A new project featuring a very old crop is set to help revitalise Kandos. Industrial hemp was once the cash crop of the world and its uses in shipping, industry and agriculture were crucial.
Recently, a hempcrete wall featuring a former product that was once the lifeblood of Kandos – cement, mixed with a possible future product in hemp – was officially unveiled by Mid-Western Regional Councillor Sam Paine.
The hempcrete wall is part of a larger survey of the agricultural and commercial uses of industrial hemp that is part of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation's (KSCA) "Hemp Initiative".
Gilbert Grace is the artist who is leading this project – the inaugural land art residency, under the KSCA banner.
Stuart Andrews, of Tarwyn Park Training is also involved in the project, having offered space on Marloo, his property at Mt Marsden, to grow a crop of industrial hemp and test it's suitability as a repair plant to be used in natural sequence farming.
There is currently an exhibition in the window of Kandos Projects in Angus Avenue of a rideable bamboo bicycle using hemp that Grace assembled.
“The frame is lashed together using hemp fibre and a plant based epoxy,” Grace said.
“It combines two weed species, hemp and bamboo, with what was a waste product refined from bio-diesel and cooking oil, to produce a form of grow-your-own ecologically sound, personal transport.”
The Hemp Initiative and the KSCA were the result of discussions with Alex Wisser, co-director of the Cementa Festival about a proposed project for Cementa 17.
The project involved realising Ian Milliss' satirical poster “Welcome to Kandos” that was so successful in Cementa 13.
The poster was a spoof that featured, sustainable technologies, renewable energy projects, and adaptive reuse projects that revitalised the town.
Realising the poster has brought together a diverse group of people and shown the potential for future cultural and practical adaptation practises with particular social and environmental application in the local area and region.