Conference Reports

Frankfurt, Germany

John E. Dvorak1 and Gero Leson2
1 Boston Hemp Cooperative, Boston, MA
2 nova - Institute for Political and Ecological Innovation, Berkeley, California

        The 2nd International BIO-RESOURCE HEMP symposium, organized by the nova-Institute, was held in Frankfurt, Germany from February 27 through March 2, 1997.  Three hunderd and fifty attendees absorbed the information presented by more than seventy speakers from twenty-one countries during this information-intensive forum.  Here, it was demonstrated that a staggering amount of research, development, and implementation in the area of industrial hemp has occurred since the BIORESOURCE HEMP ‘95.  As in 1995, the symposium was divided into sessions covering: updates from relevant countries, breeding and farming, processing and product lines, and marketing.  In addition, satellite sessions of the National Hemp Forum-Germany and a Cannabinoid Forum were held at the same time.

Figure 1.  BioFach '97 atrium draped in hemp cordage.

        Presentations were given by:

        Evening activities centered around the “Hemp Hotel” Am Rosenberg in the hilly Frankfurt suburb of Hofheim.  Here, attendees and presenters gathered to continue the symposium in a more informal manner.   The overall spirit of enthusiasm and cooperation resulted in the forging of new relationships and in the solidification of existing ones.  Strangers were, in fact, stopping strangers just to shake their hand.  The BIORESOURCE HEMP symposium was held as part of BioFach ‘97, the world’s largest trade fair for ecological products, where hundreds of exhibiting companies filled several floors in the large Frankfurt convention center.

Figure 2.  Dave Pate of the IHA addresses the symposium.

        The following provides an abbreviated overview of major presentations at the conference.  Short versions of many of them are contained in the symposium magazine distributed by the nova-Institut at the conference.   The respective papers will be published in the proceedings (see note at the end of this article).

Figure 3.  Bioresource '97 symposium auditorium.

Country updates
        Canada is entering its fourth consecutive year of hemp cultivation, even if its purpose is only for research.   Research plots, approved by the government, provide Canadian farmers, manufacturers, and scientists with invaluable first hand experience in growing, processing, and analyzing hemp.  Hempline Inc., which in 1994 became the first company to legally grow hemp in North America, was represented by their Director of Operations, Geoffrey G. Kime.  He emphasized the need to develop the primary and secondary processing infrastructure that will be required once the government allows commercial cultivation of hemp.  As such, Hempline is developing a decortication process and they are actively developing potential markets for hemp fiber.
        Australia is growing hemp for research purposes in several states.  Their results have been discouraging, in part, because they were using Northern Hemisphere seed cultivars from France.  Seed cultivars from India and Chile will be analyzed to determine if they can be adapted for use in Australia.
        An estimated 2,400 hectares (ha) of hemp will be grown in England in 1997.  This compares to the 1,200 ha grown there in 1995.   The U.K.’s largest hemp company, Hemcore, is selling horse bedding made from hemp hurds, and limited amounts of bast fiber for pulping.  They are also working with the textile industry to develop spinning technology.
        While it is still illegal to grow hemp in Denmark, the Society for Danish Hemp is lobbying for research trials.  They are focusing on using renewable resources to create a sustainable society.
        Some of the most impressive progress is being made in the Netherlands, where 1,500 ha of hemp will be planted in 1997.  HempFlax has invested heavily in the development of harvesting and processing machinery.   Their harvester cuts the hemp stalks into uniform lengths of 60 cm at a rate of 2 ha per hour.  HempFlax’s decorticator, which was developed in secrecy, may be made available to interested concerns in the near future.  The company now intends to focus on the production and marketing of pulp and paper from hemp.
        After a thirty year absence, hemp was once again planted in Austria in 1995 on 160 ha.  In 1997, it is anticipated that 800 ha will be cultivated.  There are currently 17 hemp stores in Austria, nearly twice as many as one year ago.
        In Poland, there are two spinneries producing hemp yarn and two facilities weaving fabric.  Research has resulted in the development of a “plasma” treatment for hemp paper, three types of hemp particle-board, and synthetics-free hemp construction materials for houses.
        The loss of subsidies in 1988 caused hemp production in Hungary to decrease dramatically.  In 1996, approximately 1,200 ha of hemp were grown within 25 km of two privatized factories.  This is down from five fiber separation factories operating in 1988.  Approximately 60% of the hemp grown in Hungary is exported.
        Romania’s 1996 hemp production from 1,000 ha was processed in one of its six factories.  Burning hemp hurds provides a portion of the processing plants’ energy.  There are also four spinning mills using the long hemp fibers and four weavers working with hemp.  Romania’s hemp processing facilities are currently operating at one-eighth of their total capacity of 40 tons per month.
        While Yugoslavia’s 1949 production of 60,000 ha of hemp represented 25% of Europe’s total (and 6% of global production), only 1,000 ha will be planted in 1997.  Hemp, and its closely related cousin, hops, have been studied at a research facility in Backi Petrovac since 1952.  There are five fiber separation plants and four processing facilities operating in Yugoslavia.   The extraction of hemp seed oil using pressurized carbon dioxide is also being researched.
        In its first year of “modern” hemp farming, 1,000 ha were grown in Germany in 1996.  Michael Karus of the nova-Institut summarized experiences with growing, harvesting and processing.  He also presented the findings of nova’s Hemp Product Line Project (see article and review in this issue) and suggested that considerable opportunities exist for the development of a German hemp industry.  Its success will depend on whether hemp products that compete with conventional products, economically and technically, can be implemented within the next 5 years.  This will require the establishment of a functional processing infrastructure coupled with industry’s willingness to investigate the suitability of hemp for their products.  For 1997, hemp farming on 2,000 ha is expected.
        Russia plays host to an ambitious hemp program.   Founded in 1922, the Vavilov Research Institute (VIR) in St. Petersburg has collected nearly 500 accessions of hemp.  This germplasm collection is made up of hemp cultivars found throughout the former Soviet Union as well as China, Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Germany, and other countries.  The value of this collection lies in its genetic diversity.  Characteristics such as fiber and seed content, and frost and drought resistance can be bred using the VIR collection as a source of initial materials.  However, the breakup of the Soviet Union has left the VIR in dire need of funds to enable preservation of the existing collection and to obtain new specimens for analysis and storage.  The International Hemp Association began a five year project in 1993 to help guarantee the survival of the VIR’s collection, but additional donations are needed to assure its success.
        The presentations during Day 1 of the symposium made it evident that interest in hemp is world-wide in nature, with much of the increase in farming area, innovation and development coming from Europe and Canada.

