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Monday, 19 April 2021 12:07

Hemp is due a hayday as farm-grown revival begins across UK

The British Hemp Company has launched a mill in Warminster and has boosted its plans for 12 farms across the UK, with its founder Stephen Glover pointing out that being locally grown it avoids the carbon footprint of imports. In the 1930s hemp fell out of favour in Britain after the price fell and a government disinformation campaign wrongly linked hemp with Cannabis.

The new mill has opened in Warminster with accreditation from the Soil Association and ISO9001. The scheme is being pioneered by Steve Glover, the founder and MD of the award winning Severn Project CIC in Bristol. Glover’s new venture aims that for the first time UK grown hemp seed products will be available at scale. 

hemp plantSteve Glover has formed an alliance of like-minded investors, farmers and specialists. “With Britain’s rich fertile soil, this could be an abundant resource, in a time when Britain really needs to be more resourceful”, he says.  

Hemp is available in the UK but many suppliers sell seed-based products that are tainted with a large carbon footprint. Few are transparent about the distances travelled by their products, many of which come from countries as far away as Canada and China.  

Glover points out that hemp out performs many other crops in carbon capture, and one hectare of plants can remove up to 20 tons from the atmosphere during its growing cycle.  And that hemp is also beneficial for the insect population as it needs no pesticides or herbicides. This allows hedgerows to breathe and birds and butterflies to thrive.

We exist on a warming, over populated and polluted planet,” said Glover. “It is our mission to farm hemp and make investments into processing that reverse extremely disturbing trends such of plastic production, replace all of the toxic industries that are responsible for the destruction that we see around us every day, and give back to UK communities with employment, education and by promoting the huge health benefits of hemp.”

The British Hemp Company have launched with a range of products including Hemp Protein Powder, Hemp Seed Oil, Whole Hemp Seeds. Hulled Hemp Seeds, Hemp Flour, Hand Cream and Face Oil. A full range of body care products will be rolled out over the next few months including Lip Balm and Body Moisturiser.

In future The British Hemp Company will franchise its operation throughout the UK. The opportunities created include the manufacture of soaps and body care products, packing, processing, farming and expanding its product lines to paper making and textile manufacture.

The company's hemp is grown organically on twelve locations and 250 acres throughout the UK – from Totnes to Aberdeen, Colchester to South Wales.

hemp seedScott McCArthur of McArtur Agriculture Ltd said: “McArthur Agriculture Ltd are delighted to be supporting The Bristol Hemp Company with the provision and set up of processing equipment for hemp seed. It is an exciting prospect that many of our fellows in the UK agricultural industry can grow hemp to diversify and strengthen their businesses, whilst progressing ‘green’ aspirations. The British Hemp Company certainly mean business in setting up state of the art processing lines that will transform the raw material into exciting and diverse products with global demand.”

The British Hemp Company will be taking its lead from its European counterparts that have historically had government support and freedom for the cultivation of Hemp. Notably Poland and a partnership with the Polish Hemp Program.

Witold Czeszak, Head of The Polish Hemp Program, owned by the Institute of Natural Fibres and Medicinal Plants and funded by the Polish Government commented on the news and the partnership: “I have the upmost respect for the vision of The British Hemp Company and am very pleased to be working in an advisory role to support the expansion of ethical hemp farming in the UK. Steve Glover has expansive knowledge about Hemp and understands how to overcome the barriers to production innovative goods made from industrial hemp. We are confident that with Steve’s passion and expertise that the harvesting of industrial hemp will make the necessary strides forward for mass production in the UK to kickstart the development of industries dealing with the processing of hemp stalks - from textiles, cosmetics sectors, to construction.”

• Reducing carbon: Each tonne of harvested hemp takes the UK 20 tons of carbon closer to ‘net zero’. All other hemp companies import hemp from abroad but are not transparent about it. The British Hemp Company only grows hemp in the UK and aims to give back to British Farmers to help them flourish once again
• Rejuvenating British Farming: Hemp farmers can make 3 times as much from growing hemp to growing other crops e.g. Barley as no expensive machinery needed, no pesticides and easier to grow at scale
• Eco Fuelling cars: Hemp can fuel cars and replace diesel - Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced hemp oil and hemp ethanol can be made from fermented stalks. These fuels could be the answer to our increasing need for renewable fuel sources.
• Textile Revolution: Textiles made from hemp are four times stronger than cotton, but softer.
• Amazing Growth: The main advantage of hemp is its growth cycle. Hemp can grow up to 15 feet high within three to four months, whereas trees take at least 10 years to produce, per hectare, a comparative amount of pulp for paper. Cellulose is the principal ingredient in paper. Trees are only 30% cellulose, requiring the use of toxic chemicals to remove the other 70% of plant matter. Hemp contains up to 85% cellulose
• Replacing plastic: Toxic packaging can and must be replaced with hemp if we are to save our sea life and our planet