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HempenRoad Blurb (from the back of the video box)
Although cultivated since 4000 BC, the Industrial strains of Cannabis Sativa are illegal in most countries in the world.
Now, as we stand on the edge of the century, people are rediscovering the versatile, ecological Cannabis plant however, many questions arise. Well, here’s the answers.
The HempenRoad is a travel-documentary, exploring what’s happening in the commercial hemp industry around the Northwest and the World. Narrated by hemp researcher & writer Dave Olson, the HempenRoad looks for balance between Economics, Art and Ecology.
Hit the Road and hear what Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Activists and the USDA have to say about this controversial and historical plant.
Check out natural dyeing, hemp food, fashion shows, tree-free paper making, organic oils, sky-high snowboarding and medicinal use of Cannabis.
Investigate why a plant used by Lao Tzu, George Washington and Queen Victoria was made illegal? How will these laws change?
Consider sustainable solutions from experts and Government officials featured in exclusive coverage of the Commercial Industrial Hemp Symposium in Vancouver, B.C.
Travel through grand scenes of the Cascadia Bio-region, backed by diverse original Northwest soundtrack featuring: Phat Sidy Smokehouse, 420 Love, Elemental, Jah Wah & Chris Sullivan.
Shot on a variety of media (16mm, Super8, Hi8, 35mm) and completely edited by Mac O/S, director Eiji Masuda pushes the possibilities of independent multimedia filmmaking in the digital age.
85 minutes approx.
©1997 HempenRoad Film Project LLP. Unauthorized exhibition, duplication and distribution prohibited.
Send HempenRoad to your Congressperson, Grandma or Non-Profit group.
Don’t keep it a Secret.
So, on we go to Eugene.
You know, I used to live in Eugene when I was a just a ‘lil hempster. Pa earned Doctorate of Leisure and Recreation from University of Oregon. Maybe this gives a good representation of the town. Re-creation.
Actually it is no longer a town. It is a full on city.
I passed through this summer looking for Hemp at the Oregon Country Fair and saw a lot of people. Throngs actually.
Yeah, it seems the world is learning about this legendary mecca of counter-culture heroes & icons. The good ol’ Grateful Dead played legendary shows around Eugene, including some of the last real camping shows. Those shows were like homecomings for the band as they played to heaps of friends and cronies. Surely with Eugene’s reputation of being a think-tank for alternative action, hemp must be going on in some neat way.
So off we go to find out.
We pull west from Oly, head to the coast where we’ll head south and cross the delta of the mighty Columbia River.
Driving out from Oly about 45 minutes, we make our first stop. Satsop nuclear plant. I don’t know much about this place and no one else seems to either. It seems back in the nuclear rah-rah days, it went up and no one even knows what its doing. Power, I suppose but that doesn’t tell us much.
We make our way into position for a shot. I feel like Homer Simpson driving to the reactor looking like a mix of Frankenstein’s castle and a futuristic mailbox. Which really frightens people more, hemp plants or nuclear plants? Turns out its dormant, the fed spent millions upon dollars to build it then it was never finished which can’t be totally bad news but I really believe the money could’ve spent more wisely.
In front of the plant is the sign designating a Wetlands Preserve. Odd choice, but it fills a Washington DC statistic. Suspiciously, empty of wildlife but then again, it is winter. The view is crisp and message clear.
At the banks of the Columbia is a statue showing the point where Lewis and Clark arrived at the Pacific, halting their monumental trek across a rough stretch of continent. Sent by Thomas Jefferson to discover and explore, they set out to find what was out there, anywhere. The chances for an adventure like that now are slim to none – New continents are hard to find.
They walked across a vibrant continent that had taken care of itself for a few millennia and it only took the USA only a century and a half to have national chain stores, malls, toxins, dumps and asphalt to every corner.
A small church stands alongside and then a wild bridge that skims above the mass of water energy at the moment of place where the movement of river becomes infinity of ocean.
and on into the world…
The stretch along the Pacific Northwest coast is surely one of the richest experiences you can have from inside a rolling steel box. I’d rather walk this stretch of coast, but that will wait.
