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Byron Shire
March 1, 2024

How is hemp creating local jobs and businesses

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Interested in what hemp can do, what it can be used for (this is the non-smoking kind) and its impact on the environment? This Saturday there is a hemp collective being run at Wildspaces in Mullumbimby to look at industrial hemp and how it has the potential to impact on the region over the next ten years.

‘Some of the finest talent, wisdom and world class applications of industrial hemp reside in or list the northern rivers regularly,’ said organisers Dan Atkins and Dylan Wood.

‘Industrial hemp holds the key to unlocking many new sustainable industries.’

From food, fibre and medicine to bio-plastics, building materials and energy there seems to be a brand range of opportunities for developing the industry in the northern rivers region.

‘There are three areas of focus,’ said Mr Atkins.

The Hemp Collective have identified these as growing, processing and new markets. The first opportunity is getting a license to grow industrial hemp. The second is developing the capacity locally to process the material and they are looking at how a local decorticator (that separates hemp fibres for different uses) facility could be developed and supported. Thirdly what new materials and markets could be developed locally.

‘The Canadian and US have show us how big the market is,’ said Mr Atkins.

‘One of the things we want to create is a biodegradable plastic from hemp  but currently we have to import the raw materials from the US.

‘We are developing $10million investment plan to create a centre of hemp excellence in the region. At the Hemp Collective gathering we are looking at how we can work in a collective way to maximise the use of all the plant so that we can create opportunities here for work and businesses.’

Th gathering is Saturday August 4 from 3pm at Wildspaces on Main Arm Road. Find out more on the Hemp Collective Gathering Facebook page.

You can also explore more on sustainability issues in The Echo‘s 2018 Sustainability lift-out online.

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