in the pond a bit...
asa hitasu ike chiisasa yo suzushisa yo
The ancient Chinese character for hemp (má) shows two plants under a canopy.
Mágū (麻姑) is considered to be the ancient Chinese goddess of hemp. She was the symbolic protector of women and associated with the elixir of life.
What's even more fascinating to us at moon canopy is that, as we discussed above, hemp has been with us for a significant part of this journey through history. But why? What has made hemp stand the test of time? We believe the answer is in the composition of the hemp fibres and their natural characteristics. Hemp fibre is strong, three times stronger than cotton. It is also one of the longest bast fibres, making it very versatile. This makes it ideal for use as a textile for clothing, rope, sails, storage and even shelter. Its durability ensures its longevity. Something that is very attractive to us at moon canopy (more on that below). Another of hemp's natural properties is that it is antimicrobial, as shown in tests done by SGS . In a world where conventional medicines were in their infancy, the ability of hemp to prevent the spread of microbes in the home would have been very beneficial to our ancestors. As well as microbes, hemp also prevents the growth and spreading of fungi and rot. This makes it an excellent natural material to use in wet environments too, which must have had a whole host of benefits. This inspired us to develop our own version of the hemp shower curtain (the product is still in development so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get notified when we are ready to bring it to market.) Hemp fabric also offers protection from 95% of all UV light, providing protection from the sun . With hemp being a naturally breathable fabric, we are able to shield ourselves from harmful rays while still keeping cool.
With scientific advances being made everyday, it is exciting to learn about new and interesting ways that hemp is being used. Hempcrete seems to be a great natural and sustainable building material that actually continues to sequester Co2 from the atmosphere even after it has set . If you or your company are using hemp in an interesting or diverse way then please get in touch, we’d love to hear about it.
Fibres of the hemp plant
The positive impact of growing industrial hemp on our planets ecosystems is multifaceted. There are so many key points to mention that it’s hard to know where to begin. We will keep it simple. Here is a brief overview of some of the major points that we have found along with a short explanation and a link to the relevant literature.
Hemp is a carbon sink. It has been shown that industrial hemp farming can capture more CO2 from the atmosphere than any forest or commercial crop per hectare per year. This has obvious benefits in helping to reduce carbon emissions and to decrease the human impact on climate change. If more people purchased hemp products, the knock on effect in the global supply chain could make a significant difference in the amount of carbon captured per year.
Soil regeneration and weed suppression. A 2014 article published in the scientific American stated that “Generating three centimetres of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue then all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years..” That has catastrophic ramifications for global agriculture and food supply. 95% of the worlds food supply is grown in topsoil . Hemp has been proven to eliminate the growth of weeds which reduces the need for harmful chemicals. Hemp has also shown that, due its deep root system, greatly reduces top soil erosion. It also returns a significant amount of its biomass to the soil naturally, feeding nutrients back into the ground, vital for the longevity and sustainability of arable land. Including hemp in a crop rotation system would have a huge impact on soil regeneration .
Hemp will produce a higher yield than other comparative fibres. For example, 1 hectare of hemp will produce a yield of 4 - 12 tonnes depending on growing conditions. Flax, the plant that gives us linen, will yield 1.5 - 2.0 under the same conditions . Cotton produces an average yield of 2 - 4 tonnes per hectare . Cotton is very water and pesticide dependant. It takes roughly twice the amount of water to produce cotton fabric compared to hemp meaning that no matter which part of the supply chain you focus on, hemp has a much lower environmental cost .
Hemp has been shown to have a positive impact on the biodiversity of the region in which it is grown. It increases the amount of species in the area when compared to other mono-culture crops with an especially increased number of Bees and Birds . Bees are crucial to any ecosystem that they inhabit . Dwindling Bee numbers on a global scale would be devastating . It is extremely important to make sure their preferred environments are healthy and diverse. Knowing that hemp contributes to their survival was yet another factor we considered when founding moon canopy.
This section could be much longer. We thought it best to leave it there. It's important to note that there are many studies currently ongoing into the benefits of hemp across all it's forms and we will endeavour to update this article as and when we learn more. If you come across some interesting information related to hemp, or you are conducting your own studies, then please feel free to share it with us, we'd love to learn more! Click here to get in touch. Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope the information contained here will inspire more people to welcome hemp into their lives.