        Creating and maintaining hemp varieties that possess specific desirable characteristics, such as a low THC and high fiber or seed oil content, is a prerequisite for the establishment of a broadly based hemp industry.   Manufacturers’ requirements for consistent fiber quality present additional challenges to hemp breeders.  One of the true pioneers in this field is Ivan Bócsa of the GATE Institute in Kompolt, Hungary.  Dr. Bócsa, who has been breeding hemp in Hungary for over 40 years, has developed several varieties of low-THC hemp, including ‘Kompolti’.  Its inclusion on the European Union’s list of certified low-THC varieties in December of 1996 means that France’s virtual monopoly on the European hemp seed market may soon end.  Dr. Bócsa’s experience and enthusiasm were evident as he discussed various types of hemp and different breeding techniques.
        The nutritional value of hemp seed is now being recognized outside of the hemp community.  Nutrients and oil yield vary by seed variety.  Several organizations are using gas chromatography to analyze the nutritional qualities of various hemp types.  This may result in the identification or breeding of hemp varieties that contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, tocopherols, etc.

        Two German researchers, Hans Bernd von Butlar and Frank Höppner summarized the results of comparative farming trials involving 17 European cultivars.  They suggested that late Hungarian varieties yield as much as 13 tons of dry matter/ha and 4.2 tons/ha of retted fiber.  Typical fiber yields were 2.5-3.5 tons/ha.
        Hayo van der Werf of the International Hemp Association (IHA), discussed the effect of plant density on development and light interception in fiber hemp.  His research revealed that the density of the hemp canopy is related to weather conditions, nutrients, and distance between plants.  A lower plant density hastens flowering, which in turn, stops the vegetative growth cycle and thereby decreases the yield.
        Daike Lohmeyer of the nova-Institut in Germany, listed the potential benefits which hemp may provide to organic farming.  She noted that hemp helps prevent soil erosion and that hemp’s deep root structure prevents nitrogen wash-out.
        One of the few American presenters at the symposium, John McPartland, gave a short, but detailed lecture on diseases and pests.   McPartland discussed many of the factors that can cause disease including fungi, mold, mildew, leaf spot, bacteria, viruses, pollution, and low nutrients.  He also talked about how hemp can be used to control parasitic soil nematodes.  Nematodes, which are a problem for farmers in central Canada, destroy the root structure of their host.  Because most nematodes do not attack hemp roots, planting hemp in rotation helps to suppress these pests, thus improving the quality of the soil for subsequent non-hemp crops.

