The team at Jersey Hemp is passionate about revivifying the island’s soil and are certain that their product is up to the task.
Currently growing in the region of eighty vergées of hemp crop, Jersey Hemp’s Chief Science Officer, Chris Callaghan is excited about the future of this superfood for Jersey’s soil.
As well as proving to be a diversely useful and popular commercial product, hemp has the capability to clean depleted soil and regenerate agricultural fields through phyto remediation (which literally translates as ‘plant,’ ‘restoring balance’). Hemp cultivation requires no use of pesticides. As a fast-growing crop, planted in tight knit rows, with abundant leaves acting like umbrellas that starve any under-growing weeds of sunlight and sustenance, hemp is a natural soil purifier.
From the ground up, hemp is good for the earth. The roots travel deep into the bedrock transporting nutrients above ground, which means that when the crop is harvested, the withering root and stem dissipate into the soil and the nutrients melt in along with them. Hemp returns up to sixty percent of the nutrients it takes from the soil, with the by-products from the seeds, stems and leaves being used as organic compost after CBD and other useable materials have been extracted.
For the 2019 growing season Jersey Hemp have teamed up with Glynn Mitchel and The Credible Food Project to start a soil regeneration program with the goal of increasing the organic carbon content of our local soils over the next 5 seasons. As a company, Jersey Hemp have committed to going 100% organic and are in the process of certifying Warwick Farm for organic cultivation and processing. As part of the soil regeneration program the team hope to encourage other farmers and land owners to convert to organic practices and they are confident this can be achieved without a loss in productivity.
“We do not spray our plants with pesticides, herbicides or other agricultural chemicals. At Jersey Hemp, we are in the business of growing soil microbes and these in turn, grow our hemp crops. It’s all about enhancing the soil quality for optimum growth without the need for artificial chemicals, whether that’s hemp or anything else.”
– Chris Callaghan, PhD, Chief Science Officer at Jersey Hemp
Hemp can also be planted in sensitive ‘red-zone’ water catchment areas, which will help prevent unwanted agricultural fertilisers from leaching into and contaminating our water catchment areas, reservoirs and seas. Hemp excels at absorbing the excess nitrogen from the soil left behind from the fertilisation of fields during the potato season. A crop rotation of hemp with potatoes can significantly prevent run-off of fertiliser and other agricultural chemicals leaching into our aquatic ecosystems, when normally no other crop would be grown.
Could Jersey Hemp be the answer to saving our island’s soil? We happen to think so, yes.
Article originally published in ecoJersey magazine, June 2019.