The market for hemp-related products has grown exponentially. This market is expected to grow for the next few years now that the 2018 Farming Bill legalized hemp production by licensed growers.
Recent market research done by Brightfield Group revealed that the CBD market is likely to hit $22 billion by 2020. With these staggering projected sales numbers, hemp growers are looking to get in on these potential profits that the industry has to offer. This raises a critical question, “Is help a perfect permaculture crop?”
Permaculture is a term derived from two words – ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture.’ It is a set of design principles that help roll out a natural system that can take care of and feed itself in the long-run. Studies show that permaculture is an ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly.
Over the past five years, permaculture has gained a significant following among people and organizations looking to maximize their lands’ output while sustaining the land’s natural value. It has found fans in cities, with numerous urban farms utilizing permaculture’s cost-effective techniques to grow hemp and other crops in small spaces.
Successful permaculture farming relies heavily on using the appropriate methods for a particular region. Also, it is possible to maximize its effectiveness by choosing crops that grow with minimal or no intervention. Industrial hemp is an example of such plants. It is easy to grow and relatively eco-friendly compared to other crop species.
Permaculture is perceived as a sustainable approach to farming that offers a permanent solution to various problems that planet earth faces. Its core objectives include;
- Minimizing the carbon footprint of farming.
- Improving soil quality.
- Improve biodiversity.
- Optimize water usage and holding capacity.
- Increase farmers’ income and improve their quality of life.
- Boost the yield of crops.
- Reduce the need for imported products.
- Improve local resilience and economy.
Is Hemp a Permaculture Crop?
Marijuana contains high levels of THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid. However, industrial hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. It cannot get the user high in the same way as marijuana. This is one of the primary reasons the United States legalized the growth of hemp among licensed individuals and organizations.
Various studies show that hemp farming is an eco-friendly practice. It is linked to the following environmental impacts.
Many people often use the term ‘weed’ to describe marijuana. This term is also used indirectly to describe the growth habits of industrial hemp. The crop grows fast with minimal need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Also, it utilizes its protection against different invasive weeds (plants).
In some regions, industrial hemp offers two harvests annually, thanks to its fast growth. This makes the crop eco-friendly and attractive financially.
Minimizes soil erosion
Environmental specialists emphasize the importance of preventing soil erosion. One of the top benefits of hemp farming is that it helps minimize or prevent soil erosion. The crop grows a long taproot of approximately 12 inches and other lateral roots of 7 inches to 8 inches. This widespread root network holds soil in place.
Besides, it’s possible to grow industrial hemp in the same area for several years. This is a rare feature for most agricultural crops.
Enhances local biodiversity
Hemp farming helps improve local biodiversity. Its nutritious seeds attract birds, and bees love to feed on hemp flowers. A study done by Montford and Small in 1999 investigated the biodiversity friendliness of about 23 crops. The findings of this study were cited by Michael Carus and Stephan Piotroski in their study ‘Ecological Benefits of Flax and Hemp Cultivation Products’ in 2015.
The 1999 study suggested that oilseed hemp ranks 3rd for enhancing biodiversity and fiber hemp ranks 5th. These subspecies beat nearly all conventional agricultural crops such as oats, rice, and wheat.
Minimizes carbon footprint of farming
Yet another reason to call hemp a permaculture crop is its ability to absorb significant levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A recent report by Catherine Wilson, the European Industrial Hemp Association’s advisor, hemp can absorb up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare.
High nutrient requirements
Growing industrial hemp as a permaculture crop has downsides too. For instance, the crop is associated with high nutrient requirements. However, this limitation can be turned into a benefit. Higher nutrient requirements mean hemp can mop up the excessive amount of nitrogen in the soil and minimize run-off.
The crop’s ability to combat air pollution and its fast growth mean that many investors consider it a ‘pioneer crop.’ Indeed, it could help reclaim extensive pieces of land that would have little or not.
Hemp’s Commercial Uses
In addition to the environmental benefits mentioned, hemp has other advantages as a permaculture crop. The reduction of waste is one of the top principles of permaculture. What most people don’t know is that hemp potentially creates little to no waste. If you want to buy hemp
In theory, each part of the hemp plant has a specific purpose, the stem is a reliable source of durable fiber. The seeds are a source of nutritious food for both humans and animals. The hemp flowers and leaves are used in the production of compounds rich in health benefits. CBD is one of those compounds. To know more about them check out hemp flower at Industrialhempfarms, one of the trusted sources around.
Benefits of Hemp Permaculture
The primary drawback of industrial hemp as a permaculture crop is whether the practice is legal or illegal. Though the 2018 Hemp Farm Act legalized hemp growth on a federal level, some farmers still face a few challenges.
Firstly, the farmers are supposed to apply for the right license to practice hemp farming legally. That means it is an offense to grow a few hemp plans in your garden or backyard. Many small-scale enterprises have dismissed hemp farming due to these restrictions.
Secondly, every state is responsible for specifying and implementing laws that regulate hemp farming. Even if hemp farming is legal in the United States, some states may allow it while others don’t.
The bottom line is, hemp is a low environmental impact, easy to grow, and has many benefits for local ecosystems. If you are a permaculture enthusiast, you can give it a try.
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