By Neal St. Anthony, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Dustin Vanasse, a Minnesota farm boy turned chef for 15 years, owns a small Twin Cities outfit called Bare Honey. He was attracting attention like bees on honey last week at the big Winter Fancy Food trade show in San Francisco. Vanasse, 38, is a few years into a cutting-edge trend: making and bottling honey from bee colonies raised on restored, pollinator-friendly habitat also used for solar energy farms in rural Minnesota and elsewhere. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has noted that pollinator-based products, from lip balm to honey-infused beer, is a fast-growing trend. Meanwhile, the state is on track to increase from 2% to 5% or more the next few years the amount of power generated from solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. Continue reading here.
Photo Credit: Bare Honey
Potentially Co-Locating Solar and Industrial Hemp Crops
- Hemp Production in Nebraska, CropWatch, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hemp (Cannabis sativa) has been a major crop globally for centuries, used for the production of fiber, medicine, and other products. In the 2018 farm bill, industrial hemp was removed from the controlled substance list and hemp farmers were made eligible for federal crop insurance and researchers were enabled to apply for federal grants. In that year US hemp production increased to 78,176 acres, an increase of more than 200% from 2017 when hemp was grown for research. Nebraska legalized hemp production for fiber, grain, or cannabidiol (CBD) in 2019, with the condition that plant parts of industrial hemp have a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Production and use of marijuana and THC for medical and recreational purposes remain illegal in Nebraska.
- Hemp Program, Nebraska Department of Agriculture
- Study: Hemp Could Help Declining Honeybee Population, Forbes
A study from Colorado State University reports that industrial hemp could help declining bee populations—a source of great ecological concern—because it’s a great source of pollen.
- What are the benefits of co-locating solar and crop production? See: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar, Department of Energy
- Eco Friendly Has a New Name: Hemp!, J-Tech Solar
- Hemp, Kutak Rock
Photo: Ismail Dweikat, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor of agronomy and horticulture, has been researching hemp production in small plots for the last two crop seasons.