BY Darren Snyder, Staff Writer
Photograph By Steven Siewert
Rylstone couple Richard and Wendy Friar are creating an Australian first by videoing an education program to explain the benefits of growing hemp.
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on Tuesday morning that the pair have become the first Australians to own and grow a licensed industrial hemp crop but they will also be the first to record the experience in order to teach others about the versatile plant.
But do not be alarmed. The pair are not potheads and nor are they growing anything illegal.
In a campaign to champion the idea that hemp is a plant with great utility, the couple have been given permission by the Department of Primary Industries to grow a pilot education project on a property in the northern beaches.
Mr Friar said he is trying to remove the stigma surrounding growing hemp.
“In the 1990s it was estimated hemp was used in about 25,000 products and I now believe it has reached 35,000 today,” he said.
The uses for hemp vary greatly, from oils to building fibres and medicinal uses, and Mr Friar said the potential of the plant must be made clear.
“The fibres taken from hemp are used in the building industry and are as strong as steel,” Mr Friar said.
“It is more efficient to grow than cotton.
“It is also challenging Petra-chemicals.”
The 66-year-old also said the couple had applied to Food Standards to sell the hemp seeds for human consumption.