Harvest Time For Hemp In Canada (press release)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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October is harvest season for hemp farmers on the prairies of Manitoba. While "hempreneurs" in the Dauphin region of the province celebrate the jobs and income this nutritious and eco-friendly crop generates, the same activity south of the border in the U.S would get them arrested. This is despite the fact that hemp can't get you high and is actually good for you.

"Communities in the U.S. are missing out on a great opportunity to practice sustainable agriculture that is profitable," says Art Potoroka, a hemp farmer from Dauphin. With sales in the U.S. growing 66% in the past year and no existing American crop, Potoroka and other Canadian hempreneurs are benefiting from an unusual market advantage.

Unlike the clandestine handpicking of sticky buds of its distant cousin, marijuana, which takes place this time of year in small outdoor plots and hidden grow rooms around the U.S., industrial hemp that lacks psychoactive THC is grown by Canadian farmers for its nutritious seeds on vast farm tracts. It's quite a sight to see. Hemp farms, which may resemble fields of seven-foot high ganja to the untrained eye, are mowed by huge combine tractors. Tons of seed is gathered into hoppers just like any ordinary crop. Harvest photos are available at www.manitobaharvest.com/company.

"We have more than 20 farmers growing hemp for us this year on about 2,200 acres, much of which is certified organic," says Mike Fata, co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, the largest integrated manufacturer of hemp foods in North America. "The way business is booming, even though it was a good growing season, we still might not have enough seed to meet demand," he adds.

What started six years ago as a seed of an idea and $50,000 in sales the first year, has bloomed into an industry leader with annual sales in excess of $1 million. After the hemp seed is harvested in Dauphin, it is shipped to the company's 6,000 square foot certified organic manufacturing plant in Winnipeg, where the hemp oil is crushed out and the seeds are shelled. Then the seeds are ground into nut butter and the hemp protein powder is milled from the pressed seed cakes.


Manitoba Harvest is counting on hemp to be the next great agricultural boon - like soy. Thanks to a landmark court decision, hemp has a chance. On February 6, 2004, the Hemp Industries Association won its 2 V2-year old lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit permanently blocks DEA regulations that attempted to ban hemp foods. The final chapter of the battle took place on September 27, when the deadline passed for the Bush Administration's lawyers to attempt to overrule the February court ruling. Even before the court decision, Manitoba Harvest's sales grew by more than 50% in each of the last three years.

Hempseed, oil and flour is being used in an increasing number of consumer products such as waffles, bread, frozen desserts, cookies, pasta, salad dressings, protein powders, energy bars and sauces. An abundance of stores around the country sell hemp foods. Virtually all hemp in U.S. foods is imported from Canada.


"More and more consumers are seeking hemp because of its incredible nutrition profile and then they discover the rich flavor," say Fata. Hemp's essential fatty acid (EFA) profile is closer to highly touted fish oil than any other vegetable oil. EFAs are the "good fats" that bodies need but can't produce. Therefore, EFAs must be obtained through the diet. "Hemp seed oil is the richest source of the Omega 6 & 3 EFAs," says Mike Fata "It seems a week doesn't go by without a new report on the health merits of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs," he adds. For example, he notes that on September 8 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced a measure that allows food companies like his to list health claims about EFA's on their food packages to let consumers know they are very good for their health.

For optimum health, EFAs need to be consumed in a certain ratio. Nutrition experts, including the renowned Dr. Andrew Weil, recommend Hemp Seed Oil due to its ideal 3.75 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFAs. In his respected book, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, nutrition expert Dr. Udo Erasmus states "The best-balanced plant source of EFAs is Hemp Seed Oil." Fish and fish oils are often recommended because they provide the omega-3 derivatives SDA, DHA, and EPA. But concern over the contamination offish by mercury and other toxins has led the FDA to warn pregnant women and nursing mothers to restrict their fish intake. Hemp's EFA profile provides a healthy alternative to fish.

