Locust Grove’s first ever Hemp Festival was held on August 9, and it was a roaring success! More than 1,300 people came to try hemp foods, listen to speakers discuss Kentucky agriculture, tour the house, enjoy a concert by Appalatin, browse the booths of hemp goods and demonstrations, and of course, see the hemp crop at Locust Grove!
Hemp is a crop tied to Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and we know that when surveying the land around Locust Grove, William Croghan pointed out its usefulness for cultivating hemp. His son, Colonel George Croghan, looked
into growing hemp at Locust Grove in the 1840s, but we are unsure if hemp was ever grown here. Farmington was a hemp plantation, and in the nineteenth century, hemp was Kentucky’s biggest crop. At any rate, our small hemp crop is the first to be planted in Louisville since World War Two, and was planted by our gardener Sarah Sutherland with special permission from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Our hemp is categorized as “industrial” hemp, and though it is Cannabis sativa, and is related to marijuana, this hemp lacks THC. Hemp oil has been used for food and fuel, and hemp seeds are incredibly healthy and make a wonderful bird seed, as Sarah discovered when doves began to flock to our hemp patch! Hemp can also be used for cloth, paper, rope, canvas, and construction materials.
Program manager Brian Cushing notes that “The natural factors that occur in Kentucky are perfect for hemp, making it big business in the past and especially crucial now that so many tobacco farmers have ceased their production. The uses for it are endless and it is incredibly renewable, setting the stage for an environmentally positive economic boom for Kentucky. And not just the environment where it’s grown- the wide variety of products that come from it could lessen the need for certain synthetics and chemicals, such as those required to make wood pulp into paper. Hemp paper is also ridiculously more sustainable and durable than wood.” It was these factors that lead to Sarah becoming involved in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s pilot project for industrial hemp. Hemp Festival has the tagline “Educate and Cultivate”, as a reminder of all the uses for hemp, past and present.
And what a fun day to educate, cultivate, and celebrate hemp! See below for pictures of the event, and let us know what you thought of our first Hemp Festival!
It was a splendid summer day for our hemp festival; we hope you enjoyed the celebration!
Stay tuned for the future of Locust Grove’s hemp! The rest of our summer and fall events can be found here. You can also find out about other coverage of Locust Grove by visiting the “Locust Grove in the News” tab at the top of this page. We hope to see you soon!