Tuesday, August 15, 2006
FIELDS OF EMERALD
To the right we can see what James Lane Allen saw when he wrote about hemp in Kentucky in 1900. His book has become a classic, reprinted many times in the US, and was printed in the UK as well. In it he describes the fields of hemp as 'living emerald'. He notes the fondness that birds had for it, including the now extinct Passenger Pigeon.
This picture might have graced the pages of his book, or any other book on Kentucky hemp, but ironically, hemp is illegal in Kentucky. This was taken in Essex, England, in early August 2006. Thousands of acres of hemp now grow in England, where it has been known to grow since at least 323 BC, when a British princess, Cambri Formosa, taught women to make textiles with it.
Today Emily Stott and Sue Riddlestone of BioRegional are hoping to continue in her footsteps. The stalk in the picture has since been harvested and processed for its fibre, which will be studied at Leeds and Cranfield Universities.