over 140 shops in Canada, and 283 of them in the United States.). According to the Body Shop's 1999 Annual Report, their hemp skin care range was evaluated as "highly successful" in both the UK and International marketplaces.
Source: The Bakersfield Californian, Body Shop 1999 Annual Report
Stop the HempWorld: I want to get off!
HempWorld and Hemp Pages publisher Mari Kane has announced that the name "HempWorld", and the domains www.hempworld.com and www.hempworld.org have been sold. Hence, it is no longer Mari Kane's HempWorld.
Starting August 31, the HempWorld magazine will be referred to as "The International Hemp Journal formerly known as HempWorld." The present "www.hempworld.com" has moved to new domains, http://www.marikane.com and http://www.hemppages.com. Kane has also retained the name "Hemp Pages" and www.hemppages.com.
For more information, email Mari at email@example.com.
Source: Mari Kane
Hollingsworth joins Earth Scents
Earth Scents Soap Co. announces that Louise Hollingsworth (London, Ont.), of Hollingsworth and Fraser Hemp Merchants, will be joining Earth Scents as the sales Representative for Southwest Ontario. As of October 15, 1999, Louise will be looking after the customers in this area. Louise can be reached at 519-679-0765 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The balance of Earth Scents customers in the Golden Horseshoe, G.T.A and points North will still be represented by Laurie Scott of Port Perry, Ont. . Laurie has been with Earth Scents for two years and has helped to develop the company sales structure extensively through out health food store and gift shops. Laurie can be reached at 905-985-0990 or email@example.com.
Earth Scents Soap Co. is using hempseed oil from Ontario grown seed produced by Kenex Ltd. of Chatham, Ont. Kenex oil is fresh pressed and filtered to .5 microns. This removes bacteria without lowering the fatty acid profile. Earth Scents is a distributor for Kenex products as well as using the oil as a raw material in its body care line.
Source: Earth Scents Soap Company
Operation Wild Seed: Feral Hempseed Needed
By David Marcus
Do you know of any wild hemp growing in your neighborhood? If so, this is your chance to be part of one of the largest studies on hempseeds ever undertaken in Canada and to contribute to the development of a vital new Canadian industry. What's more, we'll even pay you!
Natural Hemphasis in association with Agriculture Canada is actively seeking samples of Canadian wild (feral) hempseed. Wild hemp is not uncommon in fields, meadows and near streams throughout eastern and central Canada. That it continues to flourish today despite 60 years of prohibition is testament to hemp's heartiness. Now that hemp is re-legalized, we are trying to revive that hemp which is truly Canadian.
Wild hemp typically will go to flower and then seed in early to mid autumn. If you know of the whereabouts of any of these wonderful plants, please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at: 416-535-3497 to provide us with their specific location, or we can make arrangements to accompany you to the source and harvest your find. If you think you know of some wild hemp, but are unsure, contact us anyway, and we'll be happy to help you identify your find.
The time is right now. From mid-August to mid-October keep you eyes open for those curious cannabis leaves, and if you are so lucky as to find a batch please let us know. You'll be doing a great deed and what's more, you'll collect a handsome reward!
Lines drawn in the sand...
This summer, The HCFR has received reports that a few shipments of Canadian hemp, both in food and non-food items, have been turned back at the Canadian-US border. In these cases, the controversial cargo has been legal to sell in the US, under existing laws. No company has been willing to come forward publicly at this time, preferring to resolve these issues quietly and privately. The HCFR respects this point of view, and hopes for a reasonable resolution in a timely manner.
Recipe of the month: Ginger and Nut Ice Cream
Here's an innovative use for your hemp nut, hempseed nut, or hulled hempseed. This recipe is compliments of the gourmands at Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd. For more great ideas, check out their web site at http://www.hemperor.com
2/3 cups cream
2 Tbs. Icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbs. Preserved ginger (in syrup)
2 tsp. ginger syrup
2-3 Tbs. Hempseed Nut.
Place cream in a bowl and whip lightly. Fold in icing sugar. Pour into a shallow freezer tray, cover and freeze for about 45 minutes, until the ice cream has frozen around the sides of the tray. Turn into a chilled bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in ginger, syrup and hempseed nut.
Return to the freezer tray, cover and freeze until firm. Transfer to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to soften before serving.
