PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) – Some historians have said that the Appalachian region can trace some of its economic roots back to hemp production.
Now, thanks to a new partnership, hemp could make its way back to eastern Kentucky.
The University of Pikeville officially linked up with "Freedom Seed and Feed" on Thursday. The two sides will collaborate to form the "Institute for Regenerative Design and Innovation."
Through student-based research, the IRDI will promote the development of industrial hemp, with hopes of improving the economy in central Appalachia.
There are not many hemp-based products available in eastern Kentucky right now. However, the possibilities include anything from paper to cars.
“To have a real asset to the community as a partner to help us expand, and find opportunities, quite frankly… for me, that's a lot of what this is about, is finding ways to create and innovate within the community," says Michael Lewis, COO of Freedom Seed and Feed.
“Being the leading university of Central Appalachia, we are the perfect anchor institution for this type of initiative,” said Paul E. Patton, chancellor and interim president of the University of Pikeville.
There is no word on when the industrial hemp pilot projects will begin.