Cultivating Resilience, Connection & Opportunity
Small-scale farming can be transformative for local economies, both directly and indirectly. They benefit farmers and rural communities, urban residents, the island economy, and the land itself.
- Local food farms help reduce reliance on imports.
- They offer a way to get fresh produce to people with limited access.
- Urban agriculture brings fresh food production right into towns and cities.
- Arable land can be saved from development.
- Local farmers can create a market for indigenous crops.
- Sustainable, regenerative farming practices preserve soil health and fertility, prevent erosion, and avoid chemical pollution.
- Locally grown products can be the catalyst for new business such as restaurants, food trucks, cooking schools, value-added retail and artisan products, prepared foods and institutional supply.
- Specialty farms or nurseries can grow niche products.
- Farming can offer a satisfying career path for young people.
Versatile, Sustainable, Profitable
Industrial Hemp has literally thousands of uses. Here are just three that could be developed in Puerto Rico, helping to ensure that the hemp crop is not merely grown for export, with higher-value products manufactured elsewhere and re-imported, but that hemp farming can vertically integrate to create manufacturing opportunities on the island.
- Hemp plastic could do anything that conventional plastic can do.
- It is a renewable, sustainable, in some cases compostable, alternative to fossil fuel-based polymers.
- Compared to oil-based polypropylene, hemp plastic is 150% stronger and has 250% better rigidity. It is so durable that it’s even being used to make car panels.
- Hemp filaments can be used in a 3D printer.
- Its light weight and powerful structure make it a sustainable alternative.
- Home building is a highly promising applications for hemp. It is an excellent insulator, reducing energy costs by up to 70% annually (particularly in extreme climates).
- All-natural Hempcrete can eliminate many allergies and health problems associated with indoor air pollution from conventional building materials.
- Hempcrete continuously absorbs CO2 as it ages, so besides reducing your carbon footprint, a building made with hempcrete will become stronger over time.
- Hempcrete homes have zero construction waste. Considering that 55% of the world’s energy consumption is construction-waste related, there are huge implications for reducing carbon emissions.
- Hemp can be used for soundproof walls, roofing and lumber.
- One acre of hemp can produce two to three times more fiber than one acre of cotton.
- Hemp detoxifies the soil by removing harmful chemicals and pollutants while enriching the soil with nitrogen and oxygen. Cotton takes a tremendous toll on the soil.
- Nearly 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides stem are used to grow cotton, which pollutes our soil and streams. Hemp can grow with fewer chemicals, or often none at all.
- Hemp needs one-third of the water that cotton needs to grow.
- Hemp is three to eight times stronger than cotton (depending on how it is processed). Hemp textile products will last longer.
- Hemp textile breathes exceptionally well, is moisture absorbent, UV protectant, and anti-bacterial.