Fiber separation
        The efficient separation of hemp stalk into its constituents, bast fiber and hurds, has historically been the major obstacle to large-scale commercial use.  Fiber processing equipment used in Eastern Europe is antiquated and inefficient.  Availability of modern processing technologies will be crucial to the re-establishment of hemp as an industrial crop.  Several methods of fiber separation were discussed including mechanical, chemical, and ultrasound.   Michael Karus gave an overview of the various processing routes now being pursued in Germany.  Sufficient mechanical processing capacities have now been established but are, as discussed by Bernd Frank of BaFa, not without their initial technical problems.  Advanced physical-chemical processes for the production of fine fiber qualities, such as the steam explosion process developed at the IAF Reutlingen and the ultrasound technology promoted by Ecco, exist on the pilot scale, but have yet to be implemented on the industrial scale.

Seeds and oil
        Several presentations on the various uses and characteristics of hemp seed were given.  David Pate, of the IHA, pointed out many of the positive dietary characteristics of hemp seed including its high content of easily digestible protein along with a nutritious oil rich in linoleic, linolenic, g-linolenic and stearidonic acids.  Pate feels that the importance of these items in the human diet necessitates additional research into methods of oil extraction and storage.
        Helga Mölleken and Roland Thiemer presented data from their extensive survey of the fatty acid composition of Cannabis seed from diverse origins (see page 13).
        Roman Przybylski, University of Manitoba, spoke about the effect of climatic conditions on oil composition of European varieties of hemp grown in Canada.  He has analyzed seven different cultivars and believes that the agronomic conditions of Western Canada help to stimulate the formation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are important to the nutritional quality of hemp seed oil.   Another important characteristic of hemp seed oil is the existence of tocopherols, which are defined as any of several fat-soluble oily phenolic compounds with varying degrees of antioxidant “Vitamin E” activity.  Dr. Przybylski is also conducting research into extracting oil from slightly crushed hemp seeds using solvents and highly compressed liquefied gas.  Methods such as these are able to recover a higher percentage of hemp seed oil than the traditional cold-pressing methods.

Product lines
        One of the most exciting areas in the modern hemp industry involves the different product lines that are evolving.   Axel Hermann, German Aerospace Research Center (DLR), discussed the opportunities for hemp (or other renewable fibers) in composites using the biodegradable resins which have been developed in recent years that show a range of potential, non-structural applications in aircraft and automotive construction.
        Jörg Müssig, FIBRE Institut, Bremen, reported on promising results from trials of the production of non-wovens (needle-punched carpets, geotextiles) from hemp fiber.  He also introduced the concept of, and potential products from, hemp silage.  It involves cutting and shredding hemp stalks and compacting them in a silo.  Anaerobic conversion of pectins into lactic acid conserves the fiber.  Compared to conventional cutting and field retting, it minimizes the risk of crop losses due to bad weather conditions.  For certain product lines, such as needle-punched mats, silage may also eliminate the need for decortication or mechanical refining.  The starch-gel produced during this fermentation may serve as a binder and allow ready production of form-pressed parts from silage.
        Mixing hemp hurds with lime, sand, salicylic acid and water creates a cement that can be used to build houses or refurbish existing structures.  Heiko Schiller, of the Historische Baumaterialien in Germany, discussed how this hemp mixture goes through a petrification process as the materials interact.   The hardened mixture produces a thermally and acoustically insulating material which has a high tensile strength, inhibits fungi and mold, and is lighter in weight than conventional cement.
        The pulp & paper panelists proposed that plenty of potential exists for hemp in this sector.  Gero Leson, nova-Institute, discussed opportunities for hemp in the paper market.  He noted that the current price of hemp pulp, (US $2,000-$3,300/t v.s. US $500-$900/t for wood pulp) prohibits its use in commodity papers (printing, writing, packaging, household) which comprise 90% of the entire paper market.  The higher prices for specialty products like filter papers and cigarette papers allow hemp to compete on the basis of price in this market.   Hemp-based paper does have several physical advantages over wood-based paper including strength, porosity, density, and opacity.  Paper made from non-wood pulp is used to produce a mere 0.3% of the total paper market.  In Germany, hemp is used to produce 2% of all non-wood paper (700 tons per year).  Hemp’s market share in the paper industry should increase as more efficient processing techniques are developed.   Examples of potential technologies which have been tried on the pilot scale were presented by researchers and developers from Germany, The Netherlands, and the Ukraine.   Stephan Grötzschel of Neusiedler AG, an Austrian paper manufacturer, introduced their high quality printing paper from 30% hemp hurd and 70% softwood pulp.

