The Farmington Historic Plantation was once a thriving hemp farm. | Courtesy of Farmington Historic Plantation
The Farmington Historic Plantation was once a thriving hemp farm. | Courtesy of Farmington Historic Plantation

The Farmington Historic Plantation received quite a gift for its 200th birthday. Hemp, which was once a thriving crop at the historic farm, will be planted again after decades of prohibition. The home has been approved to participate in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2016 Hemp Pilot Program and will cultivate a small plot for research and educational purposes.

10481055_10153498859360911_5561098414578139503_oTo celebrate the return of the crop, they’re hosting Hemp Discovery Day on Saturday, April 30.

Farmington — which was owned by John and Lucy Speed and hosted Abraham Lincoln as a guest — once had 550 acres of hemp throughout the 19th century. The hemp plot will join the plantation’s “Farmington Grown” initiative of growing non-GMO, heirloom and organic crops on six of its 18 acres.

“Returning to our roots has been our mission here at Farmington,” says executive director Diane Young in a press release. “Participating in the Hemp Pilot Program seems only fitting. We are excited to share and celebrate our hemp heritage while educating as many people as we can about the uses and benefits of the industrial hemp plant.”

Hemp can be made into cloth, textiles, biodegradable plastics, paper, fuel and wax, and it’s often used in a variety of foods since its seeds are high in protein. Young says she hopes the hemp and the opportunities it might provide will help raise funds for the nonprofit home, which relies solely on community support.

“It was wealth derived from the cultivation of hemp that built Farmington 200 years ago, and I truly believe hemp could provide Farmington with an additional source of financial support some day,” she says.

Farmington is working with Kentucky Hempsters, as well as its parent company United Hemp Industries (UHI), to help with various educational activities, including Saturday’s event. UHI donated the hemp seeds for the project.

“Our company is eager to work with Farmington,” says UHI principal Kirstin Bohnert. “Not only is it the perfect place to showcase and demonstrate the industrial purposes of the hemp plant, it’s historically relevant. It is our pleasure to facilitate parts of this project, as Farmington was instrumental to the hemp industry many years ago.”

Hemp farming was popular in the 19th century. | Courtesy of Farmington Historic Plantation
Hemp farming was popular in the 19th century. | Courtesy of Farmington Historic Plantation

Hemp Discovery Day will take place from 4-9 p.m. and feature on-site hemp fiber processing demonstrations; cooking with hemp sessions; food trucks like Holy Mole and Sweet & Savory who have incorporated hemp into their fare; live music by Tom Boone & the Back Porch Pickers; and home tours. Admission is $10 per family/group.

The Farmington Historic Plantation is located at 3033 Bardstown Road.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."