Paul “River” Richardson (L) works with participants in a hemp building workshop. Photo courtesy of HavenEarth.

By Paul “River” Richardson
At a time when many businesses and industries are collapsing under the weight of the restrictions and mandates, many people are looking for ways to pivot from their existing careers into new ways of earning a living and supporting their families.

Interestingly, one of the main arenas of society which has boomed during these challenging times has been the construction industry. People always need homes, and with the shift toward spending more time indoors and traveling less, we are becoming way more conscious of the environments we live in. Additionally, large numbers of people are relocating and are looking for building materials that are healthy and good for the planet. 

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The benefits of hempcrete (or hemplime) are buildings that are rot and mold resistant, termite and pest proof, fire resistant, and super insulative. When global industry construction standards are aimed at tightly sealed toxic boxes pumping in mechanical air, building breathing, healthy living environments is revolutionary. In Europe, hemp has been used as a building material for decades, yet in some ways the hemp building Industry has remained somewhat in the background. With the processing of industrial hemp in the United States quickly coming online, industrial hemp is poised to make its way to the mainstream, and sooner than most would believe.

Since its legalization in the US in 2018, industrial hemp has been steadily developing, but on the surface has made little noticeable progress with only a handful of American made hemp homes and products. Until recently, the majority of materials were sourced from Europe or China. The processing of the raw agricultural materials has been the main challenge in the US, and it has been exactly this that has spurred massive development and innovations for the specific processing/decorticating equipment needed to turn the biomass into usable forms.

Great news, just in the last year more processing facilities are emerging across the country,  from Texas to Montana, Kansas to Colorado and beyond. Finally, it seems, the industry is ready to emerge and stand on its own feet for the first time in the United States. The question is, are we ready for it?

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With all this development, the demand for hemp buildings is rapidly increasing in the US. At the state and national levels, due to its fire resistant properties, hempcrete is being heralded as a solution for fire damaged regions.

Even big real estate developers are proposing to build entire communities with hempcrete as they sense the shift toward more ecological and earth friendly homes and conscious consumers. Yet still, the majority of the population has little understanding of hemp homes or the industry, which translates into a general lack of skilled and trained hemp building professionals, and workforce.

Right now, one of the most pressing needs is to educate both the end users and the potential hemp builders about the benefits of hemp, and how to get involved. This is a multi billion dollar building industry, and with the right training and education could offer people the ability to pivot at a time when solutions are essential to their future.

In an effort to grow the workforce of the future, Haven Earth is offering comprehensive training to assist those looking to pivot into the industry, get the training and support they need and be part of the network of emerging entrepreneurs that see a bright future ahead with hemp.

The upcoming Natural Building with Hemp Certification Course will be held in March in Texas at the Saoirse Learning Center in Blanco. Owner, Jennifer Bailey, is excited to host the workshop and introduce another affordable, attractive, livable housing solution and think the opportunities with hemp are much more viable going forward. The mission behind the center is to showcase low-cost housing design and construction. This three-week program will prepare skilled builders around the country to be able to secure work on projects that are already in the pipeline. For more information about the upcoming workshop email

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Originally published February 25, 2022 on Hemp Building Mag