Posts Tagged ‘Hemp’

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

Mia Feroleto ~ H.E.M.P.

Mia Feroleto contacted me again by email with her latest article supporting and celebrating the possibilities of re-legalized hemp growing. This piece was first published in 13 Folds Magazine, which focuses only on the issue of cannabis in all its forms. In her email, Mia shared some other exciting behind the scenes developments, and I look forward to posting the official reports of those, as well.

If you’re wondering, “Why hemp?” then this article provides a glimpse into the ways legalized hemp growing can (and has already begun to) transform America — in all the big areas like the economy, transportation, healthcare, clean building materials, veterans’ reintegration to society, healthy food … . It’s easy to see why the gasoline giants and BigPharmafia have suppressed hemp for the past 70 years. Other countries already use hemp in construction, but imagine how this process would grow if the US went back to its historical roots and could use our vast toxic, GMO corn fields for something that heals the land and grows like …  well … weed. 😉

Here’s Mia:

H. E. M. P.

Give Me An “H!” “H!”

Give Me An “E!” “E!”

Give Me An “M!” “M!”

Give Me A “P!” “P!”

What’s that spell? HEMP

What’s that spell? HEMP

LOUDER!!! L O U D E R ! ! !

For those of us who are children of the 1950’s and 60’s, we remember Country Joe McDonald calling out another four letter word at Woodstock. That song, The Fish Cheer, personified America’s youth telling the establishment to go fly a kite. Those were the days when life seemed full of wonder and people understood the power of the protest movement combined with the power of music.

America had changed quite a lot by 2010 when Lydia Barnes returned from active army duty in North Eastern Iraq. Having spent time on combat duty in a desert community, Lydia faced economic degradation and issues with her own health when she returned home to upstate New York. After turning to hemp for nutritional supplements to rebuild her immune system and regain her strength, Lydia was ready for something positive. Growing hemp became her focus as she participated in organizing Hemp History Week in the Utica, New York area and a hemp presentation at Paul Smith College. Just last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a bill making it legal to grow hemp in New York State giving Lydia and New York farmers cause for celebration.

Several years ago, returning veterans provided the inspiration for Mike Lewis to found Growing Warriors in Kentucky. When Mike’s brother came back from serving his country, the first thing he needed to do was sign up for food stamps so that he could eat. Mike understood that a community garden would provide food for veterans and their families, along with a skill that could be turned into income. That first year, 12 veterans and their families were taught how to grow, harvest and preserve their produce as well as seed production. Participants asked to be shown how they could do this at home. From there, the program has expanded to include training for children so that they, too, will have skills to grow organic, nutritious food for themselves and their families.

Mike Lewis and Growing Warriors now call a 500 acre farm in rural Kentucky home. From the original 12 community garden participants, three have gone on to run their own programs. An enormous benefit from the program is the therapeutic one, that of connecting these men and woman to the earth. The wonder of planting some seeds, of nurturing, harvesting and eating them, is a powerful gift that is part of the process of returning these individuals to themselves. As Lewis says, the number of veteran suicides is vastly underreported with over half of returning veterans not registered with the VA. Growing Warriors not only feeds the body but enables participants to reconnect as a society. Their goal is to forge a new land: one of respect for land and each other.

Among its crops, Growing Warriors grows hemp. Lewis laughs at the irony of soldiers growing lace for doilies. But for them, hemp represents economic survival. Business people are coming in to talk. Neighboring farmers are asking how they can participate. A sense of community is created.

Doug Fine, author of “Hemp Bound,” and one of the leading authorities on hemp today, is a traveling troubadour /educator for the crop, combining the brilliance of an agricultural Robin Williams and the practical knowledge of what we need to do individually and collectively to turn our environment around. As Doug points out, mankind has been involved in the production of hemp for over 8,000 years beginning in Egypt, yet hemp has been banned in America for more than 70 years. As Americans, we are spending a billion dollars a year to bring hemp in from outside the country when we could be creating jobs for countless people in the growing and production of hemp products by growing at home. Hemp will allow us to create a petroleum free future while cleaning up our air, water and the environment all at the same time.

For Doug, one of the key issues is the rural/urban divide. “Where does your food come from?” This is a critical question that country folks who buy locally can answer but most city dwellers have no idea how their food was raised, processes or delivered. As he travels around the world lecturing and meeting individuals committed to creating sustainable communities, Doug is confident about the future of humanity and that we, as a species, will be allowed to come back from the brink of disaster. But first, we need to take the time to inform ourselves and be patient with hemp for a couple of seasons so the crop can take root and grow.

One of my personal dreams is to co-op a blast from the past using one of my favorite childhood memories. Instead of receiving packets of tomato and marigold seeds in the mail, I would like us all to join together and imagine sending out packets of hemp seeds, beginning in states where it is currently legal to grow hemp, along with information on how to register with the Department of Agriculture where you live so that you can become a registered hemp grower. I would like to see these little brown packets become a symbol of Americans standing up to the corporations who are making decisions for us now, just as they did 70 years ago when they decided to eliminate the cannabis plant from manufacturing and the pharmaceutical industries. By planting hemp seeds we are planting the seeds for a new tomorrow. If you are planting a garden, throw in some hemp seeds just for fun. It may be considered by some to be an act of civil disobedience but there is safety in numbers and we are long overdue to reap the rewards of the return of hemp to our culture.

