Huzzah for Hemp!

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!

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Our hemp is growing tall and starting to bud!

Vendors sold all sorts of products, from hemp oil, clothing, rope, foodstuffs, and much more!

Vendors sold all sorts of products, from hemp oil, clothing, rope, foodstuffs, and much more!

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We were pleased to welcome Rainbow Blossom as one of our event sponsors!

We were pleased to welcome Rainbow Blossom as one of our event sponsors!

Intern Melissa models a satchel made out of hemp fabric!

Intern Melissa models a satchel made out of hemp fabric!

The Hemp Cafe sold hemp foodstuffs of all kinds!

The Hemp Cafe sold hemp foodstuffs of all kinds!

Our friends from Farmington, a Kentucky hemp plantation, came to show their support!

Jeff and Diane, our friends from Farmington, a Kentucky hemp plantation, came to show their support!

Farmington even brought a hemp break to demonstrate the second step of the hemp cultivation process!

Farmington even brought a hemp break to demonstrate the second step of the hemp cultivation process!

Indiana Hemp Industries Association joined us to educate and celebrate!

Indiana Hemp Industries Association joined us to educate and celebrate!

Mose Putney, of Kentucky Hemp Industries Association, provided Locust Grove with our hemp seeds! His children Henry, Charlie and Virginia were also on hand to talk about hemp in Kentucky!

Mose Putney, of Kentucky Hemp Industries Association, provided Locust Grove with our hemp seeds! His children Henry, Charlie and Virginia were also on hand to talk about hemp in Kentucky!

We had a full house to hear speakers from across the state speak about hemp cultivation in Kentucky.

We had a full house to hear speakers from across the state speak about hemp cultivation in Kentucky.

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Our evening finished with a concert by Appalatin on the lawn!

Our evening finished with a concert by Appalatin on the lawn!

Hemp tote bags are still for sale in the Locust Grove Gift Shop!

Hemp tote bags are still for sale in the Locust Grove Gift Shop!

Four hemp happy Locust Grove staffers!

Four hemp happy Locust Grove staffers!

It was a splendid summer day for our hemp festival; we hope you enjoyed the celebration!

Hemp at dusk

Hemp at dusk

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!

Hemptastically yours,

Hannah

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