Hemp is turning a new leaf. The plant fiber, used to make the sails that took Christopher Columbus’ ships to the New World, is now a building material.
In Asheville, N.C., a home built with thick hemp walls was completed this summer and two more are in the works. Dozens of hemp homes have been built in Europe in the past two decades, but they’re new to the United States, says David Madera, co-founder of Hemp Technologies, a company that supplied the mixture of ground-up hemp stalks, lime and water.
The industrial hemp is imported because it cannot be grown legally in this country — it comes from the same plant as marijuana.