If domestic industrial hemp use and farming were practiced, applauded and rewarded, we may just be able to change the world…FACT!
Hemp is the Hero of our time...let me explain why,
With our families last months visit to the Brisbane Ekka (Royal National Show) came another thought bubble for me.
I was so very excited to go to the 'natural fibres pavillion', expecting to be inspired, challenged, delighted...I literally jogged there. Only to run out in horror just a few minutes later after being verbally abused by a cotton advocate. Now, I'm no cotton hater (at all, in fact it's organic cousin makes a beautiful blend for our hemp linen) but I am a huge advocate for the much maligned humble hemp plant and it's ability to change our world for the better. So, when questioned as to whether I was an admirer or a maker, I proudly said 'a creator' of hemp based offerings and quickly (& thoroughly) received a barrage of abuse regarding hemp & marijuana...yes a very cluey person who believes you can smoke hemp :(
Now that my back was up ... I did quietly bring up the subject on the cottons crop exhaustive usage of water, toxic chemicals, pesticides, the Murray Darling basin and the governments cover up and quickly left to view the crafters prize area...where I was once again assaulted by synthetic dyes & garish tie dye crafts. Let's just say 2018 Ekka can expect quite a few 'natural fibre', botanically coloured entries from me. Perhaps some of these :
The cultivation of this crop would be a huge win for small farmers (especially the organic & hobby farm ones)..not to mention our planet. We’re talking about industrial hemp here, not medical cannabis, which continues to prove itself and gain acceptance on it's own merits. But...back to hemp.
The benefits to our planet and it's people in using hemp are in plain view and easy to calculate. However, it’s the complex & ridiculous issues of legal and government bureaucracy, (even without THC) that holds the much needed industrial revolution of hemp back.
In the 1930's the hemp industry was set in a very positive direction by the introduction of the decoricator machine. It replaced the previous hand shredding needed to access hemp fibres so that it could be used for fabrics, ropes, twines, clothing, paper, plastic, building materials etc. With this new machine, hemp was now in a position where it could take over most of the competing industries in those production areas mentioned. It should have been a now brainer...shouldn't it?
Historically hemp was a saviour...and everyone knew it.
1st US President and a hemp farmer quoted “Make the most of the hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
Even his diary notes mentions his hemp crops: May 12-13 1765: “Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.” August 7, 1765: “began to separate the Male from the Female Hemp at Do — rather too late.”
Ben Franklin owned a mill that produced paper from hemp, which allowed the US to have a free press without having to ship expensive paper from England. The much celebrated rope that was used in his lighting experiment was a hemp rope.
But of course you all know something happened to halt this marvelous growth...
a small number of very large businesses with competitive worries used government connections to push through the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 in the US, which of course soon coursed through the veins of much of the world like the poison that it was. Lobbyists of long ago put a halt to what could have made all the difference along with the troubles we are experiencing now. The inevitable marijuana propaganda and the silly lies rolled out and brought about more legislation that would prohibit all hemp farming, including our beloved hemp hero without the THC even though back then there was no confusion between the two species.
Thankfully, commercial hemp cultivation is now legal in Canada & parts of the USA. Whilst 80 years after hemp cultivation was banned in Australia, the industry is just now enjoying a second coming finally in 2017, though still heavily legislated and licensed.
5 Extraordinary Things Hemp Can Accomplish right now
Nutrition Based Care
Hemp seeds and the cold pressed oils are superfoods that possess incredible health benefits and contain all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only high in omega3 and 6, it also provides an almost perfect ratio of the omegas. It's so nutritionally superior you can survive on hemp seeds alone for a long period, can you imagine what this could do to those families facing famine?
It's hero addition to our skincare and beauty creations takes pride of place in our Meraki skincare and beauty range - Hemp plumps up tired and dry skin, with long lasting hydration and will even help the ability of your skin to retain moisture with its use over time. Hemp oil calms your skin, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, protects from environmental pollutants, balances oily skin types and does not clog pores.
See our very affordable Meraki collection here
Ridding ourselves and our planet of toxins from plastics
Nil petrochemicals from plastics are produced with hemp plastics, from plastic wraps for food, bottles and everyday items all the way through to auto parts, with no harmful BPA. Hemp plastics are not only heat resistant and durable they are 100% biodegradable. Euro auto have started to use hemp to manufacture car parts. All the way back to the 1940's when Henry Ford built his historical 'vege car' with hemp and flax it was stronger then steel, it also used hemp biodiesel fuel.
Imagine where we could be now if the hemp industry was left to it's own devices all those years ago?
