The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States—even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.
In Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, North Carolina, where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy—Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.
Fine’s journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation’s economy, and for the planet.
Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and solar-powered goat herder. He has reported from five continents for The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, The New York Times, Outside, National Public Radio, and U.S. News & World Report. His work from Burma was read into the Congressional Record (by none other than pro-hemp Senator Mitch McConnell), and he won more than a dozen Alaska Press Club awards for his radio reporting from the Last Frontier.
Fine is the author of three previous books: Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution; Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living; and Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man. A website of his print work, radio work, and short films is at www.dougfine.com. Twitter: organiccowboy. (Chelsea Green Publishing)