Can hemp help save the environment? With Steve Barron from Margent Farm

Anuj: (00:00)
Okay. Welcome back to the cannabis conversation today. I have Steve Barron on the show. Steve is CEO of Margent farm in Cambridgeshire, which is a hemp farm. And Steve certainly walks the walk because the farmhouse at Margent is made entirely from hemp! Steve has a great backstory starting in entertainment, but is now focusing on hemp production and he's a passionate advocate for its use as an industrial material. He's the ideal person to help us understand what hemp is and how we could use it in the future. Steve, welcome.

Steve: (00:30)
Thank you.

Anuj: (00:30)
So before we jump into your personal journey into the world of hemp, can you just give us a bit of a 101 on hemp, what it is and how it differs from marijuana?

Steve: (00:40)
Yes. The term hemp really refers to the uses of the plant. In particular in history, it's been really called industrial hemp because it uses are for products and for materials it's been used in things like, for rope and construction materials, paper and, and so on. And that is really the hemp side of things. I's a number of strains of the cannabis sativa plant, that provide the materials for that are under the umbrella of industrial hemp. In itself, it is one of the oldest food crops. And one of the oldest fabrics that has been used on this planet by humans. And in terms of how it differs from marijuana, marijuana is generally the cannabis Indica plant, although sativa as well because of crossbreeding, but it's all become a bit of a mishmash. But basically you can measure in the type of strain, you have a very low content of THC with hemp - THC which will get you high. Whereas with hemp, you really dealing with a plant that has maximum 0.2% of that THC high, and know you'd have to smoke the whole field and you'd probably get sick before you got high.

Anuj: (01:58)
So essentially hemp is a low THC content variation of the plant

Steve: (02:02)
Yeah, there's at least a hundred strains of the cannabis plant and many of them just don't have the THC. And then there's hundreds of strains of the marijuana plants because they've all been made and doctored over the years too.

Anuj: (02:19)
That's good to know. And where and, how is hemp farmed? Is it the same sort of conditions as marijuana or is there kind of specialist, attention and different ways of treating it?

Steve: (02:31)
It'll grow in different ways in different parts of the world and certain strains will fare better in warmer climates, Mediterranean climate or whatever, and others, others will fare very well in northern European climates. Perhaps you'll get three and a half metres of a, of a certain type of industrial hemp plant growing in Thailand because of the amount of sunshine hours and things in it. And that same strain might also work for northern Europer, but it, it would only maybe give you two and a half metres of growth.

Anuj: (03:03)
Great. Following on from that, in a way that, as you said at at the top, hemp is mainly used as a material but in a number of different ways. Are there different varieties of hemp that are bred for rope versus fabric versus other types of material?

Steve: (03:18)
It's really spent the last 80 years as an ostracized plant because of it's marijuana cousin. So it's been kind of not studied and really in a way that other plants have. But definitely there are strains of have a better tensile strength which - so straight away you can get this stronger tensile strength, longer fibre that will suit much better for rope, will suit much better for any fibre composites. It's all being studied at the moment. We are working with Cambridge University on a number of different projects at the moment. And that part of that is really the going down to the molecular level and seeing what it's all about as a plant. So we don't know. We don't know so much about it, but we do know that yes, the right variety will give you great rope, will give you an alternative to plastics. A certain strain will have a real high content of cellulose, which is the building block for plastic. And then others will have more CBD content for the cannabidiol and it's uses, which are fantastic in terms of the food supplement.

Anuj: (04:26)
Yeah. But we've talked on a previous show about CBD and its potential, but equally it's sort of unknown 'cure all' sales and marketing spiel that's been bandied around. So we are starting to kind of understand a bit more about it. There's a few things that you said which were really interesting. One of them is that hemp, similar to marijuana has been understudied because of the prohibition of the intoxicating variety. And so that's really interesting to see that hemp has similarly been held back in, in the same way. What's going on with the Cambridge study that you mentioned?

