Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hemp For The Homeless (2007) - Thanks to all!

(click any pic for juicier view)


This past snowy Friday, I zipped around by car and foot distributing all 50 Hemp For The Homeless "Hemp Help Kits" I'd prepared for people in need in Montreal.

I'd set off on the Hemp For The Homeless Project because I'd recently won $500 in a contest ("Penny Idol") and decided to put it towards helping to combat homelessness.

Since I am a big believer in the unparalleled versatility and durability of the hemp plant (a crop grown without pesticides, that heals farmland as it grows and offers Canadian farmers a sustainable wage) and the vast array of products that can be derived from it (fabric, food, paper, fuel, beauty products, construction materials, etc.), I decided to embark on a project that would put it all to good use in a new way...

(Hemp Help Kit assembly line)

I conceived of Hemp For The Homeless as a way to fuse environmentalism, healthfulness and a desire to help fellow citizens.

(My smart stuffed with boxes of hemp kits)

Those who received the Hemp Help Kits (hemp fabric tote bags filled with useful, nutritious and tasty products) included:

-The Old Brewery Mission's Women's Shelter
-Passages Women's Shelter
-Refuge Des Jeunes youth shelter
-A dozen people in need who I met in the subway and out on the cold streets.

To view the actual letter each HFTH recipient received in his or her kit, please click here.

I'd like to offer a huge thank you to the following generous people and companies who contributed (either free, at cost or well below cost) the following items to the 50 Hemp Help Kits:

-Abaka Hemp - Recycled hemp clothing fabric for the hemp paper used in the help kits. This super hemp clothing company is based in Shawinigan, Quebec, and their products are available at Co-op La Maison Verte in NDG and other stores throughout the province.

-Bonnie Harnden + Syd Apel - Fresh-baked oatmeal, chocolate-chip, raisin and hemp cookie recipe

(Bernard Bélanger, le boulanger with hot cookies!)

-Bernard Artisanal Bakery - Fresh-baked oatmeal, chocolate-chip, raisin and hemp cookies. Bernard's delicious organic sourdough breads and cookies are available at Co-op La Maison Verte in NDG and other locations in Montreal.
-Chana Goodfriend - Help in packing the kits and readying them for delivery
-Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps - 18-in-one all-purpose fair trade organic liquid soap bottles. "All-one!", as Ralph Bronner, the company's VP says. They also offered up delicious, nutritious and organic Alpsnack hemp energy bars and organic hemp peppermint and orange lip balm.
-EcoLips - Tasty Hemp-vanilla lip conditioner
-HT Naturals - Gorgeous long sleeve hemp/cotton T-shirts, Hemp/cotton tote bags
-La Ferme Communautaire Mange-Tout - Organic vegetables for the salads Rumi made (see below).
-Manitoba Harvest - Snack-packs of fresh hulled hemp seeds from the fields of Manitoba.
-Marie-Josée Gosselin - French translation of the project letter supplied in the kits.
-The Montreal Film Group - Web site hosting by the MFG
-Papeterie St-Armand - One-of-a-kind recycled hemp/cotton paper for the custom note-pads I added to the bags.
-Penny Idol - Startup funds courtesy of the contest I won. The contest was part of Montreal filmmaker Raphael Levy's short film The Hermitian Penny. My lucky 2006 penny, Juan Redscent, will be starring in this film.
-Rumi Restaurant - Delicious cole slaw, potato salad and Jerusalem artichoke salads made with organic Ferme Communautaire Mange-Tout vegetables and Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds

(Todd from Rumi Restaurant on Hutchison St. with a few tasty salads)

To read the full history of Hemp For The Homeless project click here.

If you're interested in sponsoring another round of Hemp Help Kits to go out to those in need, please contact me at:  ezrasoif at gmail dot com.

I would also like to thank everyone who voted for my penny and poem during Penny Idol and all those who encouraged me along this journey. Your support helped in many ways.

It's been an incredible lesson for me to see the difference one red cent can make.

Here's to your projects and dreams.


Finally, here's the CBC Radio One interview I did today with Bernard St-Laurent in case you missed it and would like to hear.

And here's the article did on Hemp For The Homeless.

Stay healthy, happy and hempy. Ez

(Ez holding a HFTH kit)

Only days til Valentine's... give the planet some love

(Ezra Soifeman, 2/3/07, Montreal)

Walk that love through the snow
This'll get us somewhere
But not if there's no fresh air
Let the skies talk

Don't let epic troubles
Overtake your epic drive
Let the skies talk-
Keep the air alive

For an atmosphere of a single toxic soul
Can make the world crumble, let alone punch ozone holes
For an atmosphere of purity, would we give up all we know?
Let the skies talk, let them heal, watch the show

Don't let epic troubles
Overtake your epic drive
Let the skies talk-
Keep the air alive

Keep the air alive
See where we may go
Keep the air alive
Walk that love through the snow