When Stratford native Danyka Dunseith decided to leave her public relations job in Toronto two years ago to farm hemp on her grandmother’s farm northeast of Stratford, some called her crazy.
But for Dunseith, the move was calculated. Though she didn’t have much in the way of practical farming experience, she gained insight into the burgeoning cannabis and hemp industries after she was hired to help promote cannabidiol (CBD) products, a PR contract that proved to be her last.
After convincing her grandmother to end an agreement with the company that had been renting her 30-hectare (75-acre) farm, Dunseith approached her with a well-researched business plan to produce hemp on the family farm.
Industrial hemp, unlike cannabis, is a crop that can be – and has been – used for centuries, for everything from clothing and paper to building materials and biofuel. This is a market that’s been largely untapped in Canada, partly because hemp is difficult to process and there are very few processors in North America.
And while Dunseith said the medicinal market is still hampered for many producers by Health Canada regulations, hemp – with higher concentrations of CBD – can be used to treat the symptoms of a long list of ailments.
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