Steve: (04:58)
We got together with Dr Darshil Shah, the head of natural materials innovation at Cambridge University under the architecture wing at Cambridge, which is looking into different, different materials for building. And so we got together and we started developing initially actually a camera case, which is on our Instagram thing at the moment. And is, is an alternative with a similar strength to fibreglass for... it's an alternative for products, electrical products or things like hoovers or whatever that don't need the strength of carbon fibre and don't want to be one of those horrible plastics that are contaminating our seas and universe. So that is the aim with the, with, with what we're doing. We're also got another few projects with them I can't talk about yet, but we will be, uh, we will be getting onto that very exciting, real study of this plant and what it can do.

Steve: (06:01)
And we're working with, uh, somebody who's worked with natural material, Tim Swetton for a number of years in the Cambridge area, producing product for a Mayfair sustainability centre at the moment. And also for our house that we're building. We've used the inside of the hemp plant for, uh, the insulation value and of Hempcrete, which was invented 25, 30 years ago, we believe in France by a woman who'd use it for her building. It's a great, not fully structural version of concrete, like a breeze block that comes together as hempcrete and we've used it in our farmhouse for insulation. And the structural part of it comes by putting it into, prefabricating into wooden sustainable cassettes. So it's poured into that, it solidifies with addition of a little lime and it crystallizes and becomes this super insulating building. So what we've done is, and that's been done before, but we happen to have grown our own,

Anuj: (07:01)
And sorry it's called hempcrete?

Steve: (07:03)
Hempcrete is it's name. And a lot of people have used it. I mean even on Grand Designs, they built some things on it. In this country, far less than say France, which is way ahead of us and even parts of buildings around the Black Sea that are made of hempcrete. You have this amazing value in that. So our farm house is built out of that. And then we decided that we wanted to go one step further and actually clad the farmhouse in the fibres from the outside of the plant. So we, we took those and use some technology that's been developed in the car manufacturing world to to put those fibres together with a bio-resin from farm waste, which is, consists of oathulls and a begass - a form of farm sugar. And the whole thing is then compressed in a, in our case in a tool that is a corrugated shape.

Steve: (07:55)
So we've ended up with a corrugated farmhouse look, it looks like a semi-industrial but definitely a farm type building, which is basically a recreation of the plant on a big scale because it has all the inside of the plant is the insulation and the outside is the cladding of the house. So it's kind of think is a little bit... Originally we were given by grand designs, the accolade, uh, Kevin's Green Heroes by Kevin McCloud for this year. So in May they're um, they're launching their Grand Designs live and we've been showcased there with this new product, which we hope to get out there and get people to, to use as an alternative for plastic, obviously for, for bitumen, which is a very commonly used on roofs and Garages and aluminium or for any kind of steel corrugation that we could get something with the strength for the cladding.

Anuj: (08:44)
That's really. Firstly, Congratulations on the accolade. So, just to sort of recap, I suppose so it adds to the strength of the material in terms of the fundamental strength of, of the building material. Has it also got, um, kind of environmental benefits in relation to CO2 and things like that?

Steve: (09:01)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the figures, uh, for, for sequestering CO2 are really fantastic where because it grows so fast, it has a hundred days of growing. So you plant it and you know, with little or no water, unless you're in a really hot climate, you are then growing for a hundred days. This thing will grow for a hundred days and give you two and a half, three, three and a half metres with depending on your strain. And in that time what it's doing is it's, you know, one hectare of industrial hemp would absorb approximately 15 tons of CO2, uh, making it one of the fastest Co2 to biomass conversion tools in existence.

Steve: (09:40)
So CO2 per Hector hemp will absorb more annually, than any other commercial crop or commercial forestry.

Anuj: (09:48)
Wow.

Steve: (09:48)
So I mean that is an enormous advantage upfront. In fact, that's what made me want to get the hemp farm because I was looking, really searching for something to help give back to what my generation environmentally have done to get some of it back for my granddaughter. And that was, that was my motivation to come into this. And uh, uh, and I went looking around and uh, this friend of mine sort of brought up hemp as a possibility. In particular with human health. Then researching it and learning more about it and getting together with Joe McGann at hempen in Oxfordshire who was already growing and learning from him a lot. And research about how much this plant can give apart. You know, from the very moment of growing made me think, right, well I don't know quite what I'm going to do, but I'm going to get a farm and I'm going to start growing because straight away I'm doing it rather than talking about it, helping get those steps back towards, uh, where we all need to go to have a planet that we haven't mucked up.

