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Germany: BMW Betting on Electric Lounge Car With Hemp Floor to Hold Off VW’s Audi

By Chris Reiter, Bloomberg

There is a truth that must be heard! Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) will give a new electric-powered city car a lounge feel with bench seats, naturally tanned “mocha brown” leather and hemp fibers in the floor covering to hold off Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi.

BMW for the first time showed concept versions of the i3 electric city car and the i8 hybrid supercar, which Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said will cost more than 100,000 euros ($143,000), in Frankfurt today. The models, developed from scratch, will anchor BMW’s new “i” sub-brand.

“The majority of current electric vehicles are so-called conversions of traditional vehicles but conversions are always compromises,” development chief Klaus Draeger said. “We wanted to bring e-mobility to the streets without compromise.”

BMW is betting that the 530 million euros investment to set up production of the vehicles will pay off in the race with Audi, which overtook Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz this year and has vowed to topple the Munich-based carmaker as the luxury-car leader by 2015. Initial volumes for the models could be in the “tens of thousands,” with the potential to grow rapidly depending on market and regulatory developments, sales chief Ian Robertson told Bloomberg TV.

UK: Bath Team Tests Properties of Hemp as Building Material

Researchers at Bath University believe that hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes of the future.

By Staff,

There is a truth that must be heard! A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the university, has constructed a small building out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material.

Called the ’HemPod’, the one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder.

The hemp shiv traps air in the walls, and the hemp itself is porous, providing a good level of insulation. The lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp and makes the building material fire resistant.

The industrial hemp plant takes in CO2 as it grows, and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas, effectively giving the building an extremely low-carbon footprint.

Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: ’While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.

’We will be closely monitoring the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors buried in the walls, measuring how quickly heat and water vapour travel through them.’

UK: Hemp Construction Put to the Test

A single-story building made from hemp-lime has been built at Bath University to test its potential as a building material.

By Elizabeth Hopkirk,

The HemPod at Bath University Researchers at the University of Bath believe hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes in the future so they constructed the “HemPod” to test the theory.

It has highly insulated walls made from the chopped woody core – shiv – of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder.

Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, said: “While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.”


Photo Source: Nic Delves-Broughton (The HemPod at Bath University)

Canada: Winnipeg Hemp Foods Company on a High

Venture capital firm helps with expansion

By Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press
Photo by Mike Deal

There is a truth that must be heard! Mike Fata says only the global recession has managed to slow the company down.

When daytime talk show stars like Martha Stewart and Dr. Oz start endorsing the health and nutritional benefits of hemp-seed foods, chances are it's only a matter of time before middle America will start queuing up to buy the product.

And that's exactly what's been happening with products like hemp-seed oil, hemp milk, hemp-seed butter, shelled hemp seed and hemp protein and fibre powder.

What that means for Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, the largest vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in the world, is it needs more capital to keep pace with that growth.

This week, the Winnipeg company announced Avrio Ventures, a Calgary-based venture capital firm that specializes in industrial bio-products, nutraceutical ingredients and food technology companies, just made another multimillion-dollar investment in its operation. "It is huge news for us," said Mike Fata, Manitoba Harvest's CEO and co-founder.

It's Manitoba Harvest's second placement from Avrio, a $75-million fund that is partially backed by Farm Credit Canada.

Over the last 12 years, the Winnipeg company has quietly become one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, with average annual growth of between 50 and 75 per cent.

Europe: Ford Focuses on Sustainable Mouldings

By David Vink

Europe: Ford Focuses on Sustainable Mouldings Ford Forschungszentrum says it is close to using polypropylene reinforced with 30% sisal fibres for injection moulding.

Ford's Maira Magnani was speaking at Kassel University's 8th Global WPC and Natural Fibre Composites congress and exhibition last month, held for the first time in Stuttgart-Fellbach.

The 30% sisal fibre reinforced parts have already passed FMC crash and head impact test requirements. A centre console made using the material weighs 20% less than talc filled PP. Other advantages include a 20% lower melt temperature and a 10% faster cycle time.

