A green future for Idaho farmers

Hempire Genesis event aims to inform future hemp farmers of Idaho

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

It never hurts to plan for the future. For Idaho farmers, the cultivation of hemp as an agricultural crop is close to becoming a reality, especially now that Idaho Representative Caroline Nilsson Troy plans to introduce legislation in the near future to legalize hemp in Idaho.

To help educate local farmers and others interested in the cultivation of this useful crop, Sandpoint businessman and hemp advocate Joel Bordeaux with Global CBD is hosting an event called Hempire Genesis at the Hive on Saturday, Feb. 2.

“The objective of this event is to get the farmers in our area to come up and learn,” Bordeaux said. “We believe the farm bill will pass in Idaho, so we want people to start thinking about hemp in the near future.”

The U.S. Congress approved an $867 billion farm bill in December that would allocate billions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers. It would also legalize hemp, among other things.

“Washington, Oregon and Montana all allow the cultivation of hemp,” said Bordeaux. “If we don’t pass this in this legislative session, we’ll continue to fall behind. For every year we wait to legalize the growth of hemp, our farmers will make half the money they could be making.”

Hempire Genesis will feature guest speakers addressing the cultivation of hemp, such as Bordeaux, as well as Alf Wheeler from Zeoform, who has been leading the drive to replace plastic with biodegradable hemp fibers.

“Hemp is a wonderful feed stock, full of cellulose,” said Wheeler. “We take cellulose and water using a patented mechanical process and we can create moldable pulp in 3D shapes.”

Wheeler said hemp fibers could be used to form furniture, walls, instruments, doors, and conceivably anything else, all while being made from plant material.

“You can make heirloom products that could last generations and be passed down, or make items that have a shorter life,” Wheeler said. “The common thing is, at the end of their life, these products can go into the ground and biodegrade leaving absolutely nothing toxic behind. This is a closed-loop cycle following the laws of nature, learning from mother nature.”

Wheeler’s company, Zeoform, is based in Australia, but he has just recently established an LLC for the U.S. and hopes to spread the technology for others to cultivate.

Despite the many beneficial uses of hemp — it can be used for everything from clothing to fuel to a replacement to plastic — Idaho remains one of the last states in the nation which currently outlaws the cultivation of hemp. Idaho currently considers hemp extracts with cannabidiol (CBD) to be a controlled substance unless it is derived from excluded parts of the hemp plant and contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical in cannabis that produces the high.

“This is more than CBD,” said Bordeaux. “It’s about creating jobs and income for our farmers. It’s about looking to hemp to replace plastic, to change the thought process. Instead of Idaho saying we can’t grow hemp because, ‘It’s going to lead kids to start smoking marijuana,’ we need to be thinking of our kids putting tons of plastic in our landfills in the future.”

Bordeaux said Hempire Genesis is open for anyone interested in learning more, but it is mainly catered to farmers who want to have all the information to cultivate hemp.

“We want farmers to know there is a market for this,” he said. “I also want to make Sandpoint a hemp capital. This could be really good for us economically, from a tourist standpoint. There is so much upside to us getting this happening here. Hemp is even more sustainable than timber – it takes 20, 30, 40 years to grow a tree, but you can grow a couple acres of hemp every year.”

Tim Shaughnessy, an Oregon hemp farmer and owner of CO2 Dynamics, will also be speaking at the event, as well as Karen Sprague, a cannabis female entrepreneur and consultant. There will be presentations starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by music by DJ Bon Panda Breaks, drinks and a chance to speak with the presenters. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at HempireGenesis.com.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.