Woodstock: Canada's Outdoor Farm Show September 14-16th
Overwhelming public demand is bringing industrial hemp back to Canada's Outdoor Farm Show, held annually in Woodstock, Ontario. According to event organisers, "Hemp Hit a Chord in 1998," with the Industrial Hemp Tent packed with farmers interested in new growing opportunities, producing industrial hemp, and the processes that follow. Doug Wagner, Show Co-ordinator, says, "The Industrial Hemp Exhibition is part of our ongoing commitment to provide a catalyst that will bring workable harvesting technology to Ontario farmers."
This year the showcase will focus on oil-based production. The exhibit will include an industrial hemp plot, the Industrial Hemp Information Tent, and a hemp fashion show. Northern Ontario Research Co-ordinator Gordon Scheifele will be on hand to give talks and to answer farmers' questions. Exhibitors in the hemp tent will include Spiritstream, Simply Hemp and Earth Scents Soap Company and many others who will offer a great range of products.
Visit this site for more details: http://www.outdoorfarmshow.com/html/hemp.htm or contact Canada's Outdoor Farm Show, 193 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1H 3V4. 1-800-563-5441, 1-519-822-1092 (fax), email: email@example.com
Germany: CannaBusiness, September 17-19th
The 4th International CannaBusiness will take place on September 17-19th, in Hennef, Germany. CannaBusiness is the world's biggest forum for the international hemp community. The show has a strong trade and consumer mix in their attendees and exhibitors from all along the value-added chain. Sections will be devoted to hemp products (31% of last year's show), institutions and associations, media, herbs and teas, and more. The complementary Bioresource Hemp symposium, organised by the nova Institute, will be held in a separate exhibition hall: special topics this year include fibre separation and processing, industrial hemp products such as technical textiles and composite materials for the automotive industry, and resource trading.
Contact for CannaBusiness: Tri Tec Gmbh, Postfach 10 25 66 D- 44725 Bochum, Tel: +49 (0) 324-935 79 72, fax: + 49 (0) 234-935 79 75, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.cannabusiness.com (Note: this is a dual language site).
Contact for Bioresource Hemp: nova-Institute, Goldenbergstr. 2 D-50354 Hürth, Fax: +49 (0) 2233 94 36 83. Email: nova-H@T-online.de.
Hockley Valley, Ontario:
HIA Annual General Meeting and Convention, September 23-26th.
The sixth annual convention of the HIA will be held in Canada for the first time. Nestled in the Niagara Escarpment, beside the Bruce Trail, the North American hemp industry will be meeting this fall at the Ecology Retreat center near Toronto.
Thursday September 23
7:00pm Dinner (all meals will feature hemp cuisine using fresh Canadian seed and oil!)
Friday September 24
7:30 - 9:00am Breakfast
9:30-10:30am HIA Board Presentations
11:00-noon Cross-Canada and international regional updates
2:00-2:30pm Food panel and discussion
2:30-3:00pm Fibre panel and discussion
3:30-4:15pm Marketing & retail panel and discussion
4:30-5:30pm Legal (Canada & U.S.) panel and discussion
7:00pm Dinner and speaker
Evening Music & dancing
Saturday September 25
9:30-11:30am Open morning (guided spice and herb discovery walks along the Bruce Trail, etc.)
11:30-1:00pm Bus to farm day and picnic lunch
1:00-5:30pm Farm day! Visit to licensed hemp operation, and expert speaker series including: Dr. Ernest Small, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Jean Laprise, Kenex, Ltd., Bill Baxter, OMAFRA, Greg Herriot, Hempola. Also: hemp food and a hemp harvesting demonstration.
7:30pm Dinner & Awards Ceremony
Evening Music & dancing
Sunday September 26
9am - noon Breakfast and town hall meeting - open forum discussion
12:30-2:00pm Lunch & goodbye
This event is for Members and their Guests only. To join the HIA or attend the convention, please contact Candi Penn, HIA Secretary at Tel: 707-874-3648 Fax: 707-874-1104 or email: email@example.com. (Membership in the HIA and Convention registration will be offered at a special rate to Canadians this year!).
Chilliwack, October 29-30th:The British Columbia Industrial Hemp Growers Association AGM
The first Annual General Meeting of the BCIHGA (BC Industrial Hemp Growers Assn.) will be held at the Rainbow Country Inn, Chilliwack, on October 29-30th. Friday (October 29th) will be an evening social event for people to get acquainted. The actual meeting will begin on Saturday at 8:30 AM. Conference fee is $40.00 for members and $60.00 for non-members. Membership in the association for voting members costs $60.00 per year/association memberships cost $45 per year. Note that only current members will be able to vote at the General meeting (you will be allowed to become a member at the meeting.)