Anuj: (10:55)
So there's a real sustainability kind of drive and yeah. To, to your hemp kind of mission with. Yes. This is great. A lot of interesting things there. Um, I heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, that after the Chernobyl disaster in the 80s that they planted hemp around that sites because it's very good at?

Steve: (11:14)
I heard that as well. I didn't verify it. I don't, I didn't meet any Russians that said, yeah, we did. Yeah. But it sounds like, I mean, the tap roots on the plant go down way down so that you would think I can see it's going to absorb all kinds of stuff. So nitrogen and possibly all of all the bad stuff. So that would make sense.

Anuj: (11:40)
I guess the main thing that I think would probably interest a lot of people given it's kind of high profile as a topic at the moment, is around plastic and finding alternatives. Can you talk a bit more about that area of hemp in the research and the work that you're doing in the area?

Steve: (11:56)
Yes. It turned out, and I didn't realize this, but I looking into it, I found that the EU in particular, the European car and auto trade industry were using quite a lot of natural fibres because they found them to be lighter, cheaper and um, and therefore save gas and, and go towards what the legislation was saying. You cannot just keep producing this stuff that gets thrown in the trash. So it wasn't even that environmental, constraint for them. It was more they would save money out of doing it this way, but a, the Mercedes C class and all kinds of auto companies actually made hemp and flax inlays into the doors, into the panels, into the trunks of cars. And that has been going on for 15 years.

Anuj: (12:45)
Wow.

Steve: (12:46)
Now who knew that? I didn't know that. And they didn't want to advertise it, possibly because they felt it was a, you know, obviously its as cheap as wood. Its a cheaper Material, but it was more that you know, your customer, you can't tell the customer your car is actually made a straw and you can't tell your customer that its cousin will get your high. Those two things. So you can see how, uh, you know, and hemp was really ostracized. So it wasn't something that they were ever going to shout about. But it was, it was basically, it had been developed in Europe. So I thought, well, but it's been hidden and nobody's used it, and shouted about it and gone about it that way. So I thought, let's get the message out there and this is why we came up with this corrugated product straight away because we thought if we can show that we can use it for clarity and say that is is hemp, instead of saying, you know, hiding the fact that it's natural.

Steve: (13:33)
And we were saying it is. So that's our, that's kind of our job as a farm and the brand that we've set up - Margent farm - which is to really shout about how good this plant is for us and how we need to Lord it and we need to grow it and we need to keep studying it now and put it back into, uh, our human society, which it used to be in 8,000 years ago. There's still finding in India temples that are made of Hemp that have what is now called hempcrete but you know, have those breeze block forms of yeah. And in temples they built and are still standing now.

Anuj: (14:11)
Fantastic. It's good that you're promoting this now more loudly. Have you found that the general perception of it is changing?

Steve: (14:19)
Yes. I mean since we started, as I say, bought the farm just over two years ago and started growing in that first season since then and at a time, everyone, the perception was, I mean, truly where my kids were saying, I thought I was having a midlife crisis, my friends all thought i was turning into a drug lord.

Steve: (14:37)
Um, and so there was that whole perception that you'd always get that little smirk, that smile, even from people who smoke weed.

Anuj: (14:46)
Me doing this podcast is my midlife crisis.

Steve: (14:48)
Exactly, yeah, the perception has definitely changed in those couple of years. What's happened is the CBD knowledge, about CBD has grown amazingly and far and wide. So suddenly it's like people saying, okay that plant's got other things and, and it's got other enzymes that could be really useful. Uh, then it's, you know, alongside that, those companies like Planet Organic and all the health food shops getting some hemp seeds that give you tremendous amount of Omega 3,6,9 and, and protein. That has all been happening as people were getting a bit more health savvy even in the last few years. And then alongside that, along comes David Attenborough and he does that program about plastics, and that has changed the world.

