Hemporium into 2012
Well, 2011 was a watershed year for Hemporium. Duncan and I were proud to see the manifestation and completion of the Hemp House, a 5 year project. We also went to Spain to present South Africa at the International Hemp Building Symposium, visited China to learn more about the world’s oldest hemp industry, launched our online shop, were selected as finalists in South Africa’s Cleantech Competition for COP17 and helped Rapula Farming, our farming partner apply for and receive a hemp growing permit.
At the same time we managed to trim the sails and keep our heads up through the economic crisis, still managing to provide quality hemp clothing, accessories, bodycare and nutrition products to our loyal customers, much thanks to the hard work of Philippa.
The response to the Hemp House has been amazing. We have been featured in many magazines, on TV, on radio (see www.hemporium.com/press.php for articles) and have had countless feet come visit to feel and see for themselves, including representatives from the Dept of Trade and Industry, CSIR, Dept of Science and Technology, Dept of Economic Development and many more. The comments are always positive.
Living in the house has also been great. The winter was warm and secure. The house feels different immediately to brick and cement. It just has a comfortable feeling. The energy saving LED lights, appliances and double glazing are also paying off with the electricity bill being under R200/month, and this is without the solar geyser being installed yet due to delays with the frame. Living in a properly insulated organic house is highly recommended!
Duncan and I represented SA at the International Hemp Building Symposium in Spain which was very informative and interesting, you can read the blog here: www.hemporium.com/blog.php?article=... I then went to China which was eye-opening as well, especially seeing how decentralised the hemp industry is there, and how many small farmers earn money from it. There is much we can learn from them.
The online shop, www.hemporium.co.za is now fully functional with a selection of our clothing and all our accessories, cosmetic and nutrition products available to be sent countrywide, so for those of you who have not had access to wearing hemp, we are having a sale this month, so take advantage of the great prices.
The Cleantech competition was a great experience, but we saw first-hand how the emphasis is still placed on the bottom line too much and that the triple bottom line philosophy of People, Planet and Profit has yet to be broadly adopted. We know it is up to us as citizens and eco-preneurs to make the change we want to see, as there is too much politicking going on between the corporations and politicians for us to wait for them to implement the necessary changes.
Duncan and I were very excited to see the permit arrive for our farming partner at the end of last year, but were then still prevented by red tape in getting the seeds soon enough for the growing season, so yet another years is lost before we are growing the hemp industry here in South Africa. Thankfully the permit is for 2 years, so we will be planting later this year and will keep you all posted on developments and growth. It is part of research for a 3 year incubation programme run through Thandeka at House of Hemp, and we definitely feel the momentum is growing towards licenses being issued for commercial growing of the plant we know can bring eco-jobs, houses and nutrition.
So, this year we look forward to getting seeds in the ground, strengthening ties, developing new construction products, moving from advocacy towards delivery and being part of the shift towards a more environmentally friendly, cooperative and collaborative way of doing business and farming.
We look fo
rward to your continued support.
Tony and Duncan