Mia Ferolito ~ Industrial Hemp Takes Manhattan

The following article first appeared in the latest issue of Hemp Nation Magazine, but hemp activist, art lover, and writer Mia Feroleto gave me permission to post her piece in order to raise more awareness about this potential game changer. People less familiar with Mia and the return of industrial hemp might enjoy this earlier piece from February 2015, as well as this inspiring piece of hers published at Veterans Today. Thank you, Mia, for your bright spirit, big heart, and tireless enthusiasm!


By Mia Feroleto

Seeds of change are blowing through the streets of Manhattan that are expected to germinate and grow by Spring of 2016. Hemp seeds that have been cast before the first winter snow will bloom in lower Manhattan as a series of exciting events focused on industrial hemp, art and architecture take form.

Most New Yorkers are unaware of the fact that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. It was considered a staple crop on revolutionary farms, used for rope and various and sundry things including the making of sails for ships. The first copy of the Declaration of Independence was written on sheets of hemp parchment. You could even pay your taxes with it.

Over 50,000 items can be made from hemp including batteries. Hemp seeds contain the highest amounts of Omega 3’, 6’s and 9’s making it a powerful addition to building a balanced daily diet. You can eat it, wear it, heat your home, make a car body (Henry Ford did, and BMW uses it to manufacture their doors), and re-grow the American economy by bringing home this billion dollar industry.

On February 27th, 2016, an all day presentation and panel discussion on industrial hemp is scheduled at the Frederick P. Rose Center at Cooper Union located at 41 Cooper Square. Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, Eric Steenstra, will give an over view of the history of industrial hemp in America up through and including the contemporary hemp movement and how we can get involved in ending the 70 year ban on growing hemp in our country regardless of whether we live in urban or rural areas.

Veterans and their Hemp

Veterans and their hemp

Panelists include Mike Lewis, founder of Growing Warriors in Kentucky and one of the leaders in the hemp farm movement, teaching returning veterans to grow their own produce and industrial hemp which they supply to Patagonia to manufacture clothing.

Vermont farmer and activist Joel Bedard, whose Vermont Hemp Company has recently introduced a new hemp beer, will discuss his hemp crop and the challenges of growing a plant that, although legal to grow in Vermont, is still considered illegal in most of America.

Tim Callahan of Alembic Studio, designer and builder of the first hemp house in Asheville, North Carolina, will discuss building with hempcrete, a combination of hemp mixed with lime, and the environmentally friendly nature of the hemp plant. Building with hemp is energy-efficient, non-toxic, resistant to mold, insects or fire and it absorbs carbon dioxide found in the home creating a safer, healthier environment.The day will close with the screening of “Bringing it Home,” a film by Linda Booker which chronicles the hemp movement in the United States and Canada.

Glenn Goldberg portrait

Artist Glenn Goldberg

The work of artist Glenn Goldberg will be on view from March 3rd through the 6th at the Art on Paper New York fair. Approximately 20,000 attendees will have the opportunity to view this unique work and learn about industrial hemp. The fair will include works by the top artists in the world exhibited by a wide range of galleries and private art dealers.

In collaboration with master paper maker Paul Wong, Goldberg will translate his iconic imagery from paint to hemp. The entire installation will be produced from industrial hemp, bringing the notion of paper and working on paper down to its most basic roots. Glenn Goldberg is the perfect artist to create such a work. His art tells of worlds that are seen and unseen, ephemeral yet permanent in reality and in the hearts and minds of his audience.

For the past six years, New York State HIA leader Susie Cody has gathered contacts and experience and is now collaborating with producer Mia Feroleto to organize this series of events, which are drawing hemp activists from around the country. New York State Assembly-woman Donna Lupardo, who helped usher in the hemp bill for the State of New York, will be in attendance to give an update on the bill and answer questions. Cody hopes these events will attract other New Yorkers interested in getting involved.

Inspired by the real solutions industrial hemp provides for current challenges facing the economy, environment, health and nutrition, Feroleto, the creator of ARTWALK NY and other cutting edge events in the New York contemporary art world, decided to combine disciplines in order to showcase possibilities in a creative way.

Regardless of 70 years of prohibition, the hemp plant remains and continues to thrive all over the world where countries utilize its amazing properties to create jobs and manufacture products that are healthy and inexpensive to produce. The hemp embargo has taken countless opportunities from Americans, both in terms of farming and production of goods. This is the time, post NAFTA and before the Trans Pacific Partnership takes effect, to ensure that Congress legalizes industrial hemp in all 50 states.

During the panel, Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading hemp advocacy organization, will be holding an advocacy action, inviting attendees to take out their cell phones and make a group call to their own congressional leaders to legalize industrial hemp and ask them to work for a committee hearing on the hemp farm bill.

Sponsors for HEMP NY CITY include Manitoba Harvest, Hemp Inc., Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, and


For more information on HEMP NY CITY or a schedule of events, please contact Mia Feroleto at


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mia feroleto on January 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you so much Laura!

    I wanted to share that the panel discussion on February 27th will be held in the Great Hall at Cooper Union rather than the Rose Building. The Great Hall not only holds four times the number of people, it has served as venue for a number of historic speeches including Abraham Lincoln’s groundbreaking talk against the advancement of slavery to the Western States. This speech provided the foundation for his campaign and ultimate victory as president of the United States. Perhaps our event will mark the date when we stand against corporate slavery and bring industrial hemp home to America.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Posted by Kieron on January 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Wow… I knew a little of the history of hemp but much of it was new to me. No wonder the old powers banned it. But the worm turns…

    Liked by 1 person


    • Exactly! Of course, part of the push for legalization is due to the new, “improved” GMO hemp. Must. Pave. Way. For. Profits. The thing is, though, most people interested in hemp will go the extra mile for organic. Part of the appeal is that it needs no GMO-ing. That’s why its sister, MJ, is called “weed.” Plenty strong on its own!



  3. Posted by Jamie on January 23, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Many thanks to Mia and Susie for their leadership and passion !



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