Best of the rest
        The last afternoon of the conference featured two “celebrities” in quite different areas related to Cannabis.   Mathias Bröckers, who is partly responsible for the rebirth of the German hemp industry, discussed the future of hemp markets.  Bröckers’ 1993 expanded German edition of Herer’s book The Emperor Wears No Clothes was an immediate success.   In 1994, he opened Germany’s first retail hemp store, HanfHaus, with a total of twelve different products.  Three years later, the 16 HanfHaus stores operating in Germany carry hundreds of hemp products, many of them developed and produced by HanfHaus.   In addition, he is involved in various projects for the farming, production and marketing of hemp products.
        During the specialty forum on cannabinoids, the man credited with identifying the chemical structure of THC in 1964, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, spoke about the medicinal uses of cannabinoids.  The engaging Mechoulam, who has been studying the subject for over thirty years, talked about how cannabinoids have been proven beneficial in the treatment of several ailments, including multiple sclerosis and asthma.
        Other presentations during this last day addressed the need to establish investment structures for necessary equipment and facilities, and integral marketing concepts creating a “net identity” for hemp products.  Experiences gained during the 1996 farming season were presented in the National Hemp Forum-Germany by farmers, the staff at agricultural institutions and academic researchers.
        One of the primary reasons for holding the BIORESOURCE HEMP symposium is to allow people involved in the hemp industry to meet each other, exchange information and develop ideas for projects.  While the symposium was very successful in that respect, the need for an ongoing flow of information, possibly using the Internet was highlighted by Matthew Huijgen, who is attempting to create a comprehensive World Wide Web hemp resource, the non-profit Hemp-Cyber Farm
        Despite the difficult logistics and economics of an international event of this size, the nova-Institut intends to organize a 3rd BIORESOURCE HEMP in 1999.  We feel that opportunities to meet and discuss experiences and ideas “in-person” will continue to be crucial for the gradual development of a global hemp industry.
        NOTE: The symposium’s proceedings are scheduled for publication this August.  Copies of the symposium magazine are also still available.  For information on both publications contact nova’s Hürth/Cologne office by fax (+49-2233-978369) or e-mail (100675.1134@compu-serve.com).   Questions and comments can also be directed to John E. Dvorak at boston.hemp@pobox.com or 617-254-HEMP.
(Photos by Paul von Hartman)

Canada’s Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium

Sara K. Francis

Canadian Industrial Hemp Council (CIHC),
2381 Hunter St., Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K 4V7
tel.: 902/423-1661, fax: 902/494-3728, e-mail: skfranci@is2.dal.ca

