After several decades of successful potato production we have decided to produce a new, more sustainable crop. After much deliberation and planning, we could only decide on one plant -> industrial hemp.

Hemp has been grown and used for thousands of years and has unfortunately been largely forgotten. Until almost 50 years ago, the hemp world market exchange was in the small Serbian town of “Odzaci”. The cultivation was banned in the early 1970s, as the state then was urged by sanctions and embargoes in the direction of the oil and refining industry in order to manufacture “new” and “better”, i.e. cheaper products, from plastic to clothing made from crude oil.

We know today that we have to move away from this “trend” and the throwaway society, because in the long term our consumption behavior is not sustainable for planet earth. Therefore we want to show a new alternative.

My grandmother always loved to indulge in the “old days”, when almost every household with a garden and acreage grew industrial hemp and manufactured and sold the best and most durable products. Starting with high-quality clothing (I am the third generation to wear my grandfather’s sweater made of hemp fiber) to insulation material, even entire houses were built from hemp. Today we also know that hemp is longer, more tear-resistant and more resilient than cotton, silk, polyester, etc. At the same time, the natural fiber is more durable, robust and long-lasting than any other fiber.

There are over 70,000 products made from hemp today. The world’s first assembly-line car, the Ford Model T, was made from over 30% hemp. To this day, bumpers, car fittings and other interior fittings are made from hemp.

You can see how important hemp was and is under the other facts:

The first archaeological evidence of the use of hemp dates back to 8,000 BC. Back to BC: In Taiwan, researchers found pottery shards with decorative hemp strings. In Mesopotamia (now Iran and Iraq), archaeologists discovered traces of hemp cloth in a similar period of time. The first 4,000 years of hemp use were almost exclusively limited to China and parts of the Middle East – until the plant finally found its way to India. In ancient China (approx. 6,000 BC), for example, people used hemp seeds and hemp oil as a source of food, made textiles from hemp and used hemp in warfare (bowstrings made from hemp). In addition, the Chinese invented the first paper, also based on hemp.

The west discovers hemp:

In 1455 Gutenberg printed his first Bible on hemp paper. In 1492 Columbus discovered America and used ships with sailcloths and ropes made of hemp. This is how Columbus brought hemp to America. Every settler at that time had to grow at least 10% hemp of his total cultivation area in order to guarantee a steady hemp stock at all times – even the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 was written on hemp paper. Just like the first drafts of the American constitution. In 1870 Levi Strauss, who emigrated to America, produced the first jeans – made of hemp, of course.

In the 17th century, hemp reached its peak in Europe. Hemp has become indispensable in seafaring in particular: From ship sails and rigging to ropes, nets, flags and uniforms – everything was made of hemp! For the basic equipment, a ship needed around 50 to 100 tons of hemp fiber every two years. Up until the 18th century, hemp fibers were one of the most important raw materials in the European textile industry, alongside flax, nettle and wool.

The decline of hemp use:

With industrialization, hemp lost its importance. The problem? At that time, hemp could not be processed by machines. Hemp was laborious manual labor! People discovered raw materials that could be bought cheaper and processed more cheaply – for example cotton. Cotton machines (“cotton gin”) were already able to process cotton industrially at the beginning of the 18th century.
That is why cotton revolutionized the production of textiles. Jute fiber also overtook hemp – it was produced in India for starvation wages and imported to Europe. Even the paper industry found a raw material that was “cheaper” at the time than hemp: the wood from dense forests, which was available in abundance.

Resurrection, Prohibition & Demonization:

It was not until 1938 that the first automatic hemp peeling machine was presented. Hemp experienced an upswing, but leading American industrialists (above all William Randolph Hearst) feared for their monopoly and initiated a real agitation against hemp, which was previously revered as “green gold”. This smear campaign resulted first in a hemp tax, then in a hemp cultivation ban. At the same time, cannabis lost its leading position as a drug due to the advances in the pharmaceutical industry. By 1950, over 100 cannabis drugs were available in Europe – to treat cramps, asthma, insomnia, pain, depression and loss of appetite, among other things.

As a result of the US hemp prohibition, hemp fell into disrepute around the world – many countries therefore banned hemp (or today industrial hemp). It was not until the 1990s that many countries relaxed the cultivation ban on industrial hemp – and new hemp products conquered new markets. Among other things, the hemp seeds were rediscovered in the 90s and peeled seeds were sold.

By the way: Many countries withdrew the hemp ban in the meantime as early as World War II – because the soldiers needed the hard-wearing uniforms made from hemp. In the German Reich, for example, the “Funny Hemp Guide” was published in 1942 to advertise the cultivation of hemp. After the Second World War, the “fight against hemp” was continued nonetheless.

Hemp in modern times:

What does the future hold? Presumably what is probably the oldest crop in the world continues its global triumph and finds its way back into society.
Therefore, our target is to encourage as many farmers as possible to grow hemp. This year we have set ourselves the goal of selling almost all of the hemp raw material. We want to manufacture and sell sustainable and ecological by-products. Our ultimate goal is to establish 100% biodegradable and ecological plastic products and so take a big step towards the Green Planet.

Have we piqued your interest? Feel free to contact us, we are always looking for strategic and like-minded partners!

With kind regards, your LisaProdukt-team