Steve: (15:37)
I mean that program alone, I mean he deserves everything we can give him because nothing could have changed it that fast except an emotional impact, widely watched impact from a, an amazing piece of cinematography. And, and the thought process that we're putting back to everyone without blaming and shaming, but like just saying this is beautiful. Do we want it to be with us? Do you want it to be with your kids? Because it's not going to be if you carry on living the way we live and we have to change. So that realization on a much bigger scale, it was obviously there, it's been there for many years and many decades. It was many advocates of it and um, soldiers of change and the environmental issues. But you know, now it's really widespread. It's the kids coming out of their classrooms at age five, six, seven knowing that plastics are bad.

Steve: (16:33)
I mean that is amazing. And it's been, once it's gone into the education system, you know, that is a tremendous step forward. So I'd say in the last couple of years it's moved amazingly, the perception has changed. So now I talk about hemp and people are like, cool, I hear it's great for bio, I hear it's great for CBD I hear it's this or it's that. And, and that is very exciting that it can happen that quickly. And, uh, so it's kind of changing what we need to do and we need and how we need to say things because it's moving.

Anuj: (17:03)
That's a good message. And glad to hear that Attenborough was a real catalyst for this. I mean he's so revered that and it's such a well made program that I'm not surprised. I mean my six year old is lecturing me on use of plastic. So it is great to, uh, it's great. Great to hear that. One of the things I probably should have asked you about it, so it, so it's clear that the Margent farm is kind of the developing hemp from a material perspective, but is the plant able to be used for CBD as well or is it one or the other that generally happens in the process?

Steve: (17:33)
Uh, unfortunately we've got a real problem with CBD in, in the world generally at the moment, which is, uh, uh, nobody quite knows from the government level what, why it's so good and why people are finding it so useful in the, in their lives. And so they're were a bit worried about it and they're also a bit wanting to get involved in it. So right now as a farmer, and there are obviously a lot of farmers in this country and farming is a really difficult occupation that, you know, it's weather dependent and market dependent and you have to make all these decisions and you know, you can come under heavy bombardment from, from insects to environment to, to whatever.

Steve: (18:19)
You know, what we've really discovered with, or what I've just discovered with farming, is that farmers are treated so badly. I mean it just makes no sense. This law exists. You have to get a licence to grow hemp. So I go, I went ahead and applied for that licence and got that licence and it's a three year licence and it costs 500 pounds and it says you can grow industrial hemp. You must, you know, be careful that people don't think it's the wrong level of THC and you must keep it below 0.2% THC and then you can grow it and then you can, uh, get the seeds off it and use that for oil. Or you can get the seeds off it and then go to a protein or any, any other food. Um, and you can use the fibres and you can take the fibres off and do what you want to do with your, uh, making of mattresses or whatever you're going to do with it.

Steve: (19:11)
Construction materials. But you must take the flower, chop it off and destroy it and not process it, keep it, use it in any way and not extract CBD from it and not extract anything from it, which is absolutely crazy.

Anuj: (19:29)
It's a huge amount of waste then. Quite apart from the madness of it

Steve: (19:33)
It is a waste because we can import it. I mean I can buy it in this country, but I can't, I'm not allowed to extract it unless I get into a Pharma licence, a pharmaceutical licence, I mean Ph pharma that then you, you have a licence to, to take THC, you have the licence to take the CBD. Which can be a completely different plant. So you know, the holy grail for farmers undoubtedly for the value of a crop and a way to get this crop grown and to, you know, really have it spread across the country, which it needs to do for all the reasons we've said.

Steve: (20:10)
The way to do that is to have it as a cash crop. Have a value. There isn't enough value in the fibre. There isn't enough value in the shive. There's value for people using them. But for the farmer you, you'd have to farm on quite a big scale. So it's like 10,000 acres in this country. There's 4 million acres of wheat being farmed in this country. 10,000 of hemp because financially you can't get the balance of that. If you had the CBD, it would be worth far more than wheat. It would be hundreds of thousands of acres would be grown in this country, which would be doing, giving our CO2 a good battering and it would make total sense for, for farmers financially and in every way. And it's not allowed. So anyway we're with everybody else, alongside the, British Hemp Association and everything, uh, we're all lobbying the government and saying it's not fair. That is not fair on farmers. Everyone's complying with 0.2% of THC. We're not talking about growing marijuana. You have taken away the food essential from a crop and we have to destroy it. That's just bad.

