Hemp Seed Food Aid For Russia!

Hemp Seed Food Aid For Russia!
Posted by FoM on June 07, 1999 at 12:19:25 PT
Source: Natural Hemphasis
Hemp Can Help is an industry lead initiative which is currently working to raise hemp seed donations from Canadian hemp farmers for international famine relief efforts.
Commercial hemp production was relegalized in Canada this year after 60 years of prohibition. Hemp is an industrial crop grown throughout the world for both its strong fibre and nutritious seeds. It is also a particularly environmentally friendly crop, as it requires neither herbicides nor pesticides.Approximately 6000 acres of hemp were grown across Canada this past summer, and the vast majority of this was grown for seed (grain). Hemp seed is valued for its high protein content (22-25%) and its high proportion of essential fatty acids (30+%). Please click here for more hemp seed nutrition information.Donating hemp seed for famine relief is a way for the new Canadian hemp industry to express its thanks for the changes in legislation which have enabled the development of this new industry. It is also a way of sharing this ground breaking harvest with those in the world who are most in need, while educating the public as to the significant nutritional value of hemp seed.Hemp Seed as Food AidInitially Hemp Can Help had considered targeting the famine victims of Sudan as recipients of its aid. Upon further investigation, however, it became clear that that there may well be considerable cultural barriers to the acceptance of hemp seed as food aid to Sudan.Hemp Can Help’s focus has since turned to Russia, in particular northeastern Siberia, whose indigenous people have recently issued a plea for assistance to the international community for food assistance. Russia we believe is a much more suitable recipient of food aid in the form of hemp seed since hemp is a traditional food source throughout Russia. Russians traditionally use hemp seed to make porridge, sweets and a kind of margarine. Hemp production has never been prohibited in Russia, and as a crop which can be grown from the most southern reaches of Russia to north of 60° latitude it has always been a staple of Russian agriculture. Furthermore, compared to wheat, the traditional source of Canadian food aid, hemp has almost double the protein content, and has the added benefit of being edible in its raw, whole seed form. With fuel being particularly scarce in these famine effected regions, this is a significant advantage since the hemp seed does not require cooking. Alternatively, if these facilities do exist it can be easily transformed into a highly nutritious porridge.Russian Hemp Seed for CanadaWe believe that Russia is also a particularly appropriate recipient for food aid in the form of hemp seed, because there are currently several Canadian projects that are sourcing Russian hemp seed varieties in an effort to rebuild our lost genetic resources of hemp. As a result of 60 years of prohibition, Canada no longer has a domestic hemp germplasm, and so all the hemp seed that was planted this past summer had to be imported from oversees. Although no Russian seed was planted (Health Canada regulations currently specify that only OECD certified varieties can be grown), Russia is generally acknowledged as having the most extensive hemp seed gene collections in the world (in particular the renown Vavilov Institute in St. Petersburg).Potential Partnerships For the various reasons outlined above, Hemp Can Help has approached CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) with the hope that CIDA will include hemp seed in the basket of goods being sent by the Canadian government to Siberia. In terms of available resources, Hemp Can Help’s goal is to raise 35-50 tons of hemp seed for famine relief, or roughly 5% of the 1998 Canadian hemp harvest.Canadian hemp farmers have expressed support for Hemp Can Help’s initiative. We have found, however, that because of considerable initial investments in this first year of production, farmers and industry are facing very real financial constraints. Ideally, in order to maximize donations and effectiveness, we hope to come to an arrangement whereby CIDA would purchase hemp grain from Canadian farmers, based on an understanding that these purchases would be matched by equal donations from the hemp industry . Any financial donations to Hemp Can Help will also go towards purchasing hemp seed for food aid, again with the intention that these donations would be matched by seed donations.We are also currently looking for other partner organizations to help with the logistics of collecting hemp seed donations from Canadian farmers and transporting them to a central warehouse. Also, depending on the government’s aid distribution strategy, possibly to transport and distribute the hemp seed to famine afflicted areas in Siberia. Several NGO’s with experience in these areas have expressed an interest in cooperating, and we will continue to pursue these opportunities in the hope that they will maximize the effectiveness of this project.If you believe that Hemp Can Help, and are interested in contributing in any way to Hemp Can Help’s famine relief efforts, please contact:43 Melville Ave.Toronto, OntarioM6G 1Y1 Tel: 416-535-3497Fax: 416-535-1616or by email
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