An industrial hemp crop has been planted at Mount Vernon, Virginia in what the estate managers call a truer interpretation of the land as it was once run by the nation’s first president.
According to a report by The Zebra Press, Dean Norton — the director of horticulture for Mount Vernon — recently partnered with Dr. Michael Timko of the University of Virginia’s industrial hemp program to plant hemp seeds across a 1,000 square foot area at the founding father’s historic homestead.
Historians believe that George Washington strongly favored hemp as an agricultural product, and at one point he is thought to have believed that the plant could overpower tobacco and wheat as the country’s most important cash crop. Though Washington eventually changed his mind, he continued to cultivate hemp at Mount Vernon, which was used to create rope, thread, and canvas that was put to use around the plantation.
“Through this program, we have been able to return a primary crop to Mount Vernon that has not been grown since Washington’s time which is extraordinary. The processing of hemp will help to expand our rich agricultural interpretive program.” — Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s Director of Horticulture, to The Zebra Press
Norton said that when the crop is harvested, the Mount Vernon hemp plants will be used to provide fiber-making demonstrations in late summer.
Virginia‘s legislature established the state’s industrial hemp program in 2015.