Display tables will be available at a fee of $30 for members and $60 for non-members for industry or associations to display products and information. Vendors are to supply own backdrops as no tacking on hotel walls is allowed. To book a table, call Cherie Cursinoff at 250-442-2346.
For room reservations at the Rainbow County Inn, please call 604-795-3828.
The BCIHGA is BC's first government approved and sponsored non-profit hemp organisation and has received seed funding by BC Ministries of Agriculture and Food, Advanced Education, Training and Technology and HRDC Canada to draft by-laws and a constitution that will be ratified at this first AGM.
For more information about the meeting and the BCIHGA, contact Lee Wells, BCIHGA, PO Box 1031, Grand Forks, BC, V0H 1H0, phone: (250) 442-0333 or fax (250) 442-2875, or Al Oliver, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food at (250) 371-6050 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rolling Meadows, Illinois: NAIHC 5th Annual Conference, November 4th-6th
The 4th annual meeting and international conference of the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC) will be held at the Holiday Inn, Rolling Meadows Illinois (near Chicago). This show is an opportunity to learn more about annual industrial fibre crops and to interact with agricultural and industrial experts. Attendees will exchange ideas, discuss opportunities, and explore the economic potential of industrial hemp for farmers and industry. The conference will allow farmers, researchers, industry, environmentalists, and public policy makers to form educational networks in order to advance industrial hemp as a renewable agricultural fibre.
The tentative agenda for the conference includes: country overviews, fibre uses, processing technologies, expanding fibre shortages, role of hemp in sustainable agriculture, new market development, carbohydrate economy, Canada's 1999 industrial hemp crop, and a report on NAIHC's petition to the DEA. A trade show will complement the conference; space is limited. A membership business meeting will precede the conference on Thursday, November 4th from 3-5 p.m.
Book early. Early Registration cut-off date is October 19th.
Watch here for updates: http://www.naihc.org or contact NAIHC - Theresa, PO Box 259329, Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9329. Email: email@example.com, Ph: 608-224-5137, Fax: 608-224-5111.
Please Note: Last issue of the HCFR listed this year's NAIHC event as being held in Memphis, Tennessee. Event organisers have since confirmed that this year's show is to be held in Rolling Meadows.
IS YOUR GROUP HAVING AN INDUSTRIAL HEMP EVENT?
Contact Arthur Hanks, HCFR Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
Looking for Dehulled Hempseed?? - Hemp Oil Canada Inc. - email: email@example.com
RPC Labs - Licensed THC Testing; Pesticides; Nutrients etc.
Lowest pricing, incl. shipping, sample prep. 1-800-563-0844
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.rpc.ca
REACH A WIDE QUALIFIED AUDIENCE THROUGH ADVERTISING IN THE HCFR. Sponsorship and positions are also available.
For more information, please contact Jason Freeman at: email@example.com
AHEM - CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY
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909 Windermere St., Vancouver, BC, V5K 4J6.
Call (604) 255-4332, fax (810) 314-2138
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPPORTING ADVERTISERS IN THIS ISSUE:
Fibrex Québec Inc, email@example.com
Canadian Hemp Corp, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cloud Mountain Inc, email@example.com
BioHemp Ltd., firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell them you saw it in the HCFR!
DISTRIBUTION: The HCFR is available for free to interested parties only on the Internet. Direct subscription for this issue is 1,000+. We encourage Associations working in the industry to circulate the HCFR to their members (*.txt versions are available to interested parties, please contact us, if this is what you want)
THE HCFR ON THE WWW:
Back issues of the HCFR are posted on three leading industrial hemp web sites: Natural Hemphasis, Hemptrade and Marikane.com. Check us out at:
Thanks to David Marcus, Terry Lefebvre and Mari Kane for their continuing good work on making needed information available.
NEXT ISSUE: OCTOBER 14TH, 1999
© 1999 AHEM, ARTHUR HANKS. NOT TO BE DUPLICATED FOR FINANCIAL OR PERSONAL GAIN. CONTACT US ABOUT REPRODUCTION RIGHTS.