Auckland, New Zealand: When I first met Cameron Sims, founder of Plant Culture, I was surrounded by ‘cool people’ with baggy pants and Nike shoes. I approached him because he was the only one with a cool linen-looking shirt; my type of person. Little did I know, he was the founder of a sustainability-focused hemp movement taking New Zealand by storm… the universe works in awesome ways (but really, it’s my fashion sense that brought us together).
Plant Culture is a social enterprise that supply hemp seed products in compostable and reusable packaging. Why hemp? Because it grows up to 4.5 metres a day, nourishes the soil around it, is used to make several useful items, is ready to be harvested in just 100-120 days, and doesn’t need shitty pesticides and chemicals to grow. Why hemp? Because it’s a sustainable fibre that kicks butt.
Plant Culture’s vision doesn’t stop at selling hemp products; its mission expands to encouraging healthy, positive, and sustainable lifestyles. With hemp being such a taboo topic, Plant Culture’s work in spreading information about this nutritious super grain, comes with a bit of push and shove; but they’re nailing it. Their hemp pop-up restaurant event in April was a sell-out, and I was lucky enough to be invited. Hemp beer, garden platters, brownie, and the BEST pizzas in the world.
Here’s how the night went and what I learnt along the way:
The menu was so beautifully arranged and paired with the tastiest kombucha and hemp beer, I literally died and went to food heaven. I arrived having not eaten hemp before, and felt slightly hesitant about the flavour and texture, especially when I’m used to other grains. After the meal, I left knowing I would make it a common grain in my daily diet.
A few facts I took away:
- Hemp is the only grain that can house you, feed you, clothe you, and heal you
- No tree or plant species has the commercial, economic and environmental potential of hemp
- Hemp seed is packed with omega 3, 6, and 9
- New Zealand is the last country in the world where hemp seed isn’t legal for human consumption
- A license to grow hemp in New Zealand costs $511.94
- Hemp is freakin’ delicious
During the meal, we were treated to discussions from Megan May, founder of Little Bird Organics, Graedon Parker, founder of Organic Mechanic, and Dr Corin Storkey and Jacqueline Huapaya, from Seleno Health. All speakers were highly aware of the nutritious qualities of hemp, and brought their own scientific, and experience-based knowledge to the table. The running themes were centred around the importance of knowing what we are putting into our bodies, and being conscious of how our food interferes not only with our health but with the planet around us. I also learnt you can use hemp to build a house within a short six-month time frame (that’s from seed to finish!)… I’m planning my hemp tiny-home already.
A message that I’ve been thinking about recently: If we don’t look after the environment, nothing else matters. We can talk about politics, feminism, human rights, and ethics until the cows come home, but if we don’t have a planet to do this on, then there’s no point.
Plant Culture advocates the support of world leaders, by encouraging lifestyles that are sustainable for them to “live their highest purpose”. The debate around the legalisation of hemp seed seemed ridiculous after the pop-up restaurant event. We are ignorant of a plant resource that is useful for building energy efficient and sustainable homes, keeps us clothed, restores our health, and feeds us our required daily nutrients. So, how successful as a human society are we really if we’re dismissing this wonder crop?
The sale of hemp seed as a food was legalised in Australia on the 12th of November 2017, and New Zealand plans to legalise it soon. But why is a super grain excluded from our daily diets due to laws banning or limiting its production and consumption? Hemp seed is associated with the drug, marijuana. Although hemp seed contains no THC (the psychoactive constituent of cannabis), or if anything, very low levels that cannot be picked up in the bloodstream, it’s still a controversial topic. We need to end this. It’s a plant like the tobacco plant is a plant.'Plant the seed you want to grow in the world' - Plant Culture NZClick To Tweet
My evening with Plant Culture was a total pleasure, and I’m now a proud hemp-convert. The pop-up restaurant wasn’t just a meal with nice jazz music. It was an informative, and cultured experience, that left me buzzing with enthusiasm to share more about this super seed and empowered to continue standing up for our planet.
Where to shop hemp:
Want to learn more about the hemp movement? You’ll love our post: “Sustainable Wonder Crop: Why Everyone’s Getting High on Hemp“
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