Sewing with Hemp

I recently took advantage of an opportunity to sew for a non-profit organization that gives workshops on sustainable living practices such as organic gardening, building, vegetarian cooking. Plenitud Iniciativas is located in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Part of their organic farming/vegetarian cooking workshop includes growing sprouts inside bags made of hemp cloth. When you are thinking of fast food–that is, real food–how does 3 to 5 days from seed to harvest sound to you? You have fresh, organic salad food loaded with nutrients, and you grew it yourself by doing nothing other than soaking and rinsing your seeds-in-the-bag a few times, and letting them hang in the bag to drain. I’ve been growing the seed mix they sent me, anticipating a salad with fresh sprouts for our Thanksgiving feast on Saturday.

I found a great site with loads of details, showing how this blogger BeStrixed accomplished such an amazing healthy harvest. She made a large sprout bag; the ones I made are smaller. You can buy sprout bags from lots of internet sources, usually for 8 or 10 dollars, not including shipping costs. Hemp cloth can be a bit pricey but more economical if you can get it in larger quantities. Hemp Traders says the fabric is “shipped directly from our overseas factories.”

Can it be that hemp fiber is shipped from overseas because it’s against the law to grow hemp here in the US? Maybe that will change, given the results of the recent election that legalized marijuana in two states. Who knows, maybe hemp will be America’s crop of the future, a big boost for our economy? Hemp has been grown in Canada as a commercial crop since lobbyists were able to convince the government that it’s possible to distinguish it from marijuana. At one time, the US government knew there was a difference, too, according to David P. West’s Hemp Myths and Realities. See this article by Small and Marcus for more info about hemp. Hemp is an amazing fiber. It is strong, durable, grows very quickly, and can be used to make some of the same things we now cut down trees to make, like paper. And here’s a unique source for buying anything from hemp sprout bags ($1 off the $9.95 price if you order 12 or more) to hemp-fabric wedding attire for bride and groom: Rawganique.com.

sprout bag

A particularly good property of hemp cloth, ideal for sprout bags, is that it is resistant to rot and mold. Plenitud’s staff chose Hemp Trader’s Summercloth, a variety of 100% hemp linen, for the sprout bags. It has a wonderful heavy linen-like feel to it. Hemp Traders also sells light-weight 100% hemp linen (CT-L3) that’s soft and sheer like cotton or linen lawn. Hemp Traders will gladly send you samples along with a price list. Besides hemp linen, they sell hemp jersey knits, cotton and hemp blends, spandex stretch blends, and hemp/flax blends.

98% hemp, 2% lycra rib knit

Here’s a pic of a 2.5 yard piece of Stretch Hemp Rayon I bought from fabric.com. For a hint of how rayon was first made by DuPont, after its scientists studied the cellulose in hemp, scroll almost to the end of this informative rant by the Hemp Historian.

If you’ve been distracted by all the info given in the links herein, you probably now know a lot more than you planned to know about hemp! It’s easy to sew and to iron; in fact I made sprout bags with my serger since my sewing machine was in the shop. I am thankful for nice fabric and a project such as this to keep me realizing what a beautiful and amazing earth we live on. Don’t we owe it to ourselves, our posterity, and Mother Earth to find more sustainable, rather than destructive, living practices?

[Added 11/25/12]
Here we have a picture of our sprouts. Only 4 days ago they were just a tablespoon or less of tiny seeds.

Sprouts and other salad ingredients

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. offshore corporation
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 04:12:39

    Sprout bags will grow any seed, even hard-to-grow gelatinous seeds like chia, flax, arugula, and cress. But they are perfect for all grains and beans such as mung, lentil, green pea, garbanzo, adzuki, wheat, barley, rye, Kamut, peanut, quinoa, fenugreek, and shelled (silver) sunflower seed. Sure, you can also grow green leafy sprouts such as radish and alfalfa, especially if you roll back the collar to allow more light. See More Sprout Bag Photos But, a straight-growing, ample light grower such as our Automatic Sprouter is best suited for greening up leafy sprouts.

    Reply

  2. Mizz Winkens
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 05:45:07

    Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing. : )

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Sewing With Hemp #2 | Project Remnant Redo

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