2010 HIA Convention Wrap-Up
HIA Convention 2010
2010 HIA Convention Wrap-Up

San Francisco Meeting Was a Success

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 1, 2010 - The seventeenth annual HIA Convention was held November 7th and 8th at the Holiday Inn Civic Center in San Francisco, directly after the Green Festival where the HIA organized the HIA Hemp Pavilion. The three previous HIA conventions were held in Washington, DC, Boston, MA and Gimli, Manitoba, Canada. On the Sunday night before the convention, returning board members Steve Levine, Sue Kastensen, Larry Serbin, Anndrea Hermann welcomed new board members Bob Frankel and Rob Jungmann at a dinner board meeting, while the convention attendees and others networked in the hotel lounge. Registration opened later that evening in the hospitality suite and the informal, in-person social networking continued well into the night.

Eric Steenstra, HIA executive director, and Christina Volgyesi, Hemp History Week project coordinator, worked hard to get entertaining and informative speakers and they did not disappoint. Monday morning the convention got underway and kept to the schedule throughout the day's presentations. Eric Steenstra opened the convention with a welcome to old and new members and introduced each speaker with a brief bio.

Leading off was Mario Machnicki of American Lime Technology. He told the group about what's new in using hemp as a building material, including amazing, yet realistic expectations for Hemcreteš and the potential market for hemp in building construction. If we want to get real on carbon sequestration we could not do better than to replace some of our traditional building materials with locally grown hemp.

Anndrea Hermann of Hemp Oil Canada gave the attendees a spirited update on hemp farming and processing in Canada. Acreage is up again this year and the growth is continuing at a sustainable pace.

John Roulac - Nutiva
John Roulac speaks at the Green Festival in San Francisco.
Photo credit: Ben Droz Photography.

John Roulac, the founder and CEO of Nutiva, spoke on the "Growth Trends in the Natural Products Industry and The Secret to Nutiva's Success." Nutiva celebrated its ten year anniversary by moving to a new, larger warehouse and was again named one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine in their 2009 500/5000 list.

Tom Murphy, HIA newsletter editor, spoke on getting the most out of your HIA membership and encouraged members to fill out and return the membership survey that he and Eric Steenstra had developed.

Steve Levine gave the annual President's report and discussed his support and reasoning for HIA to approach the California State Legislature with a 2011 Hemp Farm Bill that would legalize industrial hemp farming in California. With a new democratic governor in place in CA and 2011 being a non-election year, Steve feels the timing is perfect to pass a hemp farm bill. The lunch buffet was held in the dining room at the Holiday Inn and featured a number of hemp infused entrees and side dishes.

After lunch David Gauger of Gauger + Associates gave a talk on some strategies for positioning, messaging and branding hemp products. Gauger's firm has won many awards for their work and he shared some excellent insight into how to communicate clearly through you branding.

Heather Howitt of The Meriwether Group, and founder of Oregon Chai, spoke without a net on her personal experiences with venture capital and entrepreneurship. Not many people can pull off starting a successful company by financing it with their personal credit cards, but Heather successfully pulled it off and shared how she managed to turn Oregon Chai into a $75 million dollar company.

Christina Volgyesi updated the membership on plans for the second annual national public education campaign, Hemp History Week, which will be held nationwide on May 2-8 of 2011.

After a short break Eric Steenstra and Ben Droz, Senior Legislative Intern for Vote Hemp, gave the membership a state and federal legislative update and an excellent overview of the strategies being pursued to return hemp farming to the United States.

David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, gave a very personal view of going fair trade and the challenges of setting up sustainable and fair supply chains. He shared his vision of continuing the family business in a responsible manner and using the proceeds to benefit select causes and especially the employees of the company

Eric Steenstra then gave a brief glimpse into the HIA's financial reports and then presented the diaries and photos of former USDA Chief Botanist, Lyster Dewey, who was a breeder of many fiber hemp varieties, many of which were grown on Arlington Farms, the current site of the Pentagon.

All of the speakers had a good response from the assembled group and answered a number of very good questions.

Members in attendance were then allowed five minutes each to discuss new products and Dave Seber enthusiastically presented Hemp Shield, a new deck sealer and wood protector.

Many companies displayed their wares on tables in the back including Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, Hemp Traders, Nutiva, Manitoba Harvest, which helped to educate the membership and media alike. Peter Jon Shuler did a short story for KQED Radio that was heard throughout California and is archived online as well.

To close out the convention the membership reassembled later in the evening at the renowned Fang Restaurant and were treated to a nine course tasting menu of hemp-infused Chinese food for dinner. The highlights of the meal were the sizzling rice soup with vegetables and hemp milk, sauteed King Oyster mushrooms with shelled hemp seed and the apple hemp crisp with condensed hemp milk.

We look forward to seeing you at our event next year!

Steve Levine & Anndrea Hermann
Steve Levine and Anndrea Hermann listen to a presentation at the Green Festival.
Photo credit: Ben Droz Photography.
About the Hemp Industries Association

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new products made from industrial hemp, oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis.

Hemp Industries Association
Tom Murphy
HIA Secretary
email: tom@thehia.org
phone: 207-542-4998
Hemp Industries Association
Kathi Levine
HIA Member Services
email: office@thehia.org
phone: 707-874-3648 x3