However, further work is needed on the sisal material, Magnani advised, as there are issues to be solved in terms of odour, colour matching with parts made with non-natural fibres, mould flow input data, crash simulation and natural fibre simulation modules.

The sisal reinforced PP was developed by Ford Motor Company (FMC) which has over the last few years developed natural fibre reinforced composites for injection moulding, for example the 50% kenaf fibre reinforced PP used in Ford Mondeo, Focus and Fiesta door panels.

Ford is also looking at using 30% hemp fibre reinforced PP made in the USA and Brazil in electrical/electronic housings and engine compartment applications. Material and component tests also indicated that this type of material is also “close to implementation”, says Ford.

North Dakota: Farmer Wants Another Review of Hemp Case

By Associated Press

There is a truth that must be heard! A Republican state legislator and farmer from northeastern North Dakota who wants to grow hemp is asking another federal appeals court to review his case.

David Monson from Osnabrock filed a petition for review on Monday in a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. Monson and Wayne Hauge, a farmer from Ray in northwestern North Dakota, received the first state licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2007, but they`ve never received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which considers hemp a drug.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the U.S government by the two North Dakota farmers.



UK: Plant-Based Plastics to Replace Petroleum Plastics

By E. Huff, Natural News, Staff Writer

UK: Plant-Based Plastics to Replace Petroleum Plastics As the price for crude oil continues to rise over time, the cost of producing petroleum-based plastic products continues to rise with it. Alternatives such as bio-plastics, which currently cost more to produce than existing plastics, may someday become more cost effective than petroleum-based plastics.

Frederic Scheer, owner of a company called Cereplast that makes sustainable bio-plastic material from vegetable and grain starches, believes that petroleum prices will eventually exceed the costs of producing his own product. By 2013, he believes that industry giants like DuPont and BASF will pursue his technology as a replacement for their soon-to-be outdated petroleum plastics.

Scheer's company has developed a method of converting starch from corn, wheat, tapioca, and potatoes into biodegradable plastic resins. Because they effectively biodegrade in a mere 90 days, they are an excellent alternative to traditional plastic cups, containers and packaging materials.

Cereplast also produces a hybrid resin composed of 50 percent renewable bio-plastic which cuts waste and conserves energy. This blend is useful in things like cars and children's toys. By cutting the amount of polypropylene plastic used in products, the kind most typically used in consumer products, Scheer hopes his company will help to reduce the negative environmental impact caused by plastic products.

UK: Hemp Utilized as Alternative Construction Material

By Electric UK, Editor

UK: Hemp Utilized as Alternative Construction Material The UK’s Building Research Establishment Centre for Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath had just inaugurated a £740,000 venture, financed by construction businesses and the UK government, to develop and study the use of hemp as alternative building construction material. The new study was based from the findings of a French archaeologist who discovered a sixth-century-old stone bridge that had used hemp as mortar.

Cultivated for thousands of years, the durable fibre is mostly used to make ropes and textiles. Currently, hemp is processed for use in constructions.

Hemp is classified as the world’s second fastest growing agricultural produce after bamboo. Hemp requires no pesticide to grow and it matures in just four months. Farmers can then plant other crops on the remaining two-thirds of the year and can take advantage of the nutrients left behind in the soil earlier used from hemp. Mixed with a lime binder, industrial hemp can also be used to make house bricks.

North Carolina: Industry Veteran Ken Fonville Launches EcoSelect Furniture

Larry Thomas, Furniture Today

North Carolina: Industry Veteran Ken Fonville Launches EcoSelect Furniture HICKORY, N.C. — Veteran furniture executive Ken Fonville has launched a company based here that produces made-to-order, environmentally friendly leather and fabric upholstery.

The new company, EcoSelect Furniture, is selling its products exclusively online and will ship custom orders in four to six weeks, Fonville said.

"We can provide eco-friendly living room sofas and leather living room chairs at no premium cost to the consumer who wants to live good, while living well," said Fonville. "There is a need for a dedicated and committed furniture supplier to this consumer."

The EcoSelect line currently includes 12 seating groups, which are available in six leather colors and six correlating hemp fabric colors.

