INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ZACH KAISER
Over the last couple centuries, the planet has seen a massive loss in biodiversity. Much of this is born from the monoculture way of thinking that has taken over agricultural acreage, like the soybeans and corn crops covering much of the country's fertile lands. Over the last couple years, some farmers have recognized the need to bring biodiversity back to our agricultural system. New crops, like the versatile Hemp plant, not only bring biodiversity back to the environment, but help make farms more sustainable, adaptive, and economically viable in highly-variable marketplaces and climates. When we change agriculture and land use we can’t forget that it plays a major role in culture, government, philosophy, and economics. This complexity becomes clearer when we examine the world of Hemp.
In the Mid-1900s, hemp was seen as the illegal brother to Marijuana. Deriving from similar genetics and therefore from a similar plant, people have degraded hemp and ultimately outlawed it during the cultural movement called “Reefer Madness” in the 1930s and 40s. Outside of this cultural stigma, hemp is a versatile crop that packs a powerful protein punch, akin to a flax or chia seed, while also providing strong stalk products that can be used for rope or parachutes. Although, not scientifically confirmed, hemp also contains CBD, a compound that has been known to play major role in the treatment of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and Dementia.
Hemp is scientifically proven to be non-psychedelic, yet it is still outlawed nationally even considered a drug in many parts of the country because of this cultural stigma. Only recently have states gained the right to grow this crop for “research purposes.” At the forefront of this legalization effort is Kentucky. Hemp used to be a major cash crop for the state and some politicians, farmers, and entrepreneurs are working to bring the crop back.
While driving through the rolling hills of Kentucky I was recommended to meet Chad Rosen, owner and operator of Victory Hemp Foods. Known by many as the hemp guy around town, Chad is working to create the largest hemp processing facility in the country that could help catapult the hemp industry into full gear. Chad has his head on a swivel, working with politicians, farmers, retailers, and manufacturers to create the ideal environment for the industry to have a sustainable future. Join us at the table as Chad explains to us what he is doing and why hemp is so important. This is Chad Rosen of Victory Hemp Foods…
THE ARTISAN SITUATION PODCAST
We believe that every person has a connection to food. Each podcast will feature a deep dive interview with food producers, as we try to learn what inspires and influences them on a personal level. For many, producing flavorful, wholesome, and sustainable food is a vocation. Food has a voice. Listen in