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Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution [Kindle Edition]

Doug Fine
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States–even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.

In Hemp Bound:Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, North Carolina, where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy—Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.

Fine’s journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation’s economy, and for the planet.

Editorial Reviews


“The issue is simple: farmers need hemp, the soil needs hemp, forests need hemp, and humanity needs the plant that the good Lord gave us for our own survival—hemp. The benefits are too many to name, but if hemp was a crop that could be monopolized by industrial Ag corporations it would already be legal. Hemp Bound tells us with detail and humor how to get to the environmental Promised Land. Doug has created a blueprint for the America of the future.”--Willie Nelson

“I never dreamed industrial hemp had so much promise until I read Doug Fine's Hemp Bound. The book is not only fun to read, but it passes along fascinating insights about a farm crop that produces many food and fiber products and is adapted to areas where corn and soybeans are rarely profitable. As the author points out with gracious good humor, industrial hemp is not medical marijuana, and it should become a major farm crop in America as it has elsewhere.”--Gene Logsdon, author of Gene Everlasting and Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind

Kirkus Reviews-

"What might come back along with legalized pot? Only one of the strongest, most versatile plants in the world: hemp. In his latest, self-described “comedic investigative journalist” Fine (Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, 2012, etc.) focuses on the enormous potential applications for industrialized hemp. As the author ably explains, the plant is the government-designated name for all strains of cannabis that have negligible amounts of THC, meaning it can’t get you high. However, it can be used as a wildly strong fiber; when the U.S. government passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, suddenly the U.S. Army found itself lacking in decent ropes. It can also create incongruous benefits, like creating nutritious products based on its oil, and can even be used as a potential energy source. To prove his point, Fine chronicles his trips across North America, visiting and profiling entrepreneurs, advocates, farmers and innovators. In Denver, he took a test drive in a hemp oil–powered Mercedes-Benz; in Winnipeg, Canada, he visited a factory where enthusiasts are crafting composite materials from hemp that could potentially be used in automobiles, airplanes or industrial tools like tractors. The author also makes the point that the United States is the largest market for Canada’s thriving hemp industry, which is regulated smoothly and profitably by its government. Fine is, of course, an accidental activist, too, but it’s hard not to admire his enthusiasm. A short, sweet, logical and funny argument for the potential of one of the world’s most dynamic cash crops.”

“If ever anyone needed proof that government meddling in markets is injurious to innovation, Hemp Bound dispels all doubt. With science and humor, Fine paints an alternative and optimistic future—one that makes growing hemp seem as exhilarating and necessary as clean air. Fine’s style and storytelling ability make this one of the most fun books you’ll ever read about the future of farming.”--Joel Salatin, author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal

“Doug Fine’s engrossing and eye-opening book reveals hemp’s role as a new source of food, energy, and raw materials. This absurd war on one of the world’s most useful plants is about to end, and everyone can declare victory.”--Mark Frauenfelder, founder, Boing Boing

“Hemp is our ancestral ally, one that long provided us with food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Hemp Bound reveals that now is the time to remember this alliance with hemp after years of prohibition, and that although it won’t save us, it can help us. That’s what earth medicine does.”--John Trudell, poet, recording artist, actor, activist, and cofounder of Hempstead Project HEART

“In Hemp Bound, Doug Fine convincingly describes the proven value and amazing potential of the nonpsychoactive variety of the cannabis plant. You can eat it, drink it, read it, tie it, wear it, drive it, live in it, and make money growing it, all while saving the soil and protecting the climate. This is an important story, engagingly told.”--William Martin, senior fellow, drug policy, Rice University’s Baker Institute

Hemp Bound is informative, entertaining, and chock full of stories about hemp farmers, wannabe hemp farmers, passionate activists, and savvy business people. It is a fun book to read and hopefully, alongside aggressive legalization at the state level, it will help break down the roadblocks to production that the cotton, vegetable oil, plastics, lumber, and paper corporations constructed and maintained since shortly after the Second World War. Doug Fine is right: this incredible plant could be a boon to large and small farmers and rural communities—one that we have been prohibited from growing in this country for more than fifty years. Hemp’s time has come again.”--Will Allen, organic farmer; author, The War on Bugs