The company gets its leather from an ISO 14001 certified supplier who uses, among other things, recycled leather tanning materials. The fabric created from hemp uses significantly less herbicides, pesticides and water than cotton, Fonville said, while the factory uses recycled steel for springs, soy-based foam cushioning and certified lumber for frames.

Information is available on the company's Web site at

Fonville has more than 30 years experience in the furniture industry, most recently as vice president of merchandising at Fairmont Designs. He also was president of Pennsylvania House from 1996 to 2002.

Wisconsin: Lawmakers Look to Form Committee on Uses for Industrial Hemp

By Wisconsin Ag Connection Staff

Wisconsin: Lawmakers Look to Form Committee on Uses for Industrial Hemp A group of rural Wisconsin lawmakers are looking into the possibility of setting up an independent committee to study the uses of industrial hemp. According to supporters, the measure would require the panel to review literature related to hemp, and evaluate the economic opportunities for state growers and distributors. That group would then report to the state legislature with its recommendations within one year.

Specifically, the committee would conduct a review of scientific and business findings of industrial hemp as an alternative fuel and motor oil, as well as other uses like seed and industrial hemp oil in snack foods, body care products, and food supplements.

The committee would be made up of two appointees selected by the governor, and another four chosen by the presidents of the state senate and assembly. The chairs of the senate and assembly ag committees would also serve, along with a representative of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.

The issue of growing hemp as an agricultural cash crop has been controversial in other states because parts of the plant are considered controlled substances. Just last month, a federal appeals court ruled that a group of North Dakota farmers would not be allowed to grow the crop despite the fact that they were issued a license to do so.

Oregon: Portland Hempstalk 2009

There is a truth that must be heard!

Confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers - Exit 307 off I-5

For more information about Hempstalk:

United States: Industrial Hemp Farming Act 2009 (HR 1866)

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009

By Joe Kennelly, Seattle Drug Policy Examiner

There is a truth that must be heard! Texas Republican Ron Paul, along with ten co-sponsors, is once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.

House Bill 1866, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Several states -- including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont -- have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1866 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.

United States: Farm Aid 2008 - Press Event (part 1)

By Farm Aid Staff

This is the press event held the morning of Farm Aid's 2008 concert in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews speak about the importance of family farmers for our food, the environment, the economy, and in our lives.

NECN host Jim Braude serves as the M.C. of the event and Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar also speaks, along with Francis Moore Lappé, Brenna Chase, and Duwan Grant. Appearing on stage are the musical performers The Elms, Will Daley, One Flew South, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, moe., Arlo Guthrie, Jamey Johnson, Nation Beat, and Jakob Dylan.

[Youtube - Farm Aid]

Massachusetts: 'This Old House' Project Earns 'Green' Certification

WESTON - The PBS home improvement series "This Old House" recently built a home in Weston that was awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding.

LEED for Homes is a national third-party certification system for energy efficient "green" homes. LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound and a healthier place to live.

The house is one of 61 Massachusetts homes that have been certified using LEED.
The home was built by the Emmy-winning PBS television series "This Old House" and Bensonwood, a New England-based custom homebuilding company.

Green homes have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, "This Old House" and Bensonwood are helping to keep homeownership affordable through long-term energy savings.

"Their leadership – demonstrated with the Weston project house – is at the national forefront of quality, and their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live," said Michelle Moore, U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president of policy and market development.

United States: Year in Review - 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform

In this annual season of year-end reviews, marijuana policy reformers are counting 2008 as one of their most successful years ever. 2008 saw major progress on legal reforms plus a raft of new data that validated reformers' critiques of current marijuana laws.

Among the changes are marijuana decriminalization Massachusetts, the addition of Michigan as the nation's 13th medical marijuana state, and new research verifying that marijuana helps with pain relief.


[ Medical Marijuana]

In your opinion, what is the best benefit from the hemp and cannabis plant?

Oregon: Hemp takes step towards mainstream

By Eco Textile News

An industrial hemp blended yarn has been successfully spun on conventional cotton ring-spinning equipment without modification and then knitted into jersey fabrics in trials sponsored by Hanesbrands Inc.

