Sunday, May 18, 2008



THIRST AT THE BREWERY

Today the Hemp for Victory tour headed for Brick Lane in East London, where Fashion Made Fair was in its last day. The Black Eagle Brewery was the location, just a stone's throw, incidentally, from Fashion Street. New faces, familiar faces, overall it was a good networking day. Green Knickers was the first stop - like many hemp based manufacturers, it is based in London - St. Julians Farm Road in SE27. Next to their stand was Goodone which uses recycled clothing, including offcuts from The Hemp Trading Co., whose CEO Gav Lawson was on hand. Jenny Ambrose from Enamore was having another successful day, sharing a booth with Equa, which is a shop in London that sells hemp and other natural fibre clothing.

Katherine Hamnett came at noon, dressed in black, to sell her white T shirts which contain not a shred of hemp, made as they are of cotton. After the appearance of the dark clad one I went on stage with my hemp material and a pitcher of water, from which I poured a glass, and then emptied it onto the floor. This, I noted, is what happens when we buy cotton. Then, after some words on the cultivation of hemp, peeling fibres from the stalks I had in hand from the BioRegional Harvest in Essex, the talk went on, with the jar of water intermittently emptied, to illustrate what goes on when we buy cotton. We are destroying the world with frivolous do-gooder ideas, but it feels good, and it makes the journalists go wild. Oh how they love to promote our cotton loving charade - and how some go so far as to degrade hemp because they are stupid.

This is all rather blunt, whether written on a blog or spoken to an audience. It would be easily defused, however, if it were not correct. Not one person could rebut these facts then, not one person has posted a comment in rebuttal on this blog over the years, and not one journalist has penned a riposte. The hacks do mutter under a bit their breath, and one audience member told us stories of their own abuse at the hands of journalists who did not want to hear so far as to criticism. Louisa Pearson of the Scotland on Sunday earlier this year wrote that hemp was the fibre to use, not cotton, and this did not sit well with some of her colleagues, including those at the liberal press which sells out to cotton and SUVs.

By the end of my talk the jar was empty, and I was thirsty; but the water was gone. And this is what has happened in lands where cotton has been grown, but, let's face it, the press gang do not suffer as a result. They can promote the Katherine Hamnett cotton picking crew and make an easy pay cheque. But not for long, as the water is finite, and lack of it is leading to war. Already the Aral Sea is down to less than 50% of its capacity due to cotton cultivation, and other waterways are similarly under threat. But does this matter to Katherine Hamnett? She is cool in the eyes of many - but let them go and live in Central Asia and it won't be long before they are tired of T shirt signings and other stunts designed to promote this pest crop.

Another aspect of cotton cultivation is that textiles made from it wear out sooner than hemp - but this keeps the likes of Sir Phillip Green and Hamnett in business. It also keeps up pressure to use arable land, which comprises but 4-5% of the earth's surface, for threads - mostly consumed by Westerners who do not realise what a farce this is. They do not face the reality of food scarcity, they are not involved in food riots which have gripped other nations so badly these last few months. They do not think for a second about minimising the land used for textile production, as long as they can feel cool and look sexy they think everything is OK. And to add to the irony of this, we label cotton 'organic' and then charge more for what took more water from the farmers. What would Katherine Hamnett say to these facts? Maybe she can quote Marie Antoinette; "let them eat cake."

That is the attitude in the journalistic circles in the West. Food riots are not their problem, and as many journalists have told me, not without annoyance at my persistent warnings on these issues, their job is only to report the events. Like vultures, they profit at others' loss.

Much to the credit of my listeners, my points were heard, and I had a good talk with them afterwards. If there were any journalists in the crowd, maybe I will be pilloried in the press tomorrow - but who cares, I was stabbed by crack dealers and paedophiles in NY when I spoke up, and threatened by pickpockets when I stopped their work. They are no worse than the idiot churnalists who support the likes of Hamnett - in fact, they do more harm than crack dealers since crack does not deplete the water supplies, it does not take diminish our food supply. Not that I want them around either.