"Little noticed on the sidelines during the recent media controversy over Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana was a groundbreaking movement in Congress to lift a decades-long ban on the popular intoxicant’s psychoactively inert cousin, hemp. As elucidated in this witty and informative overview of hemp’s enormous agricultural potential, New Mexico-based author and radio reporter Fine argues that not much has ever made sense about the stigma U.S. lawmakers have heaped upon this incredibly versatile plant since it was made illegal back in 1937. Although it bears a strong resemblance to the smokable form of cannabis, hemp is almost completely lacking in THC, the ingredient that bestows marijuana’s much sought-after ‘high.' Hemp’s incredibly strong internal fibers have been used in making everything from rope and paper to durable clothing and eco-friendly housing. In 11 engaging, myth-busting chapters bearing titles such as 'Grow Your Next Home' and 'Patriots Ponder Planting,' Fine makes clear that hemp legalization, assuming it happens, could both boost the American economy and spawn a mini hemp based industrial revolution.”

Acres U.S.A.-

“Fine covers a remarkable amount of ground in his book, so much so that it’s hard to believe that he does it in fewer than 200 pages. He talks to a dizzying variety of people who have special knowledge and experience, whacks his hand on a tractor hood made from hemp, and drops in plenty of historical facts for context. (Humanity has an 8,000-year history with this plant.) If you need a crash course in a commodity that could well turn American agriculture on its head over the next few years, look no further.”

About the Author

Doug Fine is a comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and solar-powered goat herder. He has reported from five continents for The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, The New York Times, Outside, National Public Radio, and U.S. News & World Report. His work from Burma was read into the Congressional Record (by none other than pro-hemp Senator Mitch McConnell), and he won more than a dozen Alaska Press Club awards for his radio reporting from the Last Frontier. Fine is the author of three previous books: Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution; Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living; and Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man. A website of his print work, radio work, and short films is at Twitter: organiccowboy.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking back hemp from the hippies April 2, 2014
No, you can't smoke it. But you can do darn near everything else with it. You can eat it, wear it, build your house with it, fill up your car with it, and improve your soil. It's renewable energy on the stalk. It's a cash crop that doesn't require pesticides. Why industrial hemp was ever outlawed is a puzzler. OK, you CAN smoke the other cannabis cultivar; however, outlawing industrial hemp because it is related to marijuana is really throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Industrial hemp is simply too useful to ignore, a fact that Canadians and Europeans have already figured out. There are quite a few books jumping on the industrial hemp legalization bandwagon, and this one is a good one to get started with. It's a quick easy read and contains a lot of useful and sometimes startling information (Mitch McConnell favors legalization). My only, minor, criticism is that you may end up thinking that hemp is a silver bullet to solve all of humanities problems. Then again, maybe it is.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Grandma Thinks About Hemp Bound... April 8, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Best-selling author, Doug Fine, did his global, hemp homework and turned in a report that will surely garner an A+ across a broad spectrum of readers. He engages us in the exciting drama of hemp's potential, not in an overblown melodrama of Industrial Hemp's US prohibition. Yes, it is disheartening to realize that ignorance, greed, and politics have left the US trailing far behind the rest of the world in the development of restorative hemp industries, but Fine has chosen to succinctly and enjoyably educated us to the promise of hemp.

Hemp Bound left me with a hopeful sense that Industrial Hemp (distinctly different from its psychoactive cousin, Marijuana), can unite a polarized country while restoring health to its environment, its beleaguered economy, and its people. We have passed prohibition's tipping point. The hemp wave has crested and is about to wash its promising bounty across the land.

For years, I've wondered how to use my particular skills and energies to enhance the world I'll leave to my four grandchildren. Hemp Bound has provided clarity: Doug Fine has laid the foundation and fashioned the framework for our hemp future. It falls to the rest of us to continue building. Hemp is a treasure. Hemp Bound is a jewel of a book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very exciting times!! April 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If we can get this right, and keep corporate America out of it, this could be a life changing industry for many farmers out there. Take the time and read this through. I was so excited with the content that I completed this book within a couple days. Doug even gives practical examples of what needs to be done and steps that can be taken. Thanks for the in depth research in this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *Spoilers* May 27, 2014
Basically what this book is about is that hemp is good. Food, fiber, and fuel....and more. There is not much more to say than that. I'd recommend getting this cheap or at a library because once you read the book once it will just sit on a shelf. It doesn't get better (or worse) on second reading because if you read it once you'll already know basically the whole book: hemp is good.

