Did you know that the hemp plant (a species of cannabis sativa plant) is not a drug? It offers several health advantages and is also environmentally friendly! Wildleaf is a company which began with a seed that was sown nine years ago and is in a process to turn into a magnificent plant. The company started off with an intention to bring a change in the society that certainly has long-term positive effects on the world. In the process of searching for a change, the founder and CEO Vignesh Murthy found his change in the hemp plant.
Hemp seeds come from the cannabis sativa plant. They have a high nutritional profile and provide health benefits. These tiny, brown seeds are high in protein, fibre, and beneficial fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s. They contain antioxidant properties which can decrease several symptoms of heart, skin and joint health.
In India, they ban parts of the hemp plant under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS). The leaves and seeds are authorized to be sold and harvested and that is all under government operations. Hemp farming has not taken off in India in a substantial way because it is complicated to navigate and other factors. There have been several proposals to encourage hemp farming, as it had an impact hundred years ago.
Vignesh Murthy’s idea had drawn him all the way to Himachal Pradesh, where he studied the process and purpose of hemp. He noticed that hemp is an essential ingredient in their everyday meals from the flour to indeed the pickles, oil, etc. Also, 80-year-old people had the strength to carry goods that weighed 30-40 kgs. This was achievable because of the hemp. After he returned from the trip, he realized how he could change the world. He established a company called Hemp Wildleaf is a company that is environmentally friendly, farmer-focused, and cost effective.
In the market, hemp based products are very expensive and unaffordable. Vignesh had started this company with a prospect of reaching out to middle-class people who can try these amazing hemp products. Hemp is beneficial to our health and also an aid to our hardworking farmers as they are:
• Require a sufficient amount of water
• can tolerate temperature fluctuations
• Grown all year round,
• Medicinal goodness.
Bonus: hemp can indeed solve three biggest problems of India- farmer suicides, malnutrition, and unemployment.
Through social media and a launched website, the founder is in the progress to reach an immense spectrum of audience and sell hemp products. Their objective is to sell these products in cafes and restaurants where it can be used in baking goods, as super foods in salads, and as boosters in smoothies, ice-creams and other beverages.
His quest to create hemp snacks began in 2015, when Wildleaf hosted a hemp culinary event at UBCity in Bengaluru. The event was a boom and went viral, with attendees praising the start up’s hemp brownies and pastries. However, the FSSAI prohibited hemp seeds as a food item a week later.
Vignesh has found progressive, like-minded hemp endorsers who value its omega-3 and omega-6 content. Wildleaf has already partnered with many cafes in Goa, where hemp flour is used to produce chapatis, artisanal breads, pizza bases, and more — and he intends to bring this to Bengaluru shortly.
More exciting initiatives wait in the future. They do not want to limit themselves to food goods, but also to introduce soaps, clothes, and other necessities. FSSAI has presented a petition to certify hemp as a food product, and once that happens, Vignesh intends to offer hemp beer, cheese, wine, and other products through Wildleaf as well. The start-up began selling in September 2020, and has seen a consistent 20% month-on-month organic growth in sales ever since, even during the lockdown — and Vignesh was comfortable with that pace because he’s a one-man army (his mom and sister help and support him regularly), and also that he wants hemp uptake to be organic, instead of fad-driven.
Wildleaf achieves nothing new but simply brings back a lost hemp culture that can make a difference for us to look forward to. Wildleaf, a startup, would want to propose – A Hemptopia–to a world that is becoming increasingly pessimistic. The company aims to grow and provide you with high-quality hemp goods at reasonable rates direct from the mountains!
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