New legislation, passed on November 12, now makes it legal to sell hemp seed products in NZ as food; this will create an enormous range of business opportunities, environmental improvements and health benefits for New Zealanders.

Hemp seeds are safe to eat and have no psychoactive effect, in fact they are extremely nutritious, rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9, fibre and plant-based protein but what is truly special about hemp seed is the GLA (gamma linolenic acid) content. GLA is really important for reducing inflammation, one of the leading causes of diseases. It is highly recommended by medical practitioners around the world to treat a number of health conditions.

HempFarm NZ have been largely responsible for raising the profile of hemp seed oil and the hemp industry in New Zealand, and the growing awareness about its health and environment benefits; including potential industrial applications. Since 2011 they have been importing organic hemp seed-based products, to educate Kiwis and build market awareness. Their range includes products for health, cooking, beauty and homecare.

Currently their products are made from Canadian organic hemp seed oil, but they will be pressing their own oil as of late 2018.

HempFarm NZ are the biggest hemp grower in the country with 450 hectares ready for harvest in March 2019; next year they will sow close to 2,000 hectares. Dave and Anne Jordan are the passionate advocates and brains behind HempFarm NZ.

“In 2008, two years after the 2006 hemp regulations were announced, we began to grow industrial hemp for a better world and better products for Kiwis”, says Dave. With these goals in mind, they are fast developing a grower group; they currently have 14 growers, in 5 regions (Canterbury, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay and the Waikato) to develop a sustainable, long term local hemp industry.

Hemp crops are easy to grow, needing moderate amounts of water, and help healing the environment. They sequester around 20 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per hectare on average, and promote soil remediation, absorbing toxins and replenishing the earth. It is an extremely versatile plant with no waste. Hemp fibre is the strongest natural fibre on earth, being used to make from textiles to composites. Cold-pressed hemp seeds make a highly nutritious oil, and the leftover pulp is a superfood, rich in fibre and protein, which can be turned into a nutrient-dense flour to make pasta, bread and cookies.

Hemp seed oil is probably the most known product of hemp in New Zealand, claimed by many as the best carrier oil, with widely known health benefits (Omega 3, 6 and 9), including anti-inflammatory properties (GLA). A versatile culinary oil, it is great in the kitchen. Its nutty flavour, smooth texture and deep green colour have been praised by many chefs. Hemp seed oil is great for dressing salads, baking, marinating, seasoning roasted veggies, plating up or just drizzled on toast with the likes of avocado.

HempFarm NZ Bottled Certified Organic Hemp Seed Oil comes in 250 ml and 500 ml bottles (RRP $21.99 and $38.99 respectively) available at selected specialty food stores or at their online shop https://my.hempfarm.co.nz/

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