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Kentucky Gets Hip to Hemp: A story by Elaine Sheldon

Updated: Jan 17, 2019

In April, Kentucky Hempsters had the opportunity to sit down with journalist, director and media artist - Elaine Sheldon - and share with her our hempstory. It was important for us to emphasis how industrial hemp can supplement a number of failing industries within our state and provide countless opportunities for those our age and younger.

Kentucky Hempsters had their story featured in her latest publication, "Kentucky Gets Hip to Hemp." The documentary style creative piece dives deep into the re-emerging Kentucky hemp industry and those who are working hard to make it happen.

Read our chapter below and visit for the full story with audio.


The Hempsters

Hemp has been around for long time; so have many of the folks involved with bringing it back. But there’s also some young blood in the game. Alyssa Erickson and Kirstin Bohnert have taken an interest in hemp — and an interest in stopping the brain drain from their their home state.

“It’s important that our generation and the ones behind us see a future,” Erickson says. “And no one sees it with tobacco. No one sees it with coal. That’s not what our generation sees. I think hemp is something that everyone can look forward to. I’d like to build this industry and find opportunities for people our age, because we’re losing them.”

Erickson and Bohnert call themselves the “Kentucky Hempsters.” They use Facebook and Instagram to share daily and weekly updates and information. They’re young, they’re attractive, and they’re women, so they stand out among the usual Kentucky farmers. They see their role as the communication bridge between farmers, manufacturers, processors, educators and activists, to help promote their work and connect them with those who can help them. They have dreams of doing school tours of hemp fields, among other adventures.

“We want to take advantage of our youth and use it for something positive,” Bohnert added. “When you say Kentucky to people if they think one thing it might be hillbilly, it might be tobacco, but we’d love for people to think about hemp when they think about Kentucky.”

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