The Best Of Hemp
by Ann van Engelen
Dave Jordan first established hemp growing in 2008 with the health and wellbeing of the environment in mind and a vision to create a new industry in New Zealand.
Working in adventure tourism, Dave was disturbed by the pollution showing up on the land and in waterways around the country. On meeting Anne in 2011, she joined him in his mission, and they formed HempFarm NZ Ltd.
Dave and Anne have a vision to take organic hemp to the world and have a growers group with farmers growing in Canterbury, Fielding, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu.
“Dave’s brother mentioned hemp, so Dave researched and discovered it is an amazing plant with many benefits,” says Anne.
“There many varieties of hemp, including the shorter variety, which is grown mostly for the seeds that are used to make hemp food. The taller dual crops are grown for the seeds and stalk to make products such as food, fibre and building materials.
“We grew our first acre crop and saved the seeds and grew two acres the next year. In our third year, we planted 32 hectares. We harvested mostly by hand and after a lot of research now use a dedicated harvesting machine.”
“We have recently moved into a 4,000 square metre hemp food dedicated facility in Tauranga and work alongside Carfields, on the agricultural growing and machinery arm of the business. It is about enabling industry with sustainable solutions. Hemp has no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant as it is a totally different cultivar.
“It is planted October and must have good, fertile soil. We do not use pesticides or herbicides in our growing programme. It takes four months to grow up to four metres tall and is harvested in March for seed and fibre. In the coming season, we will be planting around 2,000 hectares and have recently produced our first press cold pressed oil, which we call Kiwi Hemp Seed Oil. It has helped people with various issues like eczema, psoriasis and joint issues. You can have it in salads, dressings, dips, or just drizzled on food. The testimonials are all on our MyHempfarm.co.nz website.
“We will be installing a dehuller to produce hemp hearts. They are nature’s most nutrient-dense seeds and are a complete protein supplying all the essential amino acids, fatty acids, magnesium, vitamins and minerals. A tablespoon a day is the recommended daily amount. We also produce flavoured protein powders and hemp milk. Our milk is already in the hospitality industry for frothy coffees.“ HempFarm recently signed a partnership agreement with NZ Yarn.
“They process merino wool, and we will be blending the hemp with wool for carpets and yarns. Non-woven matting for erosion control and seed matting are other products we are planning, as it won’t have any chemicals seeping into the soil and waterways. Every industry can use hemp, including plastics and building.
“Farmers are loving having something different to get their teeth into while getting a financial return, which at least equals dairy. Planting on the boundary makes it a good barrier, and it can help with run-off into the waterways as a mopper crop. Hemp locks the carbons up forever and is one of the most positive ways we can accomplish positive results right here in New Zealand.
“It is our passion to clean-up our precious environment, and we are very proud of the progress we are making and plan to see as much hemp growing in New Zealand as you see maize. Once we get to at least 10,000 hectares, we will feel like we are starting to make a real difference.”