Hemp improves our soils, our environment, indeed our planet
No pesticides or synthetic fertilisers are needed to successfully grow hemp, you could grown it yourself easily. The dense roots stave off weeds, and the growing process improves the soil’s nitrogen, making the soil even better for other crops in the future, a perfect rotational crop for farmers and the health of our soils, which are incredibly sour here in Australia. The growth cycle of hemp is generally only four months, so the option to harvest two times in one year would create a huge relief for our struggling farmers. Research says that just one acre of hemp produces more oxygen from CO2 and methane than 25 acres of forest. Let's not forget our last little blog about the water savings...our bedsheets save 9000 litres of water per sheet compared to cotton!
See the beauty of them here
Housing construction materials (such as hempcrete) made from hemp fibres have been found to be far superior to most materials used in housing construction in our era. Inexpensive hemp can be made into a huge variety of building materials, hempcrete, insulation, blocks, plastics, board, even carpets, whilst being so much stronger and will last soooo much longer than what’s being utilised now. Did I mention they are also fire resistant?, mould & mildew resistant? rot free? totally non toxic? & good for us and our planet-and all naturally!
Have you any idea how many toxic chemicals and compounds are in our newly built housing?, so much of the materials used are processed with toxic chemicals that are released into our living areas (with our loved ones) for years and years.
Fabrics, paper, textiles, twines & ropes
In essence anything wood pulp can do, hemp fibres do far better. 70% of our worlds forests have already been eliminated...and we pretend we don't know why our existence is threatened. .
Hemp paper can be recycled 8 times, whilst from our beautiful century old trees is only 3 times. The natural beauty we can create with this textile is inspiring, as a little cottage organic hemp creator I'm proud of our pioneering movement even on this small scale, the fabrics are so very beautiful, becoming softer with each use, heirloom fabrics that last a lifetime and are also stain resistant. See what we've created in our new eco fashion Vertex range thus far here and there is so much more to come with new designs being trialed, tweaked and lovingly sewn weekly.
Hemp is indeed the Hero.
The difference this humble plant could make to our planet and it's people is inexcusably staring us all in the face.
Time for the Hemp Revolution!!!
Things are different for me nowadays. Once upon a time (like everyone I guess) I was pretty care free, a dreamer, a wanna be artist without a care in the world.
Having children changes that for most of us certainly, but for me it was also a major health scare. I suffered a 'widowmaker' (massive) heart attack at the age of 45 not long after making a major career change. I thought that moving from the fast paced media career I'd had to an easy local marketing role was going to be a walk in the park. But that was before I found myself in a 'cultish' & negative environment.
Yep, I went from the fast world of media land with multi national agencies & mainstream media, down to a local business that was quite honestly just like a cult, run by a family who were erratic, (ambitious & driven yes)....but more then a little off center with their paranoia & self importance. It appeared that I started the gig as the golden haired child (against my better judgement), soon to be renamed the 'untouchable' when I refused to drink their Kool aid.
The stress of being 'frozen out' (even though I did attempt to confront the issue directly) combined with what turned out to be a low lying ongoing infection from some nasty root canal was my undoing - & the subsequent heart attack at this young age is what knocked me for a total six.
Now, that could have been enough, but just a short 2 months later I was the passenger in a car accident which broke 9 of my ribs, cracked my sternum & covered me with bruises & aches in places I didn't know existed, & let's face it chest pain wasn't a good thing for me after the heart attack.
Just 2 days later & I had the strangest thing happen. I got swooped by a bird, yep just a little bird, & this had me shaking, with cold sweats, nervous & jumpy for at least a week before I decided I'd better find out what was happening to me.
Of course I thought I was losing my mind, but it turns out I was diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). What tha! - I though this nasty disorder was for ex military personnel, people who were in war zones, refugees, asylum seekers, those that had gone through some terrible unspoken trauma. I soon learned however any major trauma (such as a health event) followed by another (in my case the accident) close together escalates the possibility of acquiring PTSD.
Not long after pursuing the main stream 'fixes' (aka pharmaceuticals) for these things my beautiful mentor (aka yoga instructor) came into my husbands workshop as a new customer...& a new Jul was soon to emerge. The combination of yoga, meditation, breathing, organic nutrition & wholefoods saved me from a lifetime of prescriptions, toxins & chemicals.
The 25% (apparently permanent damage to my heart) turned into 2% within a short 2 years & I've not looked back since. The weight loss was what everyone noticed, but for me it was a whole lot more...it was a new life, using discipline really changed my head space, organising my nutrients & eventually turning to a ketogenic (for me that's lots of good fats such as coconut oil, moderate protein & no sugars/carbs) lifestyle I found I was sleeping better, thinking more clearly, having a lot more energy & generally being more positive in everything I did.
