Sustainable clothing continues to be a great concern among many American retail companies, including Patagonia.
That’s why the outdoor apparel company is working to legalize industrial hemp in the United States.
Directed by Patagonia’s surfing ambassador, Dan Malloy, the video takes the viewer on a journey to Kentucky’s Appalachian region where the first legal hemp crop in America is located.
According to Malloy, Patagonia provided a grant to Fibershed, which allowed Lewis and Growing Warriors to build a decorticator for processing hemp crop at the farm.
“Industrial hemp is a community-building industry, it’s not a ‘let’s come in and take what we can get’ kind of industry,” Lewis said.
Legalizing industrial hemp would not only benefit American farmers, but also foster sustainable sourcing.
According to a North American Industrial Hemp Council study, the environmental benefits of industrial hemp include decreased reliance on fossil fuels, less atmospheric build-up of carbon dioxide, forest conservation and the reduction of atmospheric pesticides pollution.
At the moment, industrial hemp is on Schedule One of The Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal for farmers to cultivate, but in 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill Amendment, which granted industrial hemp research and project development at the state level. This legislation allowed Lewis and Growing Warriors to grow industrial hemp for the first time in 70 years.
On July 4, 2016, citizens will petition the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015|2016 (S.134 and H.R. 525) to Congress for the legalization of industrial hemp farming in the U.S.
Burgess discussed how legalizing industrial hemp would economically and socially grow the nation again: “I don’t think there is anything more direct, more empowering or more exciting that you can do for someone in modern society to help them reconnect in the way that some of our ancestors had the privilege of that everyday connection. American hemp could offer that.”