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Hemp Paper is Healthier for Us and the Environment

Did you know that we harvest more than one billion trees every year in the United States to make paper?  In fact, each person uses an average of 735 pounds of paper per year.  This number will rise by more than 60% by 2050!  Americans use 32% of the world’s paper, and we cut the trees down faster than we grow new ones to replace them.

Not only do we destroy our beautiful forests to make paper but the paper industry is a huge polluter that releases 120 billion tons of carbon dioxide and 3 million tons of chlorine into our waterways.  These poisons are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver failure, and other horrible diseases.

Hemp was a huge industry before it was outlawed in 1930.  The reason it was blackballed was that two rich guys Dupont (chemicals) and Hearst (paper & wood products) didn’t like the fact that hemp was becoming too popular, and they feared it would destroy their wood and paper business.  Hemp was cheaper and more environmentally friendly to grown and it was used to produce clothing and rope.   New technology was also designed to use hemp to make paper.  These two millionaires were not about to let hemp replace their highly profitable chemical and paper businesses.  They started a marketing campaign and destroyed the reputation of hemp and made sure it was outlawed to save their businesses.

Now almost 100 years later, hemp is re-emerging as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to trees for making paper.  The once demonized plant is now a superstar once again.  Hemp paper does not need poisonous chemicals in processing.  It can be bleached with hydrogen peroxide which does not pollute the waterways.  Hemp paper can last hundreds of years and it does not rot or turn yellow.  Hemp can also be recycled up to eight times.  Another cool thing is that one acre of hemp equals four acres of trees so it takes up much less room!

Hemp which was once illegal is now legal in all 50 states!  It can again be used to make paper and so many other products:

Biofuel

Plastics

Textiles

Food

Clothing

Insulation

Cosmetics

Hemp still has a way to go to replace our forests from being clear cut because the wood and chemical industries will continue to fight to keep their profits.  However, with the current interest in the environment, hemp is much safer and provides a better solution to make our air and waterways healthier!  Hemp has a great future!

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Effect of Climate Change on Fruits and Vegetables

Climate change can have serious consequences on fruit and vegetables.  As temperatures rise and extreme weather conditions such as damaging rainfalls become more frequent, there are more “false springs.”  In the past 5 years, we have had 2 record highs and 2 false springs with damaging late freezes.  We have also had record high temperatures in February 2017.

 

fruit climate
Global cooling effects fruit

When temperatures get hotter, fruit and vegetable yields can be reduced due to lower photosynthesis and reduced pollination.  Heat also causes more internal defects and increased tissue damage to the fruit and vegetables.

Growers are challenged to find ways to adapt to the increasing temperatures.  Managing mulch to reduce soil temperatures is one method to reduce the stress on many crops.  The use of reflective materials or radiation blocks is also a way to reduce sunburn on fruits and vegetables. The use of wax reflective materials is also a way to help fruits such as apples keep their color.

The use of shade netting is also an effective technique to keep plants cooler during the hottest periods of the day.  It has proven to be very effective for both tomatoes and peppers.

Another strategy is to use water-based cooling which can reduce the effect of heat on crops.  Low water volume sprinklers have been proven to be successful during the hottest times of the day for plant cooling.

Growers are now altering the planting dates.  Planting earlier in the spring or later in the summer allows growers to avoid the hottest times of the season and improve crop production.

The strategy that is most promising is to breed new, stronger, more heat resistant fruits and vegetables.   This is a long term strategy and will require years of testing and experimentation.

Climate change can have a negative effect on both the quality and quantity of the fruit and vegetable crops.  Lower production also leads to higher costs to the consumer.  This is why it is so important to prepare now with longterm strategies to ensure our farmers can continue to have healthy and plentiful harvests in the future no matter what the temperature is.

Fruits and vegetables are essential to everyone’s diet.  Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is an effective tool to protect against some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.  Fruit at work is an awesome way to keep employees healthier, more motivated and it helps them maintain a healthier weight.  Eat fruit and vegetables every day!