If I'm honest with myself, some months are harder then others.
As many of you parents will understand it's very easy to prioritise yourself last. I fall into this trap regularly & find I don't 'care' for myself enough at times, not enough sleep, not preparing food daily & going 12+ hours without any sustenance. There is always a member of the family that deserves attention, always someone to cook for, washing to do, chores to complete, bills to pay, bookeeping to do, blogs, emails, social media, websites & of course my glorious clients orders.
But...if I don't remind myself daily to get back in to my routine, take time out for myself, perform at least half an hour of yoga, I start falling into that trap. Over a period of weeks I can literally feel a wave of panic just behind my heels, negative thoughts start to become more frequent, it's sincerely like a huge wave of water that I feel myself just running from, a perfect storm of little neglects that add up in to what eventually turns into a fully fledged panic attack that can be bought on by the smallest of things. I sit here now, writing this blog following my first yoga session in weeks due to having a panic attack of biblical poportion over the last few days.
So, from one parent to another...today I start afresh & dial up the necessary discipline that makes me feel 'oh so good'. Take the time out for yourself, find the perfect match for your body, mind & soul. Today I will ferment some more indigo leaves, will freeze some more flowers & berries, make some seed crackers & fat bombs, & will spend the afternoon ironing up some turmeric, ginger, marigold, chamomile, calendula sheets for a joyful client.
Be good to you, prioritise yourself, thank your body each & every day for doing all the hard work for you. If you suffer from PTSD, panic attacks, negative thoughts, anxiety, drop me a line, anytime, & let's chat :)
When you purchase clothes or bed linen you probably don't give a lot of your think muscle in regards to their toxic load on your body and our environment. But most fabrics that are used in our daily lives are highly processed with lots of chemicals and that can never be a good thing. The nature of 'our beast' is surrounded by fabrics all day & night...so it's good to know what to look for and how to best protect yourself. Only a few generations ago people used all natural fibres, wool, silk, hemp, linen and cotton. Today however, many items are produced using rayon, acrylic, polyester, nylon & the like. These chemically treated fabrics negatively impact our health & the health of our planet. Some examples of these nasties I grew up with & wore in the 70's (...as if the fashion wasn't bad enough!), and yes, I'm the one in the knee high frill socks.
Rayon is simply recycled wood pulp that is treated with chemicals such as caustic soda, sulphuric acid, acetone & ammonia, if you wouldn't soak in these chemicals in your relaxing bath...it's probably not a good idea to wear them or sleep in them.
Polyester is by far the worst as it's produced from synthetic polymers that are derived from dihydirc alcohol & terpthalic acid, we wouldn't drink these so why wear or sleep in them?
Acrylic fabrics are technically polycrylonitriles, which in loyman terms means they are linked to cancers, like you need any other reason to avoid these like the plague.
Nylon is made from petroleum- nuff said, we all know what that means :( Furthermore those free & easy maintenance items that are wrinkle free, stain resistant etc are generally treated with perfluorinated chemicals like Teflon, yet another example of manufacturing gone mad.
Many fabrics, (including natural yarns), have processing which usually includes detergents, bleach, petrochemical dyes, formaldehyde & chemical softeners. So many of these chemicals are toxic to humans, many contain heavy metals & furthermore, pollute our environment.
Reducing your toxic load may seem somewhat overwhelming, but bit by bit, every change will help you see an improvement in your own life, the environment & the world we live in. Ideally I would never like to wear these fabrics day in day out & I certainly wouldn't want to be spending my most healing period (sleep) cocooned in them. So of course the answer is natural fibres, hemp, silk, cotton, linen, wool etc sourced from organic producers & manufacturers.
Some of the good guys, or at least 'goodish'
Cotton - though wonderful for making fashion & decor we all know conventionally produced cotton causes great harm to the environment & our waterways with all the pesticides, fertilisers & chemicals used. Organically produced cotton causes no harm, however it's still up there as one of the 'thirstiest' crops there is, with water a precious resource it's one that should be conserved.
Hemp is simply the best of the lot. It has so many beneficial properties.
It's environmentally positive with no need for pesticides or insecticides. It improves the soil where it's grown making it a perfect rotational crop for farmers. It's drought resistant, fibres of many descriptions can be produced from its fibrous stalks without the need for any chemicals.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years to make clothing & fabric, it's only since the rise of cannabis being suppressed by government enforcement agencies that industrial hemp has been given a negative rap, same species different plant. You can't smoke industrial hemp, but you can most definitely benefit from this wondrous plant & its divine fabric.