        This winter (though the weather felt like Spring to most Canadians) a major hemp event was held at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.  On February 18th and 19th, 1997, the first annual Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium, hosted by Wiseman Noble Marketing, opened its arms to hundreds of people wishing to learn more about industrial hemp.  The symposium consisted of an international speakers series of international hemp experts, and a trade show for industrial hemp producers, manufacturers, whole-salers, retailers, and interest groups.
        The speakers series consisted of a full agenda of speakers on industrial hemp research and development, interspersed with discussion panels on various aspects of the emerging hemp industry.
        The first morning kicked off with a Canadian focus, as Geof Kime, from Hempline Inc., the first company to legally grow hemp in North America in over 50 years, revealed many of his experiences with growing hemp over the past three seasons.  Mr. Kime stated that the time has come to develop Canadian hemp varieties, and a processing and manufacturing infrastructure for this new crop within Canada.  He also quashed fears some people have of recreational Cannabis varieties growing within industrial hemp fields, citing that the density of hemp fields precludes anyone walking through them to find a hidden section, the easy visibility of a clearing from the air, and the fact that for fibre production, harvesting usually occurs before complete flowering: facts that ‘newcomers’ are often unaware of.
        Dr. Jace Callaway, from Finland, was the next speaker.  Sporting a long, shiny mane of hair which he attributed to hemp oil consumption, Dr. Callaway enlivened the audience with his passion for organic chemistry as he elaborated on his hemp oil research.  He also revealed a fast-maturing Finnish oil seed variety of Cannabis that he developed from two seed accessions originating at the Vavilov Research Institute (VIR) in St. Petersburg, Russia, and related how they grew well in the Nordic latitudes.
        A discussion panel on Canadian research followed, comprised of the following speakers: Dr. Stan Blade (plant breeder and agronomist) and Dr. Refe Gaudiel (crop diversification specialist), both from Alberta Agriculture; Jean Laprise, an industrial hemp farmer from Ontario; Dr. Jack Moes, a new crops agronomist from Manitoba Agriculture; Dr. Gordon Scheifele, a research crop scientist and industrial hemp researcher from Ontario, and Wayne Wasylciw, a biofibre consultant from the Alberta Research Council.  These speakers reported the findings of their personal research and/or involvement with industrial hemp.
        Mark Parent, from the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), presented information on the CAW campaign for an environmentally and economically sustainable future for Canadians.  Their regional environmental council is supporting the legalization of industrial hemp in Canada since they view it as an opportunity to create jobs while also helping the economy and the environment.
        Medwick Byrd Jr., from the Wood and Paper Sciences department at North Carolina State University, exuberant yet cautious, discussed the processes involved in producing industrial hemp.  He cautioned that industrial hemp, if not processed properly, could be worse for the environment than softwood pulp production.  Mr. Byrd also reminded potential processors that industrial hemp is like any other new fibre, and must become a subject of market research before investments are finalized.
        The opening day of the speakers series ended with a discussion panel on Hemp Pulping Technologies.  This panel included Mr. Byrd; Brian McClay, from the Canadian Pulp & Paper Association; Bill Snyder, from Environmental Pulping Technologies and John Stahl, from Evanescent Press.  This animated discussion period was peppered with people asking questions from the floor and venting their concerns over the production and use of tree pulp in paper manufacturing.
        The second day was just as busy and informative as the first.  It started off with John Hobson, from Hemcore Ltd. (UK).  Mr. Hobson related his experiences with growing industrial hemp over the past few years, and reported that in 1996, Hemcore grew 4,000 acres.  He answered many questions from the audience about the state of industrial hemp in Europe and its value in relation to other fibres, such as flax, especially in light of the subsidies from the European Union.
        Textile processing was the focus of Dr. Kai Nebel’s talk.  Dr. Nebel, a researcher with the Institute for Applied Research, shared his knowledge on processing hemp fibres for textile applications, focusing on steam explosion techniques.  He also stressed the importance of markets, the relationship between the market and the consumer and how, especially with industrial hemp, these factors interact with both science and politics.
        The morning discussion panel focused on where hemp could be grown in Canada.  The panelists were Ken Domier, from the University of Alberta; Daryl Ehrensing, from Oregon State University; Sara Francis, from Dalhousie University and David Gehl, from Agriculture Canada.  Information was provided on where hemp had grown in the past, techniques that could be developed to predict where hemp could be grown in different parts of North America, and the many varied products that could be produced from hemp.
        Dr. Ryszard Kozlowski presented information based on research conducted at the Institute of Natural Fibres in Poland.  The institute’s lengthy history of working with hemp has generated a wealth of information ranging from cultivating through processing, which Dr. Kozlowski was able to share with new and future hemp farmers and processors.
        Moving on to hemp’s genetic future, David Watson, Chairman of the International Hemp Association (IHA) and Director of HortaPharm B.V., both based in Amsterdam, discussed the importance of the IHA project to preserved the world’s largest Cannabis seed bank at the VIR.  His inspiring speech recounted the many challenges facing industrial hemp research, and the necessity to preserve the germplasm collection for future research.
        One of the most anticipated aspects of the symposium, at least for Canadians, was the last speaker of the second day.  Ms. Jean Peart, from Health Canada, had been invited to the symposium to present Health Canada’s position on industrial hemp (Health Canada being the regulatory body for all aspects of Cannabis in Canada).  Though she did not reveal that industrial hemp would be made legal in Canada any time soon, she did announce that a process had been put in place that would allow for the development of a regulatory framework for industrial hemp in Canada.  She handled well the frustrations of Canadians hoping to grow commercial hemp crops in Canada and yet having to wait for action on the part of the government.
        The speakers series concluded with a discussion panel on how a regulatory framework for commercial hemp production in Canada could be developed.  Given that Ms. Peart had previously announced that the Canadian government would be releasing a draft document on this topic in the near future, there was not much to discuss, though some possible options were presented.
        In a ballroom next to the speakers series hall, the hemp trade show was visited by hundreds of people interested in finding out more about industrial hemp.  Many hemp wholesalers and retailers had set up booths to show and sell their wares.  Groups such as the Canadian Industrial Hemp Council, one of the sponsors of the Symposium, and the Hemp Industries Association were there to provide information on industrial hemp.  Everyone enjoyed this fast-paced atmosphere where hempsters networked amongst each other, and the curious were exposed to the multitude of products that are now (and will be) made out of hemp.  There were even spinners spinning hemp, and a booth where you could watch hemp paper being made by hand.
        All in all, the symposium was a great success.   This was the largest industrial hemp event in Canada to date, building on smaller con-ferences in 1996 held in Winnipeg and Toronto.  There are rumors that next year the Symposium will be held in Montreal, Quebec, to give people from the other side of our vast country a chance to also find out about industrial hemp.