For now, I breathe it in as the road twists and turns into vistas and beaches. Darkness comes, it’s rainy now and the curves aren’t so much fun. Everyone sleeps, I drive.
We arrive at Honeyman State Park outside of Florence late and worn. The key to our Yurt is waiting for us. I made a reservation, for a Yurt. That’s how things are done now. Reservations, credit cards and tour packages for nature. Admission and fees. Concrete and double-wides. John Muir, Ed Abbey, Where are you?
The Yurts are a brilliant idea the Oregon State parks are implementing to make your camping experience more like home maybe. The Yurt itself is great. We feast late night meal on the Coleman stove and sack out in our hut.
Now a Yurt isn’t a hut and its not a tent maybe its a Year-round Universal Recreation Tent. Laminated wood lattice frame connecting to roof beams coming out like twisted sunshine as it tensions a middle ring.
On top of the ring is a Plexiglass dome that opens for ventilation. The lattice frame is covered with a treated poly/cotton cloth with a nylon or polyurethane covering on the roof. While it’s probably well-wearing, the same thing could be easily done with less treatments and production steps with sturdy hemp canvas.
The origins of the Yurt is mostly Mongolian who mad/ke these in a cruder form, covering wooden poles with animal skins.
I think a sturdy hemp weave would work great and be a fine way to provide low cost living, thinking and working space. A sturdy door, few storm windows and a little electric heater finish it off.
Minimalist beauty. Bunkbed and futon bed. Sleep well. Up and out to Eugene in the morning.
First off make our way to Hungry Bear Hemp foods where Hungry Bear himself Todd Dalotto is waiting for us. Todd has been a supporter of our journey since the start and I was sure anxious to check out his operation down in the historic Blair St. neighbourhood. The office space is turning into a hemp co-op space it seems. Todd is making his Hungry Bear Seedy Sweeties Snacks, as well as flour and butter here in his kitchen/lab. His colleague, Jerry is making Merry Hempsters body care products (lip balm, salve and ointments).
The oil comes via their partner Erich who is sourcing and working on projects in Mongolia and Peru. In Peru the seeds are batch pressed removing only the finest of the abundant oil of the seed. The seed is left in good condition and since it is no longer viable, the seeds clear the feds without the sterilization ritual. The seeds are then ground into fine, nutritious flour. Some seeds are crushed and used to coat the molasses and grain snack bars.
Also Todd’s goal of hemp butter is now coming together. A savoury and versatile butter that is sure to surprise a lot of people who don’t know this aspect of hemp. Todd first envisioned making hemp butter while volunteering for Food Not Bombs where he tested his prototypes at weekly large free meals gatherings.
The Merry Hempsters products use the same vital oil form Chile and combine the rich oil with wildcrafted herbs and essential oils to make the truly kind ointment and salve. Both are already standard in my travel first aid kit. Great for about any skin woe from surf coral cuts to achy knees to burnt out lips.
The oil producing operation is overseen by Erich who has been experimenting with organic crop research for years. Mainly with Quinoa and flax though his knowledge of any fiber crop is quick and thorough. He told stories of travelling and exploring some far off corners on his own hempen road. He works with the Chilean hemp farmers to encourage organic crop growing and ensuring quality hemp plants for the best oil seeds. The situation is sketchy but primarily due to lack of awareness and difficulty marketing hemp without a foreign connection. Erich is helping farmers maintain a valuable resource in their rotation by providing a market and knowledge.
He does worry about the work ethic of the average American who has lost touch with a hot days, aching back day toiling in the fields. Probably a safe bet but laziness is the mother of invention, isn’t it?
In the same space we looked at some clothes made by a local household co-op. They sell around at markets, shops and do custom order of clothes, household accessories and nice pot handle covers that I gotta get. Religious focus and sense of purpose keeps this family spreadin’ their energy through their hemp creations.
Now I had never really thought of this, sure there is hemp content shampoo but a hemp oil hair treatment seemed a bit odd. The Hempen Road’s fearless assistant Misa stepped forward to undergo this experiment for crew. What ensued was an hour long, hair treatment and massage that could relax the Egyptian Sphinx. Rose operates “the Hairy Truth” hair salon in the same building as Hungry Bear and has a variety of folks coming in for the hemp oil treatment which leaves hair soft and nourished. Read your shampoo bottle, how many of the ingredients can you pronounce. Misa remained in bliss for several hours and we wisely took a bottle of hemp oil home.
