Although hemp is a plant that can be grown under a variety of conditions, there is a difference between what a plant will tolerate and what it loves. Italy provides the perfect conditions in which hemp can thrive, and centuries ago, before hemp was abandoned in favour of synthetic fibres, hemp in Italy was among the finest that could be obtained anywhere.
Today, Italian farmers are rediscovering the benefits of growing hemp in the perfect conditions for bumper yields.
Bologna and Ferrara hemp Italy giants
In spite of the decades long collapse of commercial hemp growing, largely in response to the availability and sudden popularity of synthetic fibres from the petrochemical industry, hemp growers in Bologna and Ferrara retained the knowledge of how to grow hemp on their native soil which is ideal for optimal growth of this crop.
Although hemp is grown in Southern Italy, it is the Northern provinces that retains the traditional knowledge of hemp growing. Adding to the already rich and friable soils, farmers prepare carefully for each crop, ploughing in manure and adopting careful water management practices to obtain the highest yield and quality.
The best hemp in all the world
When hemp was still a necessity for the production of linens and other fabrics, paper, sailcloth and rope, Italian hemp was considered to be the best the world had to offer. Italian farmers, and the craftsmen who processed hemp were able to produce the finest, softest fabrics from the fibres, and it is almost certain that although the word “superfood” had not yet been coined, locals had explored the nutritional potential of hemp.
It is almost certain that in Italy, hemp was also used as a medicinal plant. There are, however, few references to it in ancient texts, although the Romans left behind evidence that it had been used as a treatment for minor ailments.