Many significant events have
occurred since our last issue. In March, we were involved with the Bioresource Hemp
Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany (see page 43), undoubtedly the greatest scientific and
trade event for hemp in a generation. The synergy of locating it within Europe's
largest "organic" products trade fair was a stroke of genius on the part of
Michael Karus and he is to be heartily congratulated on a job well done. The IHA
helped with coordinating the attendance of many notables, including Dr. Lester Grinspoon,
author of the recent book, Marijuana: the Forbidden Medicine, who gave a lecture
on the medical use of Cannabis.
The IHA has been invited to attend other events to cross fertilize the hemp movement with the closely allied ecology movement. On May 18-21, IHA Secretary Dave Pate attended the Ecologica '95 event in Florence, Italy to staff a booth and participate in a panel discussion. An IHA presence at other similar events, such as one in Amsterdam Holland on September 3-4 are in the planning stages.
During the first week of May, IHA Chairman David Watson and IHA Projects Manager Rob Clarke traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, to coordinate the IHA/VIR Cannabis Germplasm Preservation Project. There they found the Russian people's endurance of hardship and their friendly black humor impressive. After meeting with our collaborators, Drs. Sofija Kutuzova and Lyudmila Rumyantseva, we realized that the IHA/VIR program would continue to be administered by capable hands, following Dr. Lemeshev's untimely death. After the VIR work was completed, a meeting was arranged with Dr. Elena Mikolajchuk, Senior Researcher in the Laboratory of Chemical Research of the renowned Hermitage Museum, who presented the IHA with 8 Cannabis seeds from the 2,500 year old Scythian tomb at the Pazyryk Kurgan! Three additional samples of suspected hemp shirt from the same site were also presented. This may be an opportunity for those of you with "high-tech" scientific instruments to develop unambiguous methods for identification of these textiles.
Special thanks are due to Ben Dronkers of Hemp Flax (NLG 3,000), Philip Thomson of Green Machine (GB£ 1,000), Michael Rich of Naturetex International (NLG 1,500), Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery (US$ 1,000), James Wynn of South African Hemp Co. (US$ 100), and James Goodwin of Redeye Press (US$ 100). Due to their generosity, and that of other contributors, we were able to initiate the VIR/IHA project for this year. Without our members and patrons, there would be no VIR/IHA Cannabis Germplasm Preservation Project! However, we are still actively soliciting support for the remaining US$ 5,000 project budget from other IHA members and outside contributors.
We have the tearful duty to report that our esteemed colleague and friend, Hayo van der Werf is leaving us for more regular employment as an agronomic research scientist at an experimental station in France. He will continue to assist us from afar and remains a much-appreciated contributor to this journal. We wish him every success in his new position and hope that an unforeseen new synergism may result from our new arrangement. Meanwhile, the unenviable duty of trying to compensate for his absence falls to the remaining editors. It is our hope that we can maintain Dr. van der Werf's same high standards of scientific and editorial professionalism.
Appropriate for the sowing season, we have the pleasure of reporting that the IHA has provided three French and five Ukrainian hemp cultivars (thanks to John Stahl from Tree of Life), as well as VIR accessions, to a number of projects in several countries (e.g., see letters section). This includes the return of remaining precious VIR stocks of nearly extinct Italian varieties back to Italian soil. The amounts of seed recently supplied by the IHA have ranged from 20 grams to 20 kilograms, all for research trials or pilot projects. We also assisted a few members to obtain multi-ton amounts of hemp seed for agricultural and food purposes, quite an accomplishment considering this season's shortages!
All this good work has occurred in spite of our chronic shortage of funds. We are presently trying to expand our reach through various media, including the Internet. Perhaps one day we will have our very own "Web Page". Further articles about hemp and the IHA will be published soon in Diversity (USA) and Textile Forum (Germany). This publicity helps to attract the new members essential for our health as an organization. As all our projects are funded exclusively through organizational dues and the exceptional generosity of a few, any leads that you may suggest in attracting new members and/or contributors are most welcome. The "bottom line" is that the IHA's effectiveness is determined by you!
|Hayo van der Werf