I'm a fence sitter regarding Bamboo. The plant is fast growing & usually organic given it needs very little pest control. However one method of manufacturing bamboo is mechanical (crushing of the woody part of the plant). This is usually named Bamboo linen yet very little of this is manufactured due to its high labour costs & ultimate purchasing costs.
Most of the Bamboo fabric available is produced using chemical manufacturing which includes cooking the leaves & shoots in chemical compounds including sodium hydroxide & carbon disulphide, which have both been found to cause health problems. New ways of manufacturing this fabric are chemical free, but be sure it's certified if you wish to try it & gain the benefits. Not all bamboo fabrics are created equally.
That is my 10 cents for this month....please do feel free to ask any question or leave comments. I'll be sure to get back to you :) Organically yours ... Jul
In this fast paced, instant gratification world we live in... the word & meaning of 'slow' sometimes is forgotten, or thought of as a negative. The meaning according to the trusty old dictionary...
moving or operating, or designed to do so, only at a low speed; not quick or fast.
"the old lady walked slowly'
unhurried, leisurely, measured, moderate, deliberate, steady, sedate, slow-moving, slow-going, easy, relaxed, unrushed, gentle, undemanding, comfortable;
But let's consider the synonyms, measured, moderate, deliberate, steady, gentle, comfortable.
Slow fashion, slow decor, slow food, slow creation...
They all have the same driving ethos, that which is in opposition to mass produced, factory made products with negative impact on workers, ecosystems, families, communities & our planet. It should instead be about the quality not the quantity. It's about healthy, organic, fair trade, local produce. Sustainability is it's very core.
In fashion many 'slow fashionistas' use the 30 times method...if you won't wear it at least 30 times, don't purchase it. With the same reasoning your Tshirt should not cost less then your chai or capuccino. Somebody, somewhere is suffering for you to wear it, child labour, cruel slave trades, factories taking advantage of those without the correct visa or paperwork.
Even in the digital world many companies are hiring Virtual assistants from countries such as the Phillipines. Though these people are highly educated they are duped by Australian companies into working long hours for less then a quarter of the wage an Australian would receive on the award rate. Some, will even pretend that they are doing it for the philanthropic notion of helping out those less fortunate...but the truth is they want everything fast, inexpensive, the quality & integrity mean very little to them.
It's simply wrong on so many levels, not to mention unhealthy for all involved, including the end wearer of the toxic fabric tshirt made by someone for almost nothing. Someone, somewhere made those inexpensive items we are all sadly taken in by, but we are responsible for ourselves & bit by bit we can change the world...
in my case, I'm attempting to do that 'One sheet at a time'.
This is why I do what I do, slow, organic, purposeful creation.
Following my heart attack I was advised I must get 8 hours sleep, we all know how difficult that can be in our fast paced world, where families need more & more of you, work requires hours of commuting, extended hours are no longer 'overtime' but just the entry level in keeping your role. Quality time with the kids & your loved ones is an absolute must, but to do so, something always gives. Mothers are the first to put their own health & wellbeing at risk for their families. Truly believing that the nuturing of 'everyone else first' is the key to being a good wife & mother. I was well into that trap (for many years) until my health told me clearly I was doing it wrong.
Making these changes is not easy, I for one am well aware of that, but over time with conscious effort it can be achieved. We can all do 'with a little less', there is no need to keep up with others, max out credit cards, have the latest in every technical gadget, the best of everything, the latest brand name fashions, whilst having the worst of lives & health.
Slowly, we made changes to our lives that mattered. We started small & inexpensive & used the opportunities to create those quality of times with one another. We started to grow as much of our own food as possible, learned about companion planting, aquaponics & reusing as much of our waste as we could. I learned yoga, with an amazing teacher & mentor who set me on the clear path I follow today. i eat better, sleep better, relax better & think better - using nutrition, herbs, & yoga to keep me on a healthy track & ensure I get a great healing nights sleep.
When our body is at rest, we are healing,
Sleep is our bodies cue to detox, heal & repair, physically, mentally & emotionally. Lack of sleep and a sleep of less then 6 hours is linked to poor health. Our everyday lives are filled with environmental pollution, toxins, poisons, pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals. It stands to reason that being in an environment as pure as possible during sleep would be beneficial if not mandatory...that is how this little organic cottage creation business came to be.
Explore the creations, find a fit for you...or better yet contact me & we'll discover it together.
Organically yours... Jul
Life tends to bring you just what you need...the universe works like that. The providence of what's required kicks in when you least expect it. I always believed I wanted to be a graphic designer...an artist of such. Many years I spent next to my Grandfather who was a inspiring painter, learning his craft & marvelling at the ease & patience he displayed on every piece.