Updated: Jan 19, 2019
This year, Kentucky Hempsters partnered with Kentucky hemp farmers and processors, along with organizations and activits to help host and participate in a number of events to celebrate the 6th Annual Hemp History Week.
Hemp History Week is an industry-wide project initiated by the Hemp Industries Association (“HIA”) and Vote Hemp, involving hundreds of hemp manufacturers, farmers, activists, volunteers and retailers. These national organizations looked to coordinate with farmers and processors in states that have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp to celebrate the planting of this year’s hemp crops.
Hemp history runs deep in Kentucky. First planted near Danville in 1775, early settlers brought hemp to Kentucky as a resource for textile production. The industry rapidly expanded, and hemp remained Kentucky’s leading cash crop into the early 20th century, until it was replaced with cheaper, imported alternatives and later banned under the Controlled Substances Act.
Last year, Kentucky was one of three states to legally plant and harvest industrial hemp for the first time in over half a century. Through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, universities and privately licensed farmers had the opportunity to grow industrial hemp for research and development.
Kentucky Hempsters believe the key to generating the amount of support necessary to lift the federal ban on industrial hemp is to create awareness and demand through education and promotional efforts. With the Industrial Hemp Farming Act recently introduced in both the House and Senate in January 2015, its imperative to focus on educational outreach in an effort to clear the common misconceptions that have kept the U.S. from federally legalizing American hemp production.
Since April, Kentucky Hempsters have participated in the Mighty Kindness Earth Day Hoot and the Best Bloomin' Arts and Crafts Festival in Louisville promoting the past, present and future of Kentucky hemp.
On May 30th, 2015, Kentucky Hempsters partnered with Freedom Seed and Feed ("FSF") to kick off Hemp History Week with a Kentucky hemp planting and celebration. They were joined by leaders in the industry - Kentucky hemp farmer and FSF COO, Mike Lewis, author of Hemp Bound, Doug Fine, and Doris Hamilton from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture - along with a number of community members and hemp supporters.
On June 2, the University of Kentucky hosted a Hemp History Week celebration where Kentucky Hempsters had the opportunity to see the hemp crop planted on May 16, 2015.
The University of Kentucky Hemp History event featured a display of hemp products from Hemp History Week sponsors - Dr. Bronners Soaps, Tempt Hemp Milk and Nutiva - along with a complimentary hemp lunch from Whole Foods Lexington. Speakers included Eric Steenstra, President of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Dr. Dave Williams, University of Kentucky Agronomist and Lead Hemp Researcher.
On the Friday of Hemp History Week, Kentucky Hempsters set up a booth at the NoLi CDC Night Market in Lexington. Locals who attended the event were excited about a future hemp industry.
Stay tuned for more events coming up here.