The next day I decided to get furiously ill and wallow in sickness all day so I wouldn’t have to go out and have fun anymore.
Our intrepid crew carried on with the help of our mystery guest host, Marji.
So… I’m guessing now but… I know they went to talk with Carolyn Moran and Harry Bondareff of Living Tree Paper Company. They market a made in USA, hemp content, stationary paper that is as elegant as it is is eco.
Mixed with Esparta grass, an annual from Africa, agricultural waste (cotton linters, straw etc.) and post consumer recycled tree paper. They began the paper project to provide a quality eco paper to print their magazine on. The magazine is called “Talking Leaves” and is the publication of the DEEP Ecology group. I know Carolyn has traveled a lot and Harry is a good guy (I met him at Real Goods solar living festival on Summer Solstice in California) so there you have it, we’ll see in the film.
Next, they all went to the famous Eugene Saturday Market which boasts a buffet of handmade arts and crafts. This being last one before Christmas, I’m sure it was hopping. I saw some of this footage and there seems to have been a lot of hemp vendors and even hemp food. I was too busy with my pet virus to have this fun.
On to Sow Much Hemp which is a variety shop and project of Bruce and Deidre who are a real sweet couple of folks. They helped me with some Tibetan healing energy and I looked around the shop the next morning.
The best description would be like the modern day hemp equivalent of a old time general store crossed with a remote, traditional artists co-op. Located in a re-worked heritage home, you feel like your going to visit your old Grandpa as you walk up the patio where you want to sit and drink lemonade, but its December so we go inside and drink herb tea. Inside is comfy too, a little of everything in a real international atmosphere.
Lots of unique items from far off lands, rugs, tapestries, sarongs, prayer flags, scrolls, handmade books, and assorted religious icons. Also a beautiful array of dyed hemp cloths and yarns.
(p.s. we interview master natural dyer Carolyn Kolander in Portland). The store seems like you’ve been there all weekend after just a half-hour as you check things out and learn the stories in a relaxing think space.
Thanks to the patience of my road-mates and the Eugene hempsters, I was semi-alive the next day and we headed north.
We’ll be back in Oregon soon to see who’s doing what in Portland. For now we pull out of the fertile Willamette Valley watching the empty farmland flash by in shooting green patches.
Another drizzly morning and we head up to Seattle. There’s plenty to see there as Seattle has kind of become the hemp-metropolis of America. A big-league city with an awkward mix of high-tech, red-neck, enviro-activism, loud guitars, gearhead REI yuppies and an international dose of everything else.
First off, we find the Beemis building on the shady side of the Kingdome. Apparently this classic building used to be a paper bag factory and it now houses artist and professional loft/suites. There is a neat Vespa out front and a intimidating freight elevator inside. We head up stairs to visit Earth Goods.
Earth Goods is the international business run by two guys named Dave or David which isn’t surprising as I’ve been meeting a lot of guys named Dave recently. The focus of Earth Goods is to make contemporary high-end fashions from naturally dyed hemp. No use dumping chemicals on a piece of organic cloth they figure.
The selection of garments for women and men are made and dyed in Thailand, overseen by another guy named Dave. The idea however, was conceived while were living between Boulder and then Japan where they heightened their sense of aesthetic and marketing.
The duo had just returned from European travels, styling in Venice where they showed off their fancy threads on the same runway that Giorgio Armani was pushing his own hemp designs. While they have been working hard to reach the public, they welcome the competition and figure any expansion of natural standards is to the net benefit to the Earth and the vitality of the industry.
Things are really starting to move for this sharp company as they create a solid niche with their hemp/silk, softened hemp, and hemp/cotton fancy/casual clothing line. They make especially nice vests.
Enjoyed talking about Japan and learning natural dye names in Thai, spent a nice morning in the Beemis building. Unique view, a sort of backdoor look of the city from giant windows. High ceilings, so high that a guy from the Sonics lives right up stairs.
So we head across to the University district to check out Rob Jungman and his new Manastash store.
