A two-year study in Pennsylvania will examine the life cycle of hemp building materials from field to construction by collecting plant growth and supply chain data.
Research, funded with $ 70,160 from the state’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program, will track hemp yields and carbon capture achieved through various cultivation methods, and then indoor air quality and other performance variables in a 140-square-foot wooden frame model structure monitor.
The model, to be built at Alvernia University’s Bog Turtle Creek Farm, based in Reading, Kenhorst, Pennsylvania, is supplied by Coexist, an architectural firm that sells a do-it-yourself, hemp-concrete-based cabin kit and makes hemp blocks and hemp ceiling insulation. Coexist and Alvernia University are partners in the study.
Alicia Sprow, Assistant Professor for Leadership Studies & Health Care Science and Coordinator for Sustainability Initiatives at the Holleran Center for Global and Community Engagement in Alvernia, is supervising two students, Ethan LaVerdure and Alex Kabrich, in the research project.
Funding reaches $ 230,000
A previous round of funding in Pennsylvania awarded $ 160,000 in grants to two hemp-oriented projects. The most recent award brings the total for hemp initiatives to approximately $ 230,000 from the block sponsorship program.
The Specialty Crop Block Grants are funded under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill. The awards support the development of special crops with high priority that cannot be funded under the federal program for special crops. In addition to hemp, these include hops, hardwoods, honey, barley, rye and wheat, which are intended for distillation, brewing and malting.
Projects funded under the block funding aim to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of specialty crops through research with the aim of improving food safety, developing new and improved seed varieties, and improving pest and disease control, according to state agricultural officials.