Hemp: the new fields of green?

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February 25, 2016 9:24 AM

With today’s low economy, due in large part to an over-reliance on the oil resource, three groups have come together to suggest diversifying into another field.
The field of hemp.
The Conseil de developpment economique de l’Alberta (CDEA), in partnership with Alberta Hub and Community Futures, are touring northeastern Alberta, hosting workshops on hemp growing.
One such workshop will be making a stop in Marwayne next month.
“The workshop is about A to Z towards industrial hemp growing,” said Suzanne Prevost, director of rural development and entrepreneurship with CDEA.
“They will learn about the reality of the local growing season and they will learn about the costs for their own venture.”
The workshops are conducted by Jan Slaski from Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, who has almost 30 years experience with industrial hemp growing.
Prevost describes Slaski as an expert on the subject and said the sessions are highly interactive, giving attendees the answers they need before starting their own ventures in hemp agriculture.
So far the sessions have taken place in communities like Two Hills, Bonneyville and Lac La Birch, with roughly 156 people in total having attended.
The group plan to spread the word in Strathcona and Peace River after their workshop in Marwayne, which will take place on March 3.
“They will also learn what it’s worth, hemp is a very good product,” said Prevost.
“It’s worth more than canola and other regular crops; that’s why people are interested, and it’s easier to grow than regular crops.”
Prevost said they are focusing on the north eastern part of the province because the climate during growing season is more suited to the crop than in the southern part of the province.
Southern Alberta tends to have dryer summers, but with the added humidity in the north, it makes for a better growing climate in terms of hemp.
The workshops are also intended to dispel some of the negative opinions people carry toward the leafy green plant, which is often associated with narcotics.
“That’s why we do the workshop, so people have the right information to see that there is an interest and it’s a good possibility for them,” Prevost said. “I can tell the response is very positive — there are lots of people who want to grow this year.”
The Hemp Growing Presentation Series makes its stop in Marwayne on March 3, taking place at 210 2 Avenue from 10:30 am until 2:30 pm.
For more info contact Suzanne Prevost at 780-573-5146

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