Rob started with an idea for a small wallet that you wouldn’t loose even after a rough day on the beach and rougher night on the town. After a roadtrip brainstorm, the “Chenga” became. After a few batches of those, Rob made up some bigger packs, accessories and gear. All designed for action sports and having fun.
After spreading his line around the US, Rob took the show to Japan where he is hooking up all the hempster gearheads over there. This is particularly interesting to me as I research the history of cannabis culture in Japan. The possibilities of selling hemp in that massive consumer market is head-spinnin and Rob has got the goods to do it.
Rob headed out on Hemp Tour all summer. Traveling the land with a couple vans to concerts, mountain bikes races, rock climbing comps., festivals and wherever. . . letting athletes and adrenaline junkies test out his gear and put hemp to the test.
Instead of taking it easy when he returned, he decided to make a store right on Seattle’s infamous University strip. The store is loaded up with gear from a variety of hemp makers so we had a chance to preview some upcoming hempen road filming stops.
Business seems brisk both at the store and with getting the line of Manastash Mountain Products on the rack at outdoor stores. The horizon sees a couple new stores opening in Japan and new products coming out real quick.
As for the Manastash products, they are made across town at Panther Sports which Rob operates with his partner Khampy, a textile production designer from Vietnam. They run a nice facility, comfortably employing a rotating staff of about a dozen.
As part of a government job training program, the factory helps new immigrants learn a trade, make a fair wage, work in good conditions, improve language skills and gain positive work experience. Most move on to higher paying jobs at bigger factories after they are experienced. This is all part of the process and it certainly looks successful as we laughed and goofed with the sewers who were lucky enough to have hooked up with a great organization. The Manastash products are made with care in a local, international community atmosphere , a real working model of positive production and what is a great alternative to synthetics made in deplorable sweat shops both here and abroad.
By the way, Manastash is the Yakima tribe’s name for a mountain range in eastern Washington which translates to New Beginnings.
Dale the Weaver helped us out with the segemnt by provided random inspiring comments and hairstyles to urge us along. He is quite a motivator, ol’ Dale, and he is weaving and knitting some nice potholders and Christmas tree ornaments.
So after exploring the neighborhoods and eating some interactive Thai food recommended by Christian at Crop Circle clothes who we didn’t get a chance to hook up with cause he was in Las Vegas wooing a client. Right on, I can see Wayne Newton in a hemp tux. Christian seems to have the marketing and promotion game down and I hope to check out his products down the road.
That evening we were hosted again by the Dave duo at the Beemis Building. A exclusive gathering of hempsters, business people, store owners, buyers and friends sharing Christmas cheer and tasty beer.
Upstairs, some new friends put us up for the night in their loft which was decorated with some exceptional acrylic on plywood paintings.
The next morning we spent some time filming the curious community of Fremont. You know, it is the center of the Universe. Rocket ships, walking pizza, statue of Lenin, and Fremont Hemp Company. Run and designed by Cory Brown, entering the Fremont Hemp Co. shop is like leaping into a spendy magazine spread. It is exquistely detailed with luxurious items. Body care products, household accessories and dried flowers. It really is something different than Joe Q. Public’s perception. I expect to see Ralph L. and Laura A. models posing in the corner.
Not surprisingly, Cory’s background is in retailing and related arts. Everything down to the wrapping paper is done just the way he wants, no compromise. Beauty and functionality are tucked comfortably in together.
The building itself was once a Gas Station and the transformation is complete as Fremont built it up from a blank canvas. Spiral staircases go up to a loft and give a view of the courtyard out front. The design is slightly manic and comfy at the same time. A huge Masonic painting and a statue of Vlad offset the elegant yet utilitarian garage facade. A row of large letters along the top, tell you where you are. Fremont center of the hempiverse!
If Fremont is center of the Universe, than Belltown is center of Universal Hemp. Universal Hemp is the new enterprise of several experienced hemp industry workers. These are the men and women who have been pulling the weight at other companies in Seattle and have now jumped into making the new Belltown Hempery.
It is certainly not a regular hemporium, its more of an outlet for independent artists, crafters and makers to market their gear. There is a wide variety of stuff but its not the same as you’ve seen around.
