Have you ever noticed a mysterious item near the recognizable nuts and seeds at the end of the salad bar? You were likely looking at Hemp Hearts—raw shelled hemp seeds.
These nutrition-packed bits are manufactured by Manitoba Harvest and are a good source of protein and essential fatty acids. I haven’t focused on a product made in Canada yet, but I’m not surprised that we’d need to go to a Canadian manufacturer to find hemp since it became illegal to grow in the United States in 1970. This is in spite of the fact that hemp is much more valuable to grow than corn and soy, is excellent for soil remediation and pollinators, and requires no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers to grow.
Our country’s history with hemp has been an interesting one. Industrial hemp was grown by European settlers since the 1600s and by the 1800s hemp had become a food staple. But in 1937, hemp was placed under the same category as its cousin, marijuana, even though hemp isn’t psychoactive. After that, farmers who wanted to continue to grow it had to purchase a cost prohibitive “tax stamp,” and so most farmers stopped growing it.
Then came WWII and with the hemp products we had been importing now under the hands of the Japanese, the U.S. government pleaded with U.S. farmers to again start growing hemp for the war effort and waved the cost of the tax stamp. Hemp was needed for rope, twine, thread, fire hoses, and even for parachute webbing, ship rigging, and sails.
But in 1970 the love affair again ended and poor misunderstood and underappreciated hemp was classified as an illegal drug. Thankfully, hemp is making a slow comeback in the States. In 2014, Kentucky, Vermont, and Colorado started to allow the farming of hemp for industrial research. Advocates of hemp continue to fight to make growing hemp legal again and June 6-12 marks the 7th annual Hemp Week. This week is an effort to share information about the many benefits of hemp, clear up any negative myths about it, and urge the legalization of growing hemp in the States once again.
The Co-op carries Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts in bulk as well as in packages. We also carry their Hemp Protein Powders. If you’re feeling at a loss about how to add hemp to your diet, other than simply sprinkling it on your salads or making a smoothie with it, Manitoba Harvest’s website offers many delicious recipes such as: Spicy Hemp Hummus, Mushroom Hemp Tartlets, Portobello Hemp Melts, Hemp Hearts and Coconut Bars, and Vanilla Chai Energy Cookies.
Manitoba Harvest’s mission is “To manufacture and market the highest quality hemp food products, to educate on the health and environmental benefits of hemp, and to strive for sustainability in all that we do.”
Manitoba Harvest Company Snapshot
Founded in 1998
Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Non-GMO Project Verified
Certified B Corporation
Organic Trade Association Member
Information from this article and more can be found at: manitobaharvest.com and hemphistoryweek.com
Amy Newsome found it a fun fact that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper!