French Parliamentarian floats plan for hemp in Brittany

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French National Assembly Member Sandrine Le Feur is floating a project to develop hemp in the area she represents in Brittany.

A member of the La Republique En Marche (LREM) party, Le Feur is an organic farmer from Morlaix, a commune in Brittany in northwestern France, historically a flax and hemp growing region. She is reported to be talking with agriculture and organic farming organizations to advance the initiative, a plan to grow hemp and flax for the production of high-end textiles by recapturing local knowhow about the plants.

Obvious advantages

Le Feur serves as member of the Committee on Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning in the French parliament, and is an alternate member of the German-French Parliamentary Assembly.

Le Feur said planting hemp and flax can help diversify farming in Brittany while improving soil and capturing CO². Most agriculture in Morlaix is based on pig breeding, dairy products and vegetable production.

Brittany’s hemp history

The flax and hemp businesses are small in Brittany today. But from the 16th to the 18th centuries, hemp and flax thrived in parts of the province. The fibers and hurd are in old textiles and buildings all over Brittany, experts and locals say.

“Their transformation and trade generated significant economic activity until the middle of the 19th century,” Le Feur said of the region’s flax and hemp history. “The industrial revolutions have gradually extinguished this major asset of the territory.”

One association is working on “La route des toilesde Bretagne,” a project to create a “canvas route” throughout Brittany that would trace the heritage of hemp and flax. The goal is to bring together all the territories of Brittany that work in flax and hemp, promote tourism and develop cultural and scientific initiatives.

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