Sixteen years ago, I founded Vital Hemp, because I attended the San Francisco Green Festival and found a community of green business people who were as actively concerned about promoting a healthier relation to all life on the planet as they were about corporate profit. I wanted to be a part of the movement to re-legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, because I knew this crop could help heal the world. Now that we (activists, entrepreneurs, farmers, lobbyists and a few dedicated government servants) have finally achieved that elusive goal, farmers can legally grow hemp, a bio-dense crop that sequesters atmospheric carbon better than any other, lining the Earth with new lungs, and cooling the globe.
It is a moment worthy of great celebration, and also one that requires renewed dedication to best practices—both social and environmental—so that hemp can lead the way to a future we want to inhabit. At The Natural Products Expo (Expo West), this future was most evident at the booth of RE: Botanicals. There, in the most visible center of the massive market of goods, stood this booth, with towering photographs of industrial hemp, one with the founder, John Roulac, taking a good sweet inhalation, as I have done in the fields of Colorado and Kentucky. As impactful were the six or so humble, live, potted hemp plants that flanked the booth, reminding every one of the sixty-thousand-or-so attendees that hemp is not some demonic plant, but a legal, beneficial, sweet-smelling one, from which thousands of useful, healthy products (such as RE: Botanicals hemp tinctures) can be derived. Even the Anaheim cops who strolled past the booth noticed, and couldn’t do a thing but smile.
The Expo exhibits so many good products, brought to market by good people, who build their business models around healing our wounded world. Whether it’s a bread company that employs rehabilitated felons, or a coffee company that donates to protect the endangered species of Indonesia, the owners are passionate and dedicated to causes beyond their own enrichment. They know we’re all connected, each capable playing a vital part in the healthy evolution of life.
Even formerly big, bad corporations, such as General Mills, are committing to best practices, such as farming a million acres with regenerative agriculture, because they understand the stakes of global warming—how healthy economies are subsets of healthy ecological systems, that support all life, including our own. And how a world out of balance can destroy decades of human achievement in days. It is my sincere wish that as people in our country and around the world realize this simple relation, the environment will rise from a low priority to priority #1.
On a related note, if you happen to be near Santa Monica this evening (3/12, from 6-9 pm), I invite you to the Vital Hemp shop (2305 Main St), where we will be hosting The Green Business Networking event: “the networking event for green business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and non-profits.” Such great connections and conversations arise from these events; we’re just happy to provide the venue and the soundtrack ☺.
Later this month, find Vital Hemp at the country’s most comprehensive gathering of hemp activists, businesspeople, experts, farmers, investors and processors, the NOCO Hemp Expo, March 28-30th in Denver, Colorado. We’ll be there, hempin' people out in comfortable, stylish, domestically-made hemp clothing and accessories. Among many speakers and panelists, I’ll also be giving a talk, addressing the relation between hemp and cooling the globe. So come! Join the fun! This is the best-produced, most exciting, inspiring hemp gathering around.
And with that, I’m off to the garment district to keep things moving. We’re making logowear shirts for several hemp companies and I want to finish on time. I feel like the Jewish hemp Santa, except instead of “Ho-ho-ho,” I say, “Hemp-hemp-hemp!” My favorite moment is delivering the packages—especially when I get to see the expressions of the recipients when they try them on. Ahh…the yumminess of hemp! Thanks for being vital,
Ron Alcalay Founder/CEO/Hemperdasher
Store and Wholesale: 310.450.2260
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