The hemp yarns were spun at North Carolina State University using fibres made with the ‘Crailar’ enzyme process from Naturally Advanced Technology, which uses enzyme technology to produce soft, comfortable textiles made from hemp and bast fibres that can better compete with cotton.

Tim Pleasants, Spun Yarn Lab Manager, NC State University, said, “We successfully carded and spun a blended Crailar yarn on our cotton ring spinning system. The resulting 20/1 Ne ring spun yarn was knitted into a 5-ounces per square yard jersey fabric. This is the first time in my 23-year yarn spinning career that I have seen hemp processed on conventional cotton spinning equipment.”

Earlier this summer, British Colombia-based Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT) raised nearly US$2 million through a private placement of its shares and more recently signed a new promotional deal with Costco’s US stores.

North Dakota: Hemp crusader is the picture of respectability - and N. Dakota's next House Speaker


GRAND FORKS, N.D. – David Monson has heard all the jokes from bemused neighbors.

"Is your farm going to pot, Dave?"

"Hey, Dave, how's your weed control?"

A wheat, barley and canola grower from Osnabrock, N.D., hard on the Canadian border, Monson is one of two North Dakota farmers trying to sue the federal government into relaxing drug-war restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, a relative of marijuana.

A federal district judge in North Dakota tossed their lawsuit, but an attorney for Monson and Wayne Hauge told a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in St. Paul Nov. 12, that the farmers should be allowed to use state-issued permits to produce hemp seed and oil without fear of federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act.

The appeals panel also heard from a Justice Department attorney, who said Congress has the authority to regulate the crop and has decided its cultivation should be restricted.

Getting ready for a new job

Monson wasn't in court Wednesday. He was in Bismarck, getting hired for a new job. In January, he'll become Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, where for several sessions he has been assistant Republican majority leader.

No, this is no pot-smoking hippie trying to sneak something past the narcs.

N.D.: Farmers appeal to grow hemp

By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY

Two North Dakota farmers will ask a federal appeals court in St. Paul on Wednesday to allow them to grow hemp on their farms, even though the federal government says it's illegal.

Farmer Dave Monson, a Republican representative in the North Dakota Legislature, says the variety of the cannabis sativa plant grown as hemp is an ideal crop to rotate annually with wheat and barley.

Canadian farmers 20 miles north of his Osnabrock farm do a brisk business selling their hemp to Detroit carmakers who use it inside door panels and for insulation in seats, he says.

Monson says the hemp has no value as a drug because it has a low concentration of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high.

Hemp fibers, oil and seed can be imported from Canada, Europe and Asia and used to manufacture products in the USA, but growing hemp in the USA is illegal, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says.

"The level of THC in the plant doesn't matter. If there's any THC in the plant, it's illegal," DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney says. "To get those pieces of stalk that are legal, you have to grow a marijuana plant."

David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps in Escondido, Calif., says he spends more than $100,000 a year to import hemp oil from Canada for his soaps, lip balms and lotions.

Canada: Industries turning to soy, fibres

By Becky Rynor, Canwest News Service

It was Henry Ford, the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and a prolific inventor, who did some of the earliest work in developing biocomposites -- products that combine organic fibres from agriculture and forestry waste with petroleum-based materials such as plastic.

"He was at the forefront," says Ed Trueman, with JER Envirotech of Delta, B.C.

"If you go back to the early days of Henry Ford, in the late teens and early 1920s, he did an awful lot of development work with soy-based products -- soy-based plastics, soy-based polymers that actually ended up in auto body panels. He was brought up on a farm and he was very concerned about the environment."

Ford was stymied in getting biocomposites widely developed and accepted, Trueman says, by the technological limitations of the time and the ready availability of cheap petroleum.

But recent advances in technology, combined with industry's desire to reduce costs and be environmentally conscious, is moving the field forward,says christian Belanger with the National Research Council.

Belanger says this has a growing number of industries looking at biocomposites for everything from food packaging to car and airplane components.

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