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Thought Leaders in Food & Ag Speaker Series | Grow North

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When it comes to growth, there’s no hotter product on the market right now than hemp. Manitoba Harvest has been on that train for over 20 years: our founder Mike Fata incorporated hemp into his own personal health transformation after he researched the amazing benefits hemp can offer. We really believe in the transformative power of hemp. That’s why we were proud to be the company that Grow North featured in their Thought Leaders in Food and Agriculture Speaker Series on July 31st to advance education around hemp and CBD.

Grow North is an initiative of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship in the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. Grow North’s goal is to support food and agriculture entrepreneurs and innovators in Minnesota. They achieve this by aggregating resources and connecting individuals and companies across the food supply chain, which sparks creativity within that ecosystem to transform our food system and make Minnesota a globally recognized leader in food and agriculture.

Anne Thompson, VP of Marketing, and Brent Budke, Director of Insights at Manitoba Harvest, brought their knowledge and insights to the Grow North audience to talk all things hemp. “With hemp and CBD mainstreaming so quickly, if we didn’t take the pulse of what real people want in our products, we might miss the boat,” Thompson said. And what we know is that hemp and CBD are hot right now because consumers are seeking natural solutions to feel their best. So what knowledge can an established hemp foods company bring to the ever-changing CBD market?

The most important thing, according to Thompson and Budke, is our core value: lead with integrity. “The reality is,” Thompson said, “that because CBD has been under the dark cloud of cannabis, and under prohibition in general, right now consumer feedback and testimonials are ahead of the science.” That fact doesn’t minimize the tremendous benefits that consumers are getting from CBD, but it does limit the claims CBD brands can make – and that’s where brands that lead with integrity start to differentiate themselves. Thompson and Budke encouraged anyone looking at entering the market to take the high road and be careful not to market claims and benefits on which the science has not caught up. As trusted brand, Manitoba Harvest is in a unique position to leverage our long, proven history in the hemp industry and come into the CBD market in a way very few other companies can.

“If you’re a consumer of CBD, I would say do your homework,” Budke added, “there’s a lot of great companies out there, there’s a lot of not so great companies out there; make sure that what you’re buying makes you comfortable and that you trust what you’re getting.”

For the Minnesota farmers, entrepreneurs, and agriculture professionals in the audience, the takeaway was the opportunities behind the growing trends of hemp and CBD. There’s serious economic value for those farms and companies that control the highest quality of supply, and Minnesota farmers and agriculture professionals have the opportunity to be in that position.

A big thank you to Grow Minnesota for giving Manitoba Harvest the opportunity to share our knowledge on the hemp CBD landscape!