Hemp's overall protein content of 34.6% is comparable to soy beans and is higher than that found in nuts, other seeds, meats, dairy products and fish or poultry. Hemp protein contains all of the essential amino acids in more nutritionally significant amounts and at a ratio closer to "complete" sources of protein (like meat, milk and eggs) than all other seeds except soy. 66% of the proteins in hemp are "edestin," which are easily digestible and act as pre-cursors to such vital body components as hormones, hemoglobin, en2ymes and antibodies. Hemp's edestin structure is the highest in the plant kingdom. Hemp also contains a healthy 35% of dietary fiber, the highest of all commercial flour grains, and it is high in the natural antioxidants Vitamin E, Vitamin C and chlorophyll.

Not only is hemp good for human health, it is also good for the planet Hemp is naturally pest-resistant, and because hemp plants grow rapidly and close together, they crowd out weeds and don't need herbicides. Hemp's only fertilizer requirement is nitrogen, which can be provided by manure. It is also a soil-building plant that is excellent for crop rotation. Its strong roots anchor the soil to prevent erosion and the leaves return nitrogen to the soil. Hemp cultivation generates virtually no waste and its byproducts are commercially useful.

Manitoba Harvest offers four categories of hemp foods: Hemp Seed Nut (shelled hemp seed); Hemp Seed Nut Butter; Hemp Seed Oil; and Hemp Protein Powder. Hemp Seed Nuts (shelled hemp seeds) have a soft texture, attractive sesame seed-like appearance and offer a nutty flavor similar to sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Although there are many uses and recipes (www.manitobaharvest.com/recipes), Hemp Seed Nuts are especially delicious when sprinkled on salads. Emerald green Hemp Seed Oil is "cold-pressed" from the raw hemp seeds. The oil is a tasty base for salad dressings. Made from ground shelled hemp seeds, Hemp Seed Nut Butter is a creamy spread for breads, bagels, crackers and croissants. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder is made from cold milled hemp seed cake, a byproduct of the hemp seed oil extraction process. Hemp Protein Powder is a power-packed addition to smoothies, juices and shakes.


Although every industrialized nation other than the U.S. allows it, don't expect to be able to grow hemp in the U.S. anytime soon. 22 states have introduced legislation to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp. Vermont, Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, New Mexico, Maine, California, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia have passed legislation to research the feasibility of a hemp industry. See http://www.votehemp.com/statelegis.html for more state information.

The U.S. government's misguided policy against hemp overshadows the crops' rich cultural history. Hemp is an important part of mankind's agricultural and commercial heritage, having been utilized extensively by cultures around the world for thousands of years. The history of hemp in America is remarkable. It was grown by the first colony at Jamestown, used for sails on 19th-century clipper ships, utilized for canvas covers on pioneer wagons, and was promoted during the huge "Hemp for Victory" program during World War II. Even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.

Conspiracy theories abound about the demise of hemp during the 20th century including the belief that the wood pulp, cotton-based textile, and chemical industries influenced the "Marihuana Tax Act" of 1937, a law that effectively eliminated hemp from competing with their products. Political influences following the World War II "Hemp for Victory" campaign created a misunderstanding that hemp was the same as marijuana and today that stigma often endures. The last legal U.S. hemp crop was harvested in Wisconsin in 1958, and the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 formally prohibited cultivation in the U.S.

In Canada, hemp seeds are celebrated as seeds of change and prosperity. On the production floor in Winnipeg, Fata inspects a sample of the hemp harvest and sums things up. "Hemp seeds like these can change peoples' health for the better, can change agriculture to be more sustainable and provide jobs in a prosperous new economy," he says. Manitoba Harvest™ products are offered by more than 1,500 natural food retailers, including Whole Foods Markets & Wild Oats. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1-800-665-HEMP (4367).

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About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams created TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called BetterLifeGoods.com that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs. He's also the CEO of a highly successful email newsletter software company that develops software used to send permission email campaigns to subscribers. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and pursues hobbies such as martial arts, Capoeira, nature macrophotography and organic gardening. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org

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