One interesting contact was Uscha Pohl, editor of VERY and very-eco.com. We have both lived in NYC, and she updated me on the latest in recycling in the Big Apple: there is no recycling, Mayor Bloomberg just decided to hell with that; as a major player in the press, he is also not in support of hemp. Not surprising that lots of cotton is worn in his city, and that people who have money fill entire apartments with clothes, thus putting a burden on the land, which means that some people will have to starve to death in order to make way for land apportioned to cotton production.

What does the future hold? Do the men take the lead and oust the pests so that we use our land intelligently to produce for our needs, or do idiots hacks and greedy clothing manufacturers gang up with the drug dealers, paedophiles and pickpockets whom I so despised? We cannot be silent and also be real men. The world is under threat from cotton - which is by far the world's most cultivated textile crop - 1m acres alone in California - and this threat needs be addressed. I will be calling on journalists to act - with a view to naming and shaming all those who do not - and this includes the do-gooder but know-nothing hacks who promote whatever has the most money for PR.

4 comments:

Janet said...

Kenyon, I work in the hemp industry and I’m in agreement with a lot of what you have to say; but this rage against organic cotton is misplaced. Prior to my current role I've worked with organic cotton and have been involved with pesticide action network and People Tree (www.panna.org/node/584 www.peopletree.co.uk)
Even if all the cotton growers of the world changed to hemp the production and purchase infrastructure will take decades to develop to support them. We have to accept that organic cotton is the least worst option and that it already has a market. Every trader and journalist that attended the Fashion Made Fair event genuinely believes that they are making a positive contribution. Your inference that this weekend's event was a western liberal fashionista conspiracy smacks of paranoia and misogyny. A CV including pickpockets and smack heads doesn't make you any more worthy than anyone else, this "hard done by" shtick is tiresome and vain. We may all have a different path but we're all trying to reach the same destination. I desperately want my hemp business to flourish and profit and we've had great support from the liberal media. You offering out the journalists isn't going to help the cause.
How about a bit less bloody mindedness and a bit more open mindedness?

Sagar said...

Hey Janet. I read your comment with regards to the talk given by Kenyon at the fair. I do feel that you have made some misplaced and incorrect accusations against him.
There is processing already set in place for this fibre, otherwise there would not be such a burgeoning industry.
I reckon you should lookup the word, misogyny, in the dictionary. He said nothing whatsoever in his talk or on his blog against women. In fact, it is quite clear that he supports women, especially in the hemp business in which his sister Mina Haggard has been recipient of his generousity. If you bothered to read the blog, you would have found numerous posts supporting women; from Cynthia McKinney (whom he hosted here in London) to (Vandana Shiva).
As to his statements, he is known for his accuracy. He is in fact an editor of the peer reviewed Journal of Industrial Hemp.
Last point Janet; if you were there at all, why did you not come and say these things to his face? It seems that you are more prone to stabbing him in the back, and one wonders just where you are coming from, since you didn't tell us the name of the company you are working for right now.
You say that you worked for a hemp company, yet you have left a link to a purely cotton company.

Mina said...

mi·sog·y·ny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

This is not a mudslinging contest. Kenyon is merely stating facts about cotton. With so many corporations greenwashing their campaigns it is important to open our eyes to the truth. We need alternatives that relieve the issues, not create different ones. Yes, the infrastructures will take time to develop, but we must start somewhere.

This is Kenyon's sister, (yes a woman!!!) Mina Hegaard, founder of Minawear Hemp Clothing since 1998, of which Kenyon is co-founder and financier. A misogynist would not entrust hundreds of thousands of dollars to a woman to run a hemp company!!!

http://www.minawear.com

Mina said...

mi·sog·y·ny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

This is not a mudslinging contest. Kenyon is merely stating facts about cotton. With so many corporations greenwashing their campaigns it is important to open our eyes to the truth. We need alternatives that relieve the issues, not create different ones. Yes, the infrastructures will take time to develop, but we must start somewhere.

This is Kenyon's sister, (yes a woman!!!) Mina Hegaard, founder of Minawear Hemp Clothing since 1998, of which Kenyon is co-founder and financier. A misogynist would not entrust hundreds of thousands of dollars to a woman to run a hemp company!!!

http://www.minawear.com