Founded by legendary Native poet, philosopher and recording artist John Trudell, Hempstead Project HEART is a vehicle to build public awareness of the many benefits of growing Industrial Hemp. With a team of committed volunteers at his side, notably Anna Owen, Linda Delair and Lea Walters, John built Hempstead Project HEART to be a driving force to grow the hemp economy in America. From speaking at public events to organizing with the California State Grange on Industrial Hemp advocacy, John and his Hempstead Project HEART team laid important groundwork for public acceptance of hemp in California. In November 2016, California re-legalized Industrial Hemp as a commercial agricultural crop. This huge step demonstrates the importance of education and action in creating positive change.
In the summer of 2015, Hempstead Project HEART received a letter from a young Menominee farmer named Marc Grignon who was an academic researcher with the College of the Menominee Nation and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on an Industrial Hemp plot nestled on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. The letter expressed a void in educational awareness on Industrial Hemp cultivation and how Hempstead Project HEART could fill that void. Marc asked for help and Hempstead Project HEART answered.
When the Industrial Hemp plot on the Menominee Reservation was raided by federal agents that fall, John wanted to do everything possible to help the Menominee. Just as Hempstead Project HEART was gearing up to help educate Wisconsin residents, doctors told John his cancer had spread. Marc flew to California to see John four days before his passing, where John asked Marc to take the lead within Hempstead Project HEART and shift the public perception in Wisconsin towards acceptance of Industrial Hemp cultivation. Marc accepted John’s offer and became the spokesman for Hempstead Project HEART.