Anuj: (21:18)
Very frustrating. Very frustrating. And not providing the right incentives to, to produce a crop, that'd be very useful and beneficial for the environment. Yeah, that's really good to, to hear that point of view because I'm sure I didn't know that stuff. So I'm assuming that'll be useful. So are there any kind of crazy uses of hemp that you've , as a material that you've kind of come across, because I mean maybe hempcrete sounds a bit crazy to alot of people, but as you say, it's been used for a long time and, and possibly from many hundreds of thousand years ago. Are there any kind of new modern uses that people are looking at?

Steve: (21:51)
Well, I think that's more the development of the plastics. That's more we're doing with Cambridge and the factory in Huntingdon, that is what we're finding out really how far to go with the fibre. We've given some of the, uh, hemp mat that we grew to, for instance, to Ben Ainsley's team for the America's Yacht because they feel that the potential for inside the hull of the carbon fibre hull, it could, it could reduce the amount of carbon fibre they use, which they'd love to reduce. It actually sucks the, a resin through the system. It draws the resin. So, which is very useful for them. That's one thing we've done. We've done seat a hemp seat for a go kart company that works really well. And uh, we're looking at all kinds of things. We've been approached by quite a lot of interesting designers that as full collaborations for different products, surfboard fins, you know what, there, there is endless possibilities. It's actually there's way more than we could sit here and list.

Anuj: (22:53)
I'm sure. So you've laid out the benefits. Uh, so, well. What do you, what do you see as the real challenges and hurdles? One of them you mentioned is the kind of just the simple economics of incentivizing people to, to grow the crop. But what are the other kinds of hurdles to wide scale adoption?

Steve: (23:10)
The hurdles in this country are the technology and, and the uh, yeah, the industrialization of it, and in France for instance, they can produce those mats, those non-woven mats at a, at a really great rate for the car or auto world. And we've got nothing like that in the UK. We've got no company that really can get to that sort of level of production. We've got a number of mills up in Yorkshire, some really great people who own mills have certain could come with the help of the government towards that. They have parts of that process but not all of it so that there is getting together and saying, and committing to it, because if we have the technology we can obviously make it all cheaper. I mean one of the barriers for it to replacing plastic is that we are addicted as a society. We're addicted to cheap plastic. We've, we've come up with this thing which is amazing, which is terrible for our environment in its process and its in its end of life.

Steve: (24:06)
Both ends of it are terrible in the middle is great, we love it. It's cheap. You go to a, you buy it for 99p in the pound store. We've got to get off of that addiction and that is a, that's the one of the biggest barriers we've got where we have to live life differently. We have to treasure what we buy more and buy good stuff for the right reasons that is being made and can be disposed of in the right way. And we've got to pay a little bit more for it. But if we care for it a bit more, we'll do it like the plastic bags we're paying for plastic bags because we think, okay, well I understand why I'm doing that and I shouldn't be doing this, so I'm paying for it. We have to get that now across the globe so that it's a slightly different way of living. We're all going to be doing it. So you know, because we're so used to the consumer with a cheap deal and we have to get off that. If we don't get off that we'll never replace plastic, but, and the, and what's what stands in his way as there's, the price of it is going to be more expensive. It's, you know, it's not as easy a process. It's a natural process. So we can definitely replace it if we all choose to.

Anuj: (25:13)
So kind of economies of scale issue in terms of cost, but equally a kind of change in the approach and mindset and how we value goods and things that make our life easier. I certainly with young kids, I'm often telling my kids so that they need to look after their stuff a bit better, but that applies to adults as well is as kids as well. Um, so that, yeah, it's really good to, to understand the sort of barriers that are holding it back. But it, it sounds that you are having lots of interesting conversations and if you know, very esteemed organisations such as Cambridge University and I'm sure lots of other people are taking it very seriously, this, this all bodes well for the future. I would say.

