Asheville, North Carolina is home to the country's first hemp house.
Confession: I have a crush on Asheville. My sister-in-law lives there with her family, and it's one of my favorite places in the whole country! I could eat at Rosetta's Kitchen every day of my life. One of the things that I love most about Asheville is that it's a southern town on the cutting edge of sustainability. It's incredibly vegan friendly, most of the restaurants compost their food scraps, and it has a strong local art scene.
In 2009, an Asheville construction company broke ground on the first hemp house, and the company that designed it - Push Design - continues to build sustainable homes, including hemp homes, in the Asheville area.
Yep! It's a house made of hemp! If you're not familiar with hemp, it's more than just fabric that hippies make into patchwork pants. It's durable and a joy to sew and very low-impact to grow. Like bamboo, hemp needs few pesticides and little water to thrive, and it actually improves soil quality where it grows (unlike dirty cotton). Unlike bamboo, though, hemp is an actual fiber that you can spin into fabric, so there are no questionable chemicals or ethical debates about whether its truly a green fabric.
Hemp gets a bad rep because there's a lot of confusion about its relation to marijuana. You can't smoke hemp, and it's crazy that it's illegal to grow industrial hemp here in the U.S. It's cleaner to grow than cotton, and there's a huge market for hemp fabrics and other hemp materials in the states. Right now, all hemp products have to be imported from Canada and China, where it's legal to grow.
It turns out that beyond making clothing, hemp makes a great green building material called hempcrete! Check out this video all about the Asheville hemp house:
So, what do you guys think? Would you live in a hemp house?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by moonlightbulb