A global enterprise based in Spain may seem an unlikely role model for a fledging American Indian initiative. But inspired by its success, Winona’s Hemp and Heritage Farm in Anishinaabeg territory is sowing the start of an intertribal cooperative consortium.
The new endeavor, called the Indigenous Hemp and Cannabis Farmers Cooperative, is laying the groundwork for the envisioned network. Farm owner Winona LaDuke and fellow founders intend to support the development of seeds, Indigenous standards, cultivation, value-added processing, appropriate technologies, and fair-trade markets.
LaDuke spoke to other Native hemp growers during a recent informational meeting at Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, located not far from Oglala Lakota tribal offices. Alerting listeners to an Aug. 17-18 fundraiser for the cooperative cause, she said, “I hope that some seeds are in the ground, and we will pray for gentle rains.” She announced the initiative at the fundraiser, a concert featuring folk singer-songwriter David Huckfelt at Madeline Island in Lake Superior.