Steve: (25:52)
Yeah, it definitely does. I think everybody or everybody that we're coming across as is is on the right track there. How can we, how can it work? How can we make it work? We don't have all the answers and there's going to be a number of years of transition. Lego have just recently, they've scrapped a factory, a plastic factory, and spent $150 million on building a factory that now makes their bricks out of natural.

Anuj: (26:19)
Wow.

Steve: (26:20)
Natural materials out of plants. So, you know, when you get big companies to do it, they, you got to get the ones that you care enough to afford it because it is a hit they're going to take. But there are obviously a hugely wealthy company and they've gone for it and you know, that's great to hear.

Anuj: (26:38)
And Yeah, as you say, kind of sets an example to, to everyone else, it makes you more open to the idea. So yeah. Good on Lego for doing that. Cool. So one of the things I've been sort of focusing on and on the show is, is people's story into cannabis in general, but in your case, hemp in particular, you've got very interesting backstory. So would you mind sharing a bit about it and how, I know you still do some of your, entertainment work, but what kind of prompted you really to look at this new... Very big trick question. Sorry.

Steve: (27:11)
Well, yeah, I'm from the film and TV world. I've done quite a few as a director films over the years and television things and I...

Anuj: (27:21)
And can I just say directed the Billie Jean Video? Sorry, I had to get that in there!

Steve: (27:27)
Yeah, I just spent the acs doing music videos, which was amazing. And then I got asked to do featured films. I ended up doing some mad films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, and Coneheads and, and some odd ones. And then TV like Merlin and the Durrells and things over the, of the quite a period of time. And what I felt was, cause I think it, you know, as each decade comes along, You get to your 30s, you get to your 40s you get to your 50s. When I got to 60 which was a few years ago, I said I, what am I doing in the next 10 years? What am I, what does this all mean?

Steve: (28:04)
You know, now I'm, am I going to repeat the last 10 years and the 10 years before, which I've enjoyed. But yeah, I do. I felt like I wanted to move across on a different road and in particular my daughter had a daughter and I looked at this granddaughter and I thought, Wow, I'm, it was just kind of messed with my head and I thought I sort it from a different point of view. What's the world that she's going to be living in and what have I done towards it? And I thought, well, what I've done is nothing towards the stuff that our generation has obviously deteriorated this planet, and I thought I couldn't spend the next 10 years not trying to reverse some of that. And so that was, that was really motivation for...

Anuj: (28:50)
Brilliant, very inspiring actually. Did you find it challenging to begin with? It's quite hard at any stage to sort of change track.

Steve: (28:56)
Yeah, very challenging. The thing about farming, I knew nothing about manufacturing. What I knew was that from my world in film, I used to in when I did well in films and videos and things, when I had success, I'd often taken a risk, I'd often done something that I didn't know about. I'd often entered the unknown and the, sometimes they were the biggest successes I had. Where I went, where, you know, I went kind of into a unique spot. So I thought if I apply that to this and go for farming, I'd find people, because again, in filmmaking, you build a team around you and you go for people that are obviously better than you at what they do because then you're, you're going to learn from them. And this, the end product's going to be better. So I, I've just built a team really around me and the project managers is Mike Radford and Katherine Brown, Mike has his own organic farm.

Steve: (29:57)
So all around me farmers were saying, you, you can't get organic because it's a waste of money. It's just too expensive to be organic. You crop will be tiny and it will be destroyed. And, and, and, and Mike stood throughout it and said, no, we're going to convert to organic. So this year, our third year, we are organic. We're an organic farm. I mean, and I love that. He also told me and taught me and said, look, if you put a margin around your farm, uh, of say six metres, then wildlife that doesn't want to live in the hedge and it doesn't want to be in the crop or the or this soil that has been farmed. Yeah. But it has got nowhere to go. So she, all these fields were nowhere for it to, to exist. And so we put margins around, all our farms are, that's why we called Margent farm, because it's the Shakespeare word for margin.

Steve: (30:45)
So you know, those, those sort of bits of inspiration on the way. I very quickly went to Cambridge University because they were only just up the road in Cambridgeshire. So I just thought, even though I didn't know anybody, but a friend of a friend knew somebody in sustainability there. I didnt even know there was a sustainability leadership program where we went there and were greeted with open arms about the study of it. And so it's been really, even though I've known nothing about it, the people that have jumped in around have, you know, more than made up for my ignorance.

