Phylos to Provide 1 Million Hemp Seeds to BIPOC Farmers
Phylos, a modern crop science company developing advanced cannabis and hemp genetics, has committed to supplying 1 million stable and reliable hemp seeds to BIPOC farmers without capital investment. The first round of recipients were selected through targeted outreach efforts and the Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center’s Hemp Equity Program.
“It is important to us to continue efforts like our hemp seed donation program to level a systemically unbalanced playing field and we encourage other companies to do the same,” said Ralph Risch, Phylos CEO. “What we are doing is just a small step to counter the disproportionate impacts of the war on drugs on underrepresented communities and the special debt the cannabis industry owes to people of color. We will continue to support organizations like The National Black Farmers Association to provide more opportunities to expand the Cannabis business community.”
Phylos also provided the National Black Farmers Association with hemp seeds in 2020, and will continue to work with OSU and other academic institutions on an annual basis to connect with recipients and broaden its community outreach.
“Black farmers, multigenerational farms are hesitant about hemp even as medicinal or wellness use,” said John Wesley Boyd, Jr., founder and president National Black Farmers Association. “Understanding the benefit of CBD as an opioid alternative is a personal family success. These seeds give our community an educational opportunity and a fun way to learn how to cultivate, teaching about the different end uses, and taking away the stigma of growing cannabis. Using seed from a vetted seed supplier reduces the risks associated with growing a new crop.”
BIPOC communities have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and subsequently have been prevented from achieving the levels of participation and prosperity of those that are now dominating the legal cannabis industry. Recognizing the significant financial barriers to entry, this program will provide an opportunity to historically underrepresented communities of color that would not have the capital to enter the market otherwise. Hemp is an emerging crop that calls for additional agronomic support, which is why Phylos chose to partner with the Global Hemp Innovation Center and other academic institutions including Alabama A&M University, a member of the Historically Black College and University community, for this program.
“Since our founding, the Global Hemp Innovation Center has demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through support and partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Latinx Serving Institutions, Native American Serving Institutions, Asian Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, as well as minority- and women-owned businesses,” said Jeffrey Steiner, associate director of Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. “With Phylos’s generosity, we make it possible for our equity partners to greatly reduce the financial risk of learning about hemp and how to grow it.”
With an increasing demand for cannabis legalization bills to include social justice goals like expungement, access to capital, tax revenue for underrepresented communities, and BIPOC small-business licenses, the legal cannabis and hemp industry needs contributions from companies willing to help and provide services directly to those communities. To learn more about social equity in Cannabis, register for free for the upcoming 31st Annual National Black Farmers Conference, Nov. 5-6, 2021 here: Register for NBFA Conference.