Fiber Futures ‘97

John Roulac

        The Fiber Futures ‘97 Conference and Product Expo drew 150 attendees from across the U.S., Canada and as far as Europe.   The theme of June 1-2, 1997 Monterey, California conference was, “Cultivating Profitable and Sustainable Fibers for the 21st Century” and it brought together an eclectic mix of Fortune 500 executives, ecologists, entrepreneurs, farmers, policy makers and fiber enthusiasts to share ideas on the opportunities of transforming sustainable fibers, including agricultural straws, banana, bamboo, flax, hemp, kenaf, and organic cotton, into useful products.
        Keynote speaker, David Morris of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, set the tone with a motivational sermon on the imperative of developing a carbohydrate-based economy.  You-Lo Hsieh of U.C. Davis discussed the technical parameters of various fiber properties and Sue Hall of Strategic Environmental Association spoke about the potentials of the various fiber markets.  Overall, there were six separate “tracks” each targeting either paper, building, textiles, financing, processing or agricultural residues.  Many attendees noted that it was hard to chose which track to attend.
        Fiber Futures ‘97 was held in conjunction with the California Resource Recovery Association’s annual “Zero Waste” recycling conference which drew, by itself, over one thousand people.  A standing-room-only crowd enjoying the Sustainable Fibers Fashion Show produced by Sandra Marquart of the environmental group Mothers & Others.  Instead of using professional models, industry representatives including Julie Lewis of Deep E (formerly Deja Shoes), Mark Brown of Patagonia, Neils Peter Flint from the Danish Hemp Society and Jeff Lindenthal of Greenfield Paper graced the runways in this exciting show.  The exhibit hall had seventeen fiber booths showcasing banana and bamboo paper, organic cotton and hemp mattresses, rice and wheat fiber building materials, and hemp and organic cotton fashions.  The Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility created an extensive Builders and Designers Showcase demonstrating 100+ renew-able/sustainable products.  A hands-on papermaking demonstration by Cal Ling was also quite popular.
        Conference highs included the introduction (by Crane & Co. Inc. current supplier of US currency paper) of a new line of tree-free (hemp/flax /kenaf) paper for Winter 1997 under the trademark, “Pioneer Papers”.   Prototype hemp carpet samples from Interface Carpets (a billion dollar Atlanta, Georgia-based company) were part of the Builders and Designers Showcase.  The Missouri Textile and Apparel Center at the University of Missouri is circulating a proposal to create an integrated network of farmers, designers, spinners, weavers, knitters, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers sharing the common vision of creating sustainable textile and apparel fiber products.
        While developing a first-time conference is never easy, we are pleased with the positive feedback from attendees and exhibitors.   Business orders were consumated on the floor and new contacts were developed, all provided with a backdrop of the beautiful Monterey coastline.

        John Roulac is President of HEMPTECH, The Industrial Hemp Information Network and producer of the Fiber Futures ‘97 Conference and Product Expo.  Readers are invited to e-mail us (info@fiberfutures.com) to be placed on the mailing list to receive updates on future events or may write Fiber Futures ‘97, P.O. Box 1716, Sebastopol, CA 95473.  Some FF ‘97 session recordings are available on micro-cassette from Richard Reese, Audio Productions, 8806 S. Lake Stevens Rd., Everett, WA 98205-2912, tel. (206) 335-5223, fax (206) 334-7866.