Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution
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.
Reviews and Praise
“Fine covers a remarkable amount of ground in his book, so much so that it’s hard to believe that he does it in fewer than 200 pages. He talks to a dizzying variety of people who have special knowledge and experience, whacks his hand on a tractor hood made from hemp, and drops in plenty of historical facts for context. (Humanity has an 8,000-year history with this plant.) If you need a crash course in a commodity that could well turn American agriculture on its head over the next few years, look no further.”
More Reviews and Praise
"Little noticed on the sidelines during the recent media controversy over Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana was a groundbreaking movement in Congress to lift a decades-long ban on the popular intoxicant’s psychoactively inert cousin, hemp. As elucidated in this witty and informative overview of hemp’s enormous agricultural potential, New Mexico-based author and radio reporter Fine argues that not much has ever made sense about the stigma U.S. lawmakers have heaped upon this incredibly versatile plant since it was made illegal back in 1937. Although it bears a strong resemblance to the smokable form of cannabis, hemp is almost completely lacking in THC, the ingredient that bestows marijuana’s much sought-after ‘high.' Hemp’s incredibly strong internal fibers have been used in making everything from rope and paper to durable clothing and eco-friendly housing. In 11 engaging, myth-busting chapters bearing titles such as 'Grow Your Next Home' and 'Patriots Ponder Planting,' Fine makes clear that hemp legalization, assuming it happens, could both boost the American economy and spawn a mini hemp based industrial revolution.”
“Hemp Bound is informative, entertaining, and chock full of stories about hemp farmers, wannabe hemp farmers, passionate activists, and savvy business people. It is a fun book to read and hopefully, alongside aggressive legalization at the state level, it will help break down the roadblocks to production that the cotton, vegetable oil, plastics, lumber, and paper corporations constructed and maintained since shortly after the Second World War. Doug Fine is right: this incredible plant could be a boon to large and small farmers and rural communities—one that we have been prohibited from growing in this country for more than fifty years. Hemp’s time has come again.”--Will Allen, organic farmer; author, The War on Bugs
“In Hemp Bound, Doug Fine convincingly describes the proven value and amazing potential of the nonpsychoactive variety of the cannabis plant. You can eat it, drink it, read it, tie it, wear it, drive it, live in it, and make money growing it, all while saving the soil and protecting the climate. This is an important story, engagingly told.”--William Martin, senior fellow, drug policy, Rice University’s Baker Institute
“If ever anyone needed proof that government meddling in markets is injurious to innovation, Hemp Bound dispels all doubt. With science and humor, Fine paints an alternative and optimistic future—one that makes growing hemp seem as exhilarating and necessary as clean air. Fine’s style and storytelling ability make this one of the most fun books you’ll ever read about the future of farming.”--Joel Salatin, author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
“Doug Fine’s engrossing and eye-opening book reveals hemp’s role as a new source of food, energy, and raw materials. This absurd war on one of the world’s most useful plants is about to end, and everyone can declare victory.”--Mark Frauenfelder, founder, Boing Boing
“Hemp is our ancestral ally, one that long provided us with food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Hemp Bound reveals that now is the time to remember this alliance with hemp after years of prohibition, and that although it won’t save us, it can help us. That’s what earth medicine does.”--John Trudell, poet, recording artist, actor, activist, and cofounder of Hempstead Project HEART
"What might come back along with legalized pot? Only one of the strongest, most versatile plants in the world: hemp. In his latest, self-described “comedic investigative journalist” Fine (Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, 2012, etc.) focuses on the enormous potential applications for industrialized hemp. As the author ably explains, the plant is the government-designated name for all strains of cannabis that have negligible amounts of THC, meaning it can’t get you high. However, it can be used as a wildly strong fiber; when the U.S. government passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, suddenly the U.S. Army found itself lacking in decent ropes. It can also create incongruous benefits, like creating nutritious products based on its oil, and can even be used as a potential energy source. To prove his point, Fine chronicles his trips across North America, visiting and profiling entrepreneurs, advocates, farmers and innovators. In Denver, he took a test drive in a hemp oil–powered Mercedes-Benz; in Winnipeg, Canada, he visited a factory where enthusiasts are crafting composite materials from hemp that could potentially be used in automobiles, airplanes or industrial tools like tractors. The author also makes the point that the United States is the largest market for Canada’s thriving hemp industry, which is regulated smoothly and profitably by its government. Fine is, of course, an accidental activist, too, but it’s hard not to admire his enthusiasm. A short, sweet, logical and funny argument for the potential of one of the world’s most dynamic cash crops.”
“The issue is simple: farmers need hemp, the soil needs hemp, forests need hemp, and humanity needs the plant that the good Lord gave us for our own survival—hemp. The benefits are too many to name, but if hemp was a crop that could be monopolized by industrial Ag corporations it would already be legal. Hemp Bound tells us with detail and humor how to get to the environmental Promised Land. Doug has created a blueprint for the America of the future.”--Willie Nelson
“I never dreamed industrial hemp had so much promise until I read Doug Fine's Hemp Bound. The book is not only fun to read, but it passes along fascinating insights about a farm crop that produces many food and fiber products and is adapted to areas where corn and soybeans are rarely profitable. As the author points out with gracious good humor, industrial hemp is not medical marijuana, and it should become a major farm crop in America as it has elsewhere.”--Gene Logsdon, author of Gene Everlasting and Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind
About The Author
|Size:||5.5 x 7.5 inch|
|Publisher:||Chelsea Green Publishing|
|Pub. Date:||March 28, 2014|
Available In/Retail PricePaperback, 192 pages, $14.95
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