ABOVE: Harvest by LabCanna photo
By VINCE TROIA
The Nashville company that was awarded the state’s first-ever hemp processing license is about to open the first hemp and CBD cafe, rolling out menu items such as banana hemp bread and hemp matcha lattes.
The Fairview cafe, Harvest by LabCanna, has its ribbon cutting and grand opening celebrations set for Saturday, April 20, just down Highway 100 from Bellevue. Along with unique food items like sweet green waffles, the event will feature live music and serve as an introduction to the fast-growing business of hemp and CBD in the area.
Hemp and CBD (cannabinoids) are strains of cannabis plants, and offer a variety of uses.
More than 1,000 people in Tennessee this year applied to grow hemp, the state’s newest cash crop. In 2016, when LabCanna got the first license from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to process hemp, there were 44 growers statewide.
LabCanna has been at the forefront of the hemp phenomenon locally, providing product development and services to farmers and retail brands, opening a brick-and-mortar retail shop in East Nashville, and now launching an eatery. The Harvest cafe also includes a smoothie bar.
A small CBD store will operate within the cafe at 1880 Fairview Blvd., and a portion of the grand opening proceeds will go to Harvest Hands, a group that promotes healthy living, spiritual formation, and economic development in South Nashville.
“We feel so honored to be in Fairview and so excited to cultivate a new paradigm of health, happiness, education and entertainment for Middle Tennessee,” Harvest’s General Manager Erin Crawford said. Crawford, who lives in Nashville, is fond of saying that hemp is changing the world.
It obviously has changed Tennessee agriculture. Traditional tobacco farmers were among the first to change their crops, but they needed assistance on how to market hemp.
According to its co-founders, Joshua Camp and Ian Leadon, LabCanna officially started in January 2016 after they took part in Tennessee’s Industrial Hemp Research Program, offered under the Federal 2014 Farm Bill. The pair set about investigating every nuance about hemp cultivation opportunities, according to LabCanna’s website (www.labcanna.com), and from there Camp and Leadon have worked to assist the local grower community, primarily to see farmers turn a profit and have an avenue to turn their harvest into a product.
Hemp is easily one of the most versatile plants in the world, with hundreds, if not thousands, of uses. A producer, though, needs to have a focus for what end product will come from their crops.
Hemp is generally grown in one of two forms: As a fiber in clothing, rope or construction materials, or as a flower so it can be harvested for human consumption in CBD products. Farmers have said that fiber hemp is relatively easy to grow, and that CBD hemp is difficult, but vastly more profitable.
“Our philosophy is simple,” said Camp. “We want to create a better, more sustainable future by developing environmentally friendly health foods, supplements, building materials, fuel, and more.”
Harvest hopes to offer a bit of that “more,” from breads and soups to deserts and drinks at the new cafe. Many of the items are served with an image of a cannabis leaf adorning a part of the food in case you needed to be reminded that hemp was on the menu. For more on Harvest by LabCanna in Fairview, visit https://www.facebook.com/HarvestLabCanna/