Why is Hemp Protein Better for the Environment?

baby hemp plant seedling being held in two hands

When comparing plant and animal protein, there’s a lot more we can look at beyond the dietary benefits. The environmental effects, specifically, are a huge point of consideration. 

A paper published by Nature Food in 2021 offered a detailed and comprehensive look at the percentage of greenhouse emissions created by global food production. After studying 171 crops and 16 animal products from more than 200 countries, the data estimated animal-based foods made up 57% of the total emissions from agriculture. 

Beef production was the largest contributor, followed by cow milk, pork, and chicken meat.

Hemp, on the other hand, is a green treasure to the environment. Here’s why:

  • Hemp is naturally resistant to pests. Fewer pests mean less of a need or use for pesticides and herbicides. This also helps minimize the risk of water resources and aquatic life being contaminated by pesticides seeping into the area where the hemp is grown.

  • Hemp can grow in a variety of climates, terrains, and soil types. The root system forms so deeply into the ground (nearly 9 feet) that it can actually prevent soil erosion. Plus, by breaking up soil compaction, nutrients can be more easily absorbed through the soil. 

  • It only takes about four months for hemp to grow. This makes it a highly sustainable crop for farmers. By adding it to their crop rotation, farmers could expect bigger yields from other crops since the hemp enriches the soil while removing various toxins at the same time.

  • Hemp leaves and stems are full of nutrients. By returning them to the soil, it can make the soil more fertile and rejuvenate the area for greater crop yields.

  • Do you like breathing clean air? A study from Cambridge University discovered hemp captures twice as much carbon dioxide as a forest of trees. That comes out to about 8 to 15 tonnes of CO2 per one hectare of industrial hemp when compared to the 2 to 6 tonnes absorbed by forests.

  • Deforestation has not slowed down and it only continues to increase, but hemp could be the solution we’re looking for. Not only could it replace trees as the source for paper and wood, but hemp also grows much faster, so you can produce more material in less time and even get a product that’s stronger than normal paper from trees. 

And this is just the beginning…

arial view of about 10 hemp seedlings in their planted pots