At first glance, it looked like a giant bale of hay.
“1,000 pounds,” Alli Cloyd said. “This weighs about 1,000 pounds.”
Cloyd stood next to the dry stalks rolled into a massive ball.
“Here we a have a 1,000-pound bale of Colorado hemp,” Cloyd said.
There are heaps of hemp all over Cloyd’s property in Boulder County.
“Hemp’s amazing. It’s going to save the world,” she said.
Cloyd is the marketing director for Left Hand Hemp, a company that’s teaching people how to build with what’s called hempcrete. The hardened material is a mixture of hemp hurd, lime and water.
“It’s an insulative material, so it renders your home fireproof, mold-proof, pest-proof and it’s totally non-toxic,” Cloyd said.
Cloyd built a small shed out of hempcrete last year and is finishing up a hempcrete chicken coop.
“France has been building with hempcrete for 60 plus years,” Cloyd said. “Ancient civilizations in China – they built with it.”
Left Hand Hamp is bringing hempcrete to Denver.
“We’re going to be building a 16 by 20-foot workshop,” said Eric McKee.
McKee owns a home in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. He also works for a California-based hemp company. He’s used to the questions about hemp and the common assumption it’s the same as marijuana.
“You always hear can you smoke it? No, you can’t smoke it,” McKee said.
At least 33 states, including Colorado, have passed legislation related to industrial hemp. In 2014, Colorado even started an industrial hemp grant research program so state universities could research hemp and find new industrial applications.
“A lot of people don’t realize all the benefits that growing hemp agriculturally can bring,” Alli Cloyd said.
A spokeswoman for Denver Development Services wasn’t sure if there had been any other applications for permits to build hempcrete structures in the city. Cloyd and McKee are convinced the Left Hand Hemp project will be the first.
“We’re kick starting the industrial hemp revolution, and one of the cornerstones of that industry will be the hempcrete industry,” McKee said.
Volunteers can help build the hempcrete structure in Denver from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. For information about the event and to register, visit the Left Hand Hemp website: https://learnhempcrete.com/