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 iHemp NSW Newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter with updates and reports from all around our state.

We held our AGM on the 11th June, followed by a General Meeting on the 18th June.  At this General Meeting it was proposed that a monthly General Meeting be held to align with the NSW Taskforce meetings – to enable iHemp NSW members to share opportunities and issues, so they can be taken to the table.

For anyone who is not a iHemp NSW member, I encourage you to join the  association and be part of this exciting and emerging industry.  Learn about our 2024- 2025 membership categories here

 There has been a lot of activity in the Industrial Hemp Industry in NSW and I invite you to read my May/June report  here. 

Jaimie Milling

Northern Rivers Hemp Cooperative Update

By Crystal White, NRHEMP farmer. 5 people seated in a panel (L-R) Martin Ernegg, Gerald Taylor (NRHEMP), Dr Andrew Katelaris, Crystal White (NRHEMP) and Leif Taylor (NRHEMP)

The Northern Rivers Hemp Cooperative (NRHEMP) played an integral role at this year’s Mardi Grass Festival in May. We coordinated the Industrial Hemp component with three well attended and diverse workshops:

  1. Discussion around the newly formed NSW Hemp Taskforce, including speaker Jeremy Buckingham MLC
  2. Hemp Product Innovations workshop
  3. Hemp Puppet & Breadmaking workshop with hemp molecular sculptor Martin Ernegg. 

The Mardi Grass was a fantastic weekend full of incredible information and people from all over Australia showcasing cannabis/hemp and the possibilities of the plant for Australia now and into the future.

This year Mardi Grass was attended by eight politicians including Jeremy Buckingham MLC (NSW), Dr Brian Walker MLC (WA), Sophia Moermond MLC (WA), David Ettershank MLC and Rachel Payne (VIC), David Shoebridge and Sue Higginson MLC (NSW) as well as Janelle Saffin MP for the opening ceremony.

NRHEMP was also part of the Bellingen Industrial Hemp workshop in May. We shared our experiences and learnings from a co-op perspective and look forward to working with them in the future.  You can read more about the workshop below.  

I can also report that all seven co-op farms have nearly finished harvest for the year and have struggled with continual rain and mud here in the Northern NSW region! 

Bellingen Industrial Hemp Workshop

In early June, the seeds of a Bellingen Industrial Hemp Hub were well and truly sown.

A group of 30+ people interested in growing, processing and building with industrial hemp converged at the Bellingen Riverside Cottages to learn from the experts and have a first-hand experience building with hempcrete. Read more. 

The Australian Hemp Masonry Company Update

For anyone interested in building with hemp, check out the Hemp Masonry’s upcoming workshops comprising of both theory and practical components. And read about the exciting research at UTS and a new hemp building project at the University of Tasmania. Click here.  

Otetto-revolutionising off-the-plan home designs

Amanda and Harrison Marsh are pioneering the hemp industry one home at a time. Amanda shares their journey, detailing their introduction to hemp and the launch of their new business – Otetto. Read more. 


Lithgow Industrial Hemp Project 

By Professor Louise Crabtree-Hayes,  Professorial Research Fellow, Western Sydney University. 

In partnership with iHempNSW, researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Technology Sydney have secured funding from the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Hub. The project will work with iHempNSW and other stakeholders to use industrial hemp in Lithgow as a case study of how to build the ‘social license to operate’ of decarbonising innovations.

Investopedia defines the social license to operate as “the ongoing acceptance of a company or industry’s standard business practices and operating procedures by its employees, stakeholders, and the general public”.  

The research therefore seeks to address the unfamiliarity and stigma that surround the hemp industry and slow its growth and development, and explore how best to raise awareness of its benefits in relation to regenerative agriculture, performance as
a building material, and carbon sequestration potential. Research workshops with industry stakeholders will explore how these and other issues shape and constrain the possibility for expanding the hemp industry’s social licence. The workshops will identify pinch points and draft strategies to address them, also with a view to how hemp can be part of the region’s economic transition.  

The workshops will be held at Western Sydney University’s Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra – the Lithgow Transformation Hub, with dates to be confirmed. Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra is a Wiradjuri term meaning ‘workmanship together, side by side’ and the Hub’s mission is to “act as a collaborative space for community, business, government, education, and industry to come together to explore a wealth of possibilities for the Lithgow region to ensure a vibrant and thriving future”. The Hub is open 5 days a week at 154 Mort St, Lithgow, and anyone can stop by to find out more, talk about possible collaboration, book a space, or participate in workshops and other events.

Research Update From The Department of Primary Industries

By Sarah Purdy, Crop Specialist, DPI

The Production team for the AgriFutures Hemp Program of Research are in the process of collating the yield data from last season’s harvest with just the seed quality data left to be received. The varieties for the upcoming season have been selected based on the existing data and advice from our external stakeholders – to whom we are very grateful for sharing their expertise! In a change from the last year the sowing date at the Grafton site will be moved back to October to allow for a longer season.