Green Entrepreneur reports……Last year, thanks to changing laws regarding marijuana’s non-psychotropic cousin, the workers at Mount Vernon planted and harvested a small plot of hemp on the same land that the first president used to grow the plant two centuries ago.
“It’s been tremendously exciting to bring back a crop that hasn’t been grown since Washington’s day,” says Dean Norton, the estate’s current head gardener, or director of horticulture, as he is known today. “That’s kind of our mission, trying to represent this site as it was during his time.”
And while the plot at Mount Vernon is tiny — only about 1,000 square feet — it represents not just the past as it was in the time of our first president, but the future in a state looking for a new agricultural lifeline.
“There’s a real need for that crop, which is why to me it was so important to bring something back to the soil at Mount Vernon that had been grown by Washington in the 18th century that hadn’t seen the soil here at Mount Vernon since his time,” Norton says, adding that Mount Vernon has a “special” role in potentially convincing the legislature to legalize hemp production.
“Washington’s use of it was strictly for fiber. There’s no reference anywhere for anything other than that,” he says. “But I think it can become an amazing commercial crop for the state of Virginia.”