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Kentucky Hempsters and Henry Clay Estate in Lexington host hemp symposium and dinner

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

On Saturday, June 11, 2016, Kentucky Hempsters hosted Henry Clay's Hemp Symposium at Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate in Lexington to celebrate Hemp History Week and unveil the hemp plot Kentucky Hempsters facilitated through parent company, United Hemp Industries, in partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Industry leaders and vendors spoke throughout the day to discuss the evolution of the Kentucky hemp pilot program. The afternoon culminated in a hemp-infused dinner for 75 prepared by Chef Jeremy Ashby at Azur Restaurant & Bar with hemp foods sponsored by Victory Hemp Foods. Each guest had their choice of "Henry's Hemp Julep" or hemp beer with dinner, and left the event with a hemp tote bag full of hemp product samples and informational materials.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles speaking at Henry Clay's Hemp Symposium. Photo credit: Brent Burchett

The symposium started at 1:00 PM with a welcome from Henry Clay Memorial Foundation Executive Director Jim Clark and an introduction by Kentucky Hempsters co-founder Alyssa Erickson.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles kicked off the guest speaker segment and discussed his family's ties to Henry Clay and hemp farming. He recognized the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for working diligently on the hemp pilot program and expressed his eagerness to continue improving and expanding the projects.

Dr. Charles T. Ambrose discussing "Transylvania and its Hemp Connection." Photo credit: Becci Ray

The next three speakers covered the historical evolution of the Kentucky hemp industry. Eric Brooks, Ashland Site Curator, gave us an overview of Henry Clay's dedication to the crop both as a farmer and legislator. Mr. Brooks was followed by Charles T. Ambrose, M.D., a professor in the department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and author of "Transylvania and its Hemp Connection." Dr. Ambrose discussed the early history of Lexington and its first college, Transylvania Seminary/University, and how the school may not have survived had it not been for the funding offered by the wealth derived from local hemp manufacturing and commissioning. Click here to read more about Charles T. Ambrose, M.D.

Andrew Patrick, a PhD candidate in American History at the University of Kentucky and Book Review Editor for The Register at the Kentucky Historical Society, concluded the historical segment with a discussion on Henry Clay and Hemp: Binding the Bluegrass to the World. He provided an overview of Kentucky hemp and its effect on the global economy, along with Henry Clay's role in doing so.

After a brief break and a trip to visit participating Kentucky Proud vendors like the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Cannabis Company, Victory Hemp Foods, Kentucky Hemp Works and Unify Water, the event resumed with a speaker segment focuses on the present-day production of hemp in Kentucky as part of the hemp pilot program.

The first speaker in this segment was Katie Moyer, owner of Kentucky Hemp Works, a processing company out of Western Kentucky making hemp oil, hemp protein and hemp root salves. She discussed her early involvement in the Kentucky hemp industry and those who influenced her early on, along with how she got to where she is today. "The leaders are those who show up" she said.

Next, guests had the pleasure of hearing from John Taylor at Commonwealth Extracts, who not only told his passionate story of how he discovered CBD oil but how he began his own company to start extracting and providing it to any one in need. Take a look at Katie's speech and some of John's in the video below. Thank you Tim Moorehead for providing the content.

Speakers concluded with Chad Rosen, owner of Victory Hemp Foods, who sponsored the hemp foods for the dinner. Chad discussed why he came to Kentucky to pursue this industry and how he believes we can all work together to create this thriving market. He debuted his new line of products at Victory Hemp Foods which reflect the USDA's short film released in 1942 "Hemp For Victory" to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war efforts. "Now we claim victory to bringing hemp foods to America, from Kentucky," he said.

Guests joined Kentucky Hempsters co-founder Kirstin Bohnert at the hemp plot following the speaker segment where she discussed the hemp research taking place through United Hemp Industries and the partnership with the University of Kentucky.

The five-course hemp meal arrived following the discussion by the hemp plot. The hemp dinner experience sold out with 75 reservations.

From hemp cornbread to blueberry hemp-crusted pie, the meal was a success. Just take a look at some of the pictures below. Everyone was blown away by the meal and how hemp was incorporated.

Of course, guests couldn't enjoy a hemp dinner without hemp drinks! Henry Clay's Hemp Dinner Experience offered a choice of hemp beer or "Henry's Hemp Julep" made with Kentucky bourbon, hemp milk and Kahlua (since Henry Clay originally coined the mint julep.) As a special thanks, guests also received a hemp tote bag full of hemp product samples and educational materials from our event sponsors and Hemp History Week.

This event was sponsored by Bluebird Botanicals in partnership with the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation and Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate. Stay tuned for upcoming events and activities.

Check out this article feature from the Lexington Herald-Leader/ about the event:

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