In my research for hemp and hempcrete building in B.C., there was some information about hemp cultivation that stood out. 100 Mile House has a very interesting story of learning to cultivate the industrial hemp plant, over food grade hemp, when the pine beetle had wiped out part of the forestry industry in their area. I decided that a phone call was in order to see where their program was heading, as the last report was from 2011.
After a few messages and missed calls, I managed to have a couple of conversations with Joanne Doddridge and found out that they are all ready to go with growing hemp in the area – up to 1000 acres to start – but they need some guarantees that their crop will be purchased and processed. The trouble is that hemp is still so controlled that the farmers need to apply for permits by Jan. 1st, which can then give them access to seeds. They are very interested in pilot plant projects, preferably based in the area, to test the waters with and will then be ready to grow bigger.
Eventually, I managed to have a meeting with Joanne, when she was in the city for a conference, and one of their growers, who has committed annually to growing hemp crops, Peter Dushop. They are both chomping at the bit to see the industry come together so they can get the farmers growing this valuable plant, but so far there has been no concrete offers or plans to start a processing facility. It will be very important to make this happen for a local hemp building industry in BC to thrive.