agriculture is the world’s dirtiest industry, no doubt, but not too far behind it is fashion. luckily, while hemp is a kickass superfood, it’s also a pretty incredible textile. producing more fibre per field than cotton, with only a fraction of the resources, hemp makes for clothing that you can both look fresh in and feel good about.
see how hemp stacks up to cotton:
cotton needs twice as much land as hemp
cotton needs 9.75L to grow 1kg of fibre
cotton pollutes the water and leaves the land scorched due to its high pesticide and herbicide needs
cotton accounts for 25% of all pesticide use worldwide
hemp produces twice as much fibre per acre
hemp only uses 2.1L to grow 1kg of fibre
hemp returns up to 60% of the nutrients to the soil when dried in the field
hemp requires no pesticides and is a natural weed deterrent
hemp fibre is 4x more durable than cotton
hemp also makes for a great alternative to conventional concrete. by mixing the hemp hurd (part of the stalk) with lime and water, you're able to produce a flame retardant, insulating material that actually removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere throughout its lifecycle, causing it to strengthen over time. it's truly a construction material for the 21st century.
hemp fibre also has a fascinating history. here’s a brief overview:
the use of hemp can be dated back to 8,000BCE in ancient China where hemp cord has been identified in pottery.
the paintings of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gainsborough, etc., were primarily painted on hemp canvas, as were practically all canvas paintings (the word canvas comes from the latin word Cannabis).
the advent of hemp paper, which succeeded animal skin as a writing instrument has been credited as responsible for bringing Europe out of the dark middle ages due to its low production cost and subsequent prevalence. maps, log books, bibles and books were all made of rag bond paper that had a high hemp content from recycled clothes of homespun hemp, sails, ropes.
hemp sails and ropes carried the European settlers to America for hundreds of years - 1492 to the advent of steamships in the early 1800's.
hemp was also legal tender in most of the Americas from 1631 until the early 1800s. You could pay your taxes with hemp throughout America for over 200 years.
farmers could even be jailed in America for not growing cannabis during several periods of shortage, e.g., in Virginia between 1763 and 1767.
hemp was used for clothing, military uniforms, ship's rigging, shoes, parachute webbing, baggage, and much more. Christopher Columbus' ships were fully rigged in hemp. The U.S.S. Constitution, "Old Ironsides," was outfitted with over 40-60 tons of hemp rigging.
benjamin franklin started one of America's first paper mills with hemp. This allowed America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or justify paper and books from England.