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Couple on a mission to grow hemp in Latvia

Latvia has a long history of growing hemp: for ropes during the days of sailing ships and a thousand other uses including delicious local hemp butter. For the last few decades, growing hemp has suffered, in the west at least, from associations with hippies, bongs and Camberwell carrots, but a young couple in eastern Latvia are countering the cliches of the counterculture by growing hemp the traditional way on their farm, reports Latvian Radio.

Latvian Andris and Portuguese Deborah live near Vilani in the eastern Latgale region of Latvia and for three years already have been producing hemp oil and exploring the other uses to which hemp can be put at a small research and educational facility.

"Hemp can be eaten but also used for making clothes, household insulation and making paper. It is extremely interesting," says Andris. "This will be the third summer [we have grown it] and everything is coming together," he adds.

Visitors to the farm can see the whole cycle of hemp's growing and processing from sowing seeds to making ropes, paper, and fire-resistant hemp building blocks. And, of course, tasting hemp tea, oil and butter.

"Our farm aims to break stereotypes regarding cannabis sativa as an agricultural crop while introducing visitors to the numerous benefits and uses of the hemp plant," says the farm's website. 

Having moved to the region knowing very little about hemp, they gained some information from the internet but quickly realized they needed advice from locals who have long been steeped in hemp-growing culture.

You can read more about their farm HERE.

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