The American hemp industry has seen an incredible boom over the last decade, but it’s not all about the plants themselves.
A new documentary, Industrial Hemp, aims to shed some light on how the growing industry is being used in the U.S. and worldwide.
The documentary, which will premiere on PBS in the spring, explores how a growing industry has come to be a way of life for a wide range of people across the country.
It focuses on the growing of the crops in the Midwest and Appalachia, as well as a small but growing crop in Michigan, as the documentary focuses on communities in the Rust Belt.
“In the mid-1980s, industrial hemp was legal in about a dozen states.
Now it’s legal everywhere,” says executive producer Brian Schaffner, who is also a film maker.
“And that’s a very big deal.”
Industrial Hemp is part of a growing trend in the documentary industry, which is focusing on the hemp community as a way to tell stories about a new crop that was once a fringe commodity, but has now become an integral part of the fabric of our country.
Schaffners father, a retired chemical engineer who was working for Dow Chemical when he met his future wife, was the first to grow industrial hemp, growing a single plant from seed to harvest in the late 1970s.
“We didn’t know what we were doing at that point, but we had the seed and we were growing it for ourselves,” he told The Associated Press in 2014.
“I didn’t understand what it was, but I knew it was going to be really interesting to see what happened.”
He also grew the plants for himself, but eventually, his son was the one to become the first commercial hemp farmer in the United States.
Schaffner said that the documentary aims to explore the hemp growing process through the eyes of the farmers themselves, and the people who are in charge of it.
“It’s not a story about the farm,” Schaffers father told the AP.
“It’s a story of the farmer.
It’s about a whole family, the people that work for the farm, and it’s a good way to understand how this has changed the way we make things in America.”
Schaffners own farm has produced industrial hemp for a number of years.
It was also the first time he harvested any seed in his field, he said.
“They didn’t even know that it was hemp,” he said in a video interview.
“They had never heard of hemp.
They had no idea.
I grew it for my son.”
Industry boom in DetroitIn the 1970s, the U of M had just one industrial hemp farm, which was owned by a private company.
But as the U’s industrial hemp industry developed, Schaffer and his family became increasingly involved.
“The more we did it, the more we saw the value that the hemp could bring,” he recalled in a 2014 interview with the Detroit Free Press.
“So the more I became involved, the less we felt we were being used for something that was really just a commodity.”
The film focuses on two Detroit neighborhoods, East End and West End, that are part of Detroit’s Industrial Hemp Belt.
The two neighborhoods were both hit hard by the 1980s crack epidemic, and Schaffires father said that as the city grew, so did his family’s interest in growing hemp.
“Detroit was not growing as fast as other cities in the city, and that’s when I decided I needed to take over the farm myself,” he explained.
The Schaffetts grew hemp on their farm in the early 2000s, but in 2014, the family started to lose money as they were unable to feed the family on their own income.
“We were losing money,” Schaffer said in the 2014 interview.
Schaffer decided to sell his industrial hemp to a Michigan man named Steve Henshaw.
“Steve Hensaw has grown a huge business around growing industrial hemp and that he is very proud of,” Schafer said in 2014 of the deal.
“He has the expertise to grow a lot of industrial hemp on his farm.”
Henshaw, who was a licensed grower, told the Free Press that he was able to sell the seeds of industrial a few years later for about $50 a kilogram.
The family continued to grow hemp on the farm in Detroit until 2008, when the Schaffits decided to expand the business and started growing it on their land again.
“Hens was the main guy.
He grew it on his own land, so he got paid on the sale,” Schafers father said.
“The family has done a lot for Detroit and I want to thank them for that.”
Growing hemp on land where the population is strugglingSchaffers family also grew hemp in the industrial hemp belt in other states, but Michigan became the first state to pass a law in