Hemp: a sustainable alternative for a farm
The case of Obelisk Farm in Latvia
Rural topic(s): Rural entrepreneurship and diversification of activities
Type: Innovative experience
Date of writing: May 25, 2020
Organization(s): Obelisk farm
How hemp cultivation and production can save the family farm: the Obelisk Farm case.
In Obelisk Farm besides growing hemp and trans-forming it into useful products (such as food) there are plenty of learning opportunities that include: hemp papermaking workshops and hemp as a building material courses.
Obelisk Farm story began when a young family of four - Andris, Debora, Gabriela, and Fredis - moved in 2014 from London to the Latvian countryside searching for a more nature connected life. As they settled in a 2.5-hectare organic farm nestled in the eastern part of Lat-via, Latgalē region – at Obeliškas village and with a flourishing grasp of farming, hemp growing became a priority here at the farm. Why hemp? Because they be-lieve it can and will feed, clothe, shelter and heal the entire world.
Description of activities
As the cannabis plant still raises misunderstandings, they decided to open their farm doors for tours around the farm where visitors explore how the farm grows hemp and turn it into useful products.
In addition, they provide learning opportunities that are meant to raise awareness of the uses and benefits of the hemp plant. To this extent, the farm aims to break stereotypes regarding cannabis sativa as an agricultural crop while introducing visitors to the endless potential of the hemp plant.
1. Walking tours
around the farm to explore how they grow hemp and turn it into useful products.
to visit the hemp museum: it was created with the aim of promoting the hemp plant and its many uses - since hemp is part of the Latvian history and culture . The mu-seum is divided into 4 different exhibits: folk songs, people and their stories, old-time machinery and modern uses of the hemp plant.
They present thematic, exclusive and re-laxed sessions, to those who love hemp or who decided to learn more about this plant, like hemp paper & hemp as building material.
Trainings at the hemp school
It was created with the aim of building a non-formal education space linked to hemp. Their desire is to share practical and innovative knowledge about industrial hemp. The pillars of the hemp school are based on sharing experiences and creating a network of students and trainers which together might stimulate other initiatives in diverse themes such as natural construction, natural food, consumption, and collaborative production among many others.
Tastings and demonstrations such as
hemp milk making demonstration and tasting,
unlimited tasting of hemp peanut butter, hemp bars, hemp oil, hemp seeds, hemp protein powder, and hemp tea.
Seeds, food and other hemp products can be bought on the on-line (and on-farm) shop.
The hemp production is all used in the farm’s own learning activities and in the online (on-site) shop.
Outlook - Prospect
Networking: Obelisk farm is an honorary member of the Latvian Industrial Hemp Association and a member of the Latvian Home Producer Association.
The farm also cooperates with other organizations such as Forum Synergies to provide learning opportunities to young people interested in learning more about the work done at the farm.
Information gathered at: the European Rural Parliament 2019 Market of initiatives (6 Nov. 2019); FS scholarships 2019
Contact: Andris Visnevskis
Organisation: Obelisk Farm
Scale of intervention : Local
Actors: small-scale farmer