In the state of Vermont there were 12 registered hemp growers for 2014. More than half did not plant because they felt some trepidation in growing what is still considered to be an illegal substance by the Federal government. Ken Manfredi and Robin Alberti, owners of Vermont Sustainable Farming, harvested what is perhaps the largest hemp crop produced thus far in Vermont: one quarter acre. They harvested by hand, cutting the stalks down and separating the seeds out by hand, and are now leading the way in Vermont as founders of the state chapter of HIA, the Hemp Industries Association. Robin, a talented cook, has developed her own recipes using hemp seeds to create hemp humus, hemp banana bread and hemp chocolate chip zucchini bread to name a few. They are growing hemp to use in the production of a line of food products grown and made in Vermont and are pursuing the development of other areas of production as well. Robin and Ken are working to organize a network of hemp farmers within the state to support the expansion and growth of the hemp industry in addition to creating a cooperative arrangement of sharing the equipment needed to process crops. They share my enthusiasm for distributing packets of hemp seeds to households around the country. Working with other chapters of HIA is one possible way for this dream to become a reality.

Our current Federal budget for 2015 no longer provides for the Federal policing of hemp and medical or recreational marijuana, leaving it up to local government to insure that laws are obeyed. As more states legalize cannabis in its various forms, new economic growth will sprout in unexpected ways. Tom Simon of Hempfully Green in Putney, Vermont, is turning his attention to building with hempcrete, a material popular in Europe, England and elsewhere for building cleaner, cost efficient housing. He and his partner Emily Peyton are giving presentations on building with hempcrete made from the fiber inside the shaft of the hemp plant. This is particularly important for people who are allergy sensitive since hemp acts as a filter keeping out harmful emissions from the environment. Hempfully Green is currently designing a test building that can be used as an example for those choosing to build an environmentally friendly home or professional building, and will be used to help educate students in this new area of study.

Susie Cody, a vivacious woman in her mid-30’s, brings a passion to organizing the New York State chapter of HIA. Like Lydia Barnes, Susie has been involved in Hemp History Week and admits that she had been tranced into believing the propaganda surrounding the cannabis plant. In researching the plant, she met the original New York Hempsters and kept reading about Hempfest on the West Coast. Finally, she quit her job and went on a road trip to Portland, Oregon to attend Hempstock. On her pilgrimage, Susie stopped off to see the hemp house in Ashville, North Carolina, and understood the vision, strength, and possibilities of hemp and the people involved in this movement. Since they are neighboring states, no doubt the two HIA chapters will join forces to produce exciting events to promote hemp awareness of the various ways the hemp plant can increase meaning and sustainability in our lives.

We have come full circle now, beginning at Woodstock and ending at Hempfest. We are on the very first wave of this new opportunity that in and of itself can revolutionize America through new jobs, a new way of building and healthier nutrition for everyone. We can clean up our environment as we clean up our own insides by consuming the best possible source of protein we have available: hemp seeds. It is by going inside and asking ourselves what kind of a future do we want for ourselves and our children that we can identify the obvious answer and tell our politicians we want cannabis to be legal in all 50 states.

I think I’ll write to Country Joe and ask him to consider writing some updated lyrics to his famous song.

“Give me an “H!”

Brief Bio:

Mia Feroleto is a well-known art advisor, activist and artist who lives in Vermont. She was the creator of A SHELTER FROM THE STROM: ARTISTS FOR THE HOMELESS OF NEW YORK and ARTWALK NY, now a national event that opens well-known artists’ studios to the public to raise funds for the Coalition for the Homeless and other causes.  Feroleto is a committed animal rights and animal welfare activist.
She is determined to maximize visibility for the arts and our cultural world and is currently developing the Adopt An Artist Program to send artists to destinations around the globe in order develop their art. Currently, she is working on creating a sustainable, creative community in Vermont where hemp will be grown as a main crop.   She can be reached at

Cracks in the Wall

Chip, chip, chippin’ away at the old, official walls of 3D-ality:

Major update: apparently, the first article I linked to was satire. Bummer and tough to tell these days. Sorry about that! I have, in fact, heard of many discoveries of giant skeletons in the US, particularly as I used to live in Wisconsin. The Smithsonian did not, however, admit to destroying the evidence that is mysteriously missing from the Smithsonian. Here’s a different post regarding the giant skeletons from Wisconsin.

Thanks to Mia for this one:

Medical Marijuana – Growing a new economy in America – “It was not long ago that both mainstream celebrity physicians Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Sanja Gupta denounced the use of medical marijuana.

“The cannabis plant was demonized and reefer madness reigned in the minds of middle class America. Both have since done their research and publicly stated they were mistaken. In fact, the use of marijuana for medical purposes was endorsed 100% by each of them. Sanja Gupta produced a television special showcasing his investigation and the miraculous cures he has witnessed with people suffering from a variety of illnesses.”

Please see more here. On a cynical note, I will note the recent push for GMO hemp and/or marijuana, so please do keep an eye on the potential Trojan Horse with this one. Until now, the outlawed hemp and marijuana have remained natural, growing like literal “weeds.” Inviting GMO’s into this field seems unnecessary and potentially sinister, so if you’re a marijuana or hemp fan, please proceed with awareness and intention.

It’s still interesting to see this former wall continue to crack, as both could radically transform our economy and accepted “realities” in food, fuel, medicine, building materials, and consciousness. Just this weekend, David’s dad relayed a story of a family friend who has suffered from Alzheimer’s for decades making a suddenly lucid transformation due to an experimental marijuana treatment. No one could believe this woman’s dramatic ability to remember names, remain in a consistent version of reality, and operate independently after needing full time care for decades.

Again, here’s the link for the full article.