Anuj: (31:17)
Its fantastic. Really inspiring. I think with a career change it is a step into the unknown. Its good to understand that how important the people around you are sort of helping you with that. So I think you alluded to it a bit before we sort of coming towards the end. Did you, did you get any funny reactions from any people? I think you said, When you said, I'm moving into hemp.

Steve: (31:37)
Yeah, that was it. That was the first year. Immediate friends you say, look, I'm going to buy his farming, I'm going to get a licence and I'm going to be growing hemp. And then, you know, I was literally got, it's licenced by being checked out by the police and it being a, being something that, uh, you know, have I ever been busted for drugs before because I won't get a licence. Anyway. They were amazed because they, you know, they, they thought I'd become, yeah, they thought I was entering into a new field and bit becoming 'Narcos'. They thought it came to mind and a, yeah, we, you know, it had some mad stuff on the way. Uh, in fact, uh, I live in a flat in Barbican uh, with the farm where the house is still not quite finished although it's livable now.

Steve: (32:24)
I more often in the Barbican doing my day job as it were and when we first order the seeds, we ordered a ton of the hemp seeds where once we got the licence. And they accidentally got delivered to my flat in the Barbican. So my neighbours were like, uh, Hemp by this, by the tonne comes into my flat. He was supposed to go to the farm. But anyway...

(32:47)
That's great. Yeah, I mean certainly the genesis of this show is to pick up on the fact that it's much more in the public consciousness and as you say, things are moving fairly quickly because things are happening in different paces all around the world, which is sort of moving everyone on in general. So it's really good. I guess finally, do you have any advice for anyone that's interested in finding out more about this and...?

Steve: (33:09)
Well, I mean I suppose the advice is about hemp. It has so many possibilities. I think just just try and be creative with it. Um, be prepared that there's a really, there's a lot of elements to it. If you're going to grow it, it's a crop that you just need the right agronomist and the right people advising you know how to get the best out of it. Farming is very tough. It's not fair on farmers. My advice is if the law changes then that's the time to uh, to jump in financially into which obviously we're all hoping it does in terms of it being a crop that you can get CBD off. Because as I think I said, but you know the real holy grail is a, is a crop that can give you that CBD that can give you the fibre and give you the shive for construction and the leaves for tea and you're using the whole plant and you're really able to take that whole plant and get the best out of it.

Steve: (34:11)
And financially that is the way you know, the way forward,

Anuj: (34:14)
Sorry, just to to ask, what is the shive?

Steve: (34:17)
The centre of the plant, which is the woody core. So the fibres are on the outside and the woody core is on the inside which is where a lot of the cellulose is and that's... You separate the two you you end up with because the fibres can be used for clothing and for woven mat or non-woven mats. And then inside is, this usually goes to farm waste. I actually, use it for horse bedding or um, you know, animals comfy spots, as they were or, or it goes to, gets checked back onto the land for nutrition. But it, um, it often is, is wasted. But when using it for hempcrete, they're building a house in Scotland, a house in Devon. Hempcrete houses are going up as we speak. So that is great. Often they're buying that shive, that centre the plant from France.

Anuj: (35:10)
Right.

Steve: (35:10)
Which is a bit crazy. And we should be getting it from the UK. Other advice. I'd go to the BHA website, which is the British Hemp Association. They, they just, uh, you know, they talk a lot of sense and we're as a group of farmers, we're trying to, uh, get legislation changed and anyone who can help support that would be amazing.

Anuj: (35:34)
Cool. Great Advice. I hope it's inspired people to find out more. And I think the sustainability and the ecological angle is, is so compelling that no doubt will hear much more about hemp in the kind of public consciousness to come. Cool. Well. Thank you very much, Steve, for your time today. It's been really, really good to chat and I'm sure everyone got a lot from that show. Great.

Steve: (35:58)
Thank you so much and thanks for caring and being interested and your time.

Anuj: (36:02)
Pleasure. Okay, thanks, Steve.