If you are wondering if this book is just a "hey man", peace sign, hippie manifesto, it is not so don't worry. Fine talks to real people and provides real information.

I gave it 4 stars because of one minor thing. In the section on fuel the future vision/dream envisioned is basically a hippie commune where everyone is holding hands, singing songs, living in peace with sustainable energy and everyone is equal and no one person owns the fuel like evil oil; the community does. Sorry, that's not how the world works. The very first sentence on the back of the book starts with "The billion dollar plant...". If hemp is going to make the billions that Fine says it will, it's not going to be a community owned and operated thing. A few people with lots of money are going to try and grab as much hemp as they can get their hands on to get as much money from it as they can. That's just the way the world works. Gasoline, coal, steel, electricity, heck all the way back to Ancient Rome and slaves...only a few rich people controlled everything. It's the same with marijuana. Everyone thinks that now that it's legal in Colorado and other places it's going to be peace on earth...that's not how Capitalism works. A few people with money will force out the small people.

Other than that minor thing, the book was good and i'd recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doug Fine is hilarious and informative! May 29, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Doug would be an excellent teacher because he provides information, but in a way that it is more interesting than it would be normally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking on prohibition history June 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The current agricultural, industrial, and legislative developments involving hemp were well asserted in this book. I finished this book excited about the positive, earth-friendly future this plant can provide in terms of food, fuel, manufacturing, and construction. With all of these grand potentials, why was industrial hemp so readily banned along with its psychoactive cousin? The author simplifies the question with the cliché, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” A little background about the politics and people behind the enactment of prohibition would have made this book a stronger read.

I would recommend this book to someone familiar with the subject, who wants an update on the latest developments. I would not recommend this book someone learning about the subject.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars GO HEMP !!!!!
very informative and enjoyable read / this is a topic near and dear to my heart so I certainly personally enjoyed it even more but also thought his light hearted approach was... Read more
Published 3 days ago by kenmerrimanmd
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed reading the book
I really enjoyed reading the book. I was hoping for a bit more of a how-to as I am interested in possibly growing hemp (once it is legal in my state). Read more
Published 4 days ago by readsalot
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who cares about our planet's future
We need hemp in America and Doug Fine is helping to spread the word. Throughout the book Fine interviews many of the pioneers and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in the... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Jarod
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good source of general up to date info on the Hemp industry.
Published 1 month ago by Jere
5.0 out of 5 stars hemprenneur
Opened my eyes to what industrial cannabis is today & where it is going. Recommend to everyone interested in agriculture, bioeconomy, helps potential etc
Published 2 months ago by Tommi
4.0 out of 5 stars In the words of a wise Bob Dylan..
The times they are a-changing.

This book is just another great reminder to us all how much the world needs this plant more than ever today. Read more
Published 5 months ago by K.Y.L.N 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a hempster to appreciate this book, but expect to...
It's actually hard to find a quality book on hemp. Many claim to offer all sorts of history and information...nothing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Megan S.
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. It's not a how-to on growing hemp, but I knew nothing at all about the plant or it's many uses until I read this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jessica
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done Doug Fine, thank you for writing
Well written book, should be required reading in schools/universities. If industrial hemp were legal thruout the US, we would be making a giant step to help curb global warming! Read more
Published 7 months ago by MARY ELIZABETH MELTON
5.0 out of 5 stars ENJOYED THIS BOOK !!
Good review on Hemp
Published 7 months ago by Chrissy
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More About the Author

After college, Doug Fine strapped on a backpack and traveled to five continents, reporting from remote forests and war zones in Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala and Tajikistan. He has filed radio work for NPR and PRI and is the author of Too High to Fail, Farewell, My Subaru and Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man. His print work has appeared in The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, U.S. News and World Report, The Christian Science Monitor and Outside. Fine lives in a remote valley in New Mexico among a few goats and many coyotes. Visit him online at Fine enjoys hiking, running, kayaking, shamanistic drumming, dancing, gardening, siestas, Peter Sellers movies, hot springs, massages, reading and staying alive. He is not quite competent at the saxophone, though he can catch a mean salmon.


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