One of the difficult things about trying to build a business is finding a decent, fair outlet to vend your product to start generating operating capital. Consignment generally doesn’t work, wholesaling doesn’t fit for home based, small time operators and winter is a lousy time to be out hustling at arts and crafts fairs. Ask me, I know. I wish I could’ve found an outlet like Belltown about 4 years ago when UncleWeed backpacks and dog collars, hempy sacks etc were being made in a tent and sold on street corners and festivals.
While it is a new business, there is plenty of room to expand. Plans for papermaking workshops, soap, candles, dyeing. Basically if it can be done to hemp on a workshop scale, they’ll be doing at one point or another. With space, enthusiasm and a plan, a lot can happen.
I tried on a fine hat and a fleece/hemp jacket and we hauled a little rolling sign to Pike Street market to explore the Seattle city center and check out people’s reaction as we walked around with our hemp clothes and mobile billboard.
Pike street market must of been brilliant about 50 years ago. It is still super cool, just a whole load of humans and not enough hemp. If you like salmon, get there.
We finished off with a few 16mm shots of the harbor and sailboats and actually even with all the concrete, it’s still pretty. Water, trees, mountains, sigh.
So there we were, Olympia, Wa., 6AM. I quit my job by an early morning FAX, van’s loaded. Lots of cameras, mics, tapes, film, lights, sleeping bags and ideas. The Olympia morning is dark, coldish and drizzly. We drive north to the end of America, Port Angeles, top of the Olympic Peninsula to catch the M.V. COHO ferry to the Northland.
Mailing List #10
This is a broadcast message from the HempenRoad film project, a travel-documentary film about hemp in the Pacific NW. #10 in a series.
Greetings: Just a short note to let you know the the HempenRoad Winter tour is starting to come together. To start things off, check it out at the Midnight Sun in downtown Olympia WA on Friday Nov. 21st at 8:00pm.
The film does feature some Oly-local hemp action and music too (hey, maybe you can see yourself!). Not only the film, but also Live Music and tasty beverages (Mmmm hemp java). Presented with our friends at “aXis Music & Media Dispatch” and “MooreHempCo.” 2 bux gets you in.
We are working on other dates in Oregon, Utah, BC, Wyoming, California and everywhere else. Any ideas? Let us know and be sure to stay tuned in this channel for the scoop. Can’t wait til it rolls into town? Check out http://www.hempenroad.com to score a video copy.
****In other HempenNews
The voters of Washington State rejected ballot initiative #685 which would’ve permitted medicinal use of schedule1 controlled drugs. Further, HIP-WS #147 is in hibernation until next round too. See http://www.hemp.net for more info.
While a setback, this does set the stage for a more focused hemp bill, and an election victory, next year I do believe.
California’s Hemptech released a fine new book called Hemp Horizons by John Roulac. Besides being a very well produced and written book, it also features some of my Hemp in Japan research. Check it at: http://www.hemptech.com
HempBC ran full page ads in Vancouver’s 2 biggest newspapers urging the world leaders attending the APEC summit to reconsider hemp prohibition. Beauty activism ‘eh. Cannabis Canada’s mailing list fills you in.
All for now, Enjoy Knowledge!
the HempenRoad film project
Mailing List #6
Good Day ‘eh:
Here is some fast breaking news.
This is your virtual invitation to check out the sneak Premiere of the HempenRoad film.
The date is Tuesday, June 10th, at the infamous Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington. That is soon, so think fast.
The HempenRoad will be thrown out to the public as part of the Cascadin’ Film Festival. The event is promoted by the International Students Association and features an eclectic selection of experimental films, digital animation, Chinese opera and Indian dances.
Also serving up Hemp N’ Java Expresso and tasty hempenfood by Blue Heron Bakery. Live music follows and plenty time to kick back with a bunch of phun folks.
You can link to maps to Evergreen and pictures of the LongHouse where we will screen the films etc. For travel & ferry info, shoot mail to “email@example.com”
If you can make it, great, if not, there’s plenty of chances later this summer at Seattle Hempfest etc. Heck, this is even the first time I’ll see it.
Hope to see you there or later on down the Road . . .
producer / writer