Nathan Hakimpour: First Blog

About the Author

From an early age, Nathan was always obsessed with the inner-workings of justice and held others to an extremely strict moral code, many times neglecting the essence of childhood. As the years passed, his parents pointed him in the direction of law, intertwining it with philosophy, and inspired, Nathan sought political experience. He currently holds an internship for Delegate Nick Freitas and is an active Dostoevsky enthusiast.

Hemp, the Heavy-Lifter of the Future

Following a decades-long absence, hemp, a cousin to marijuana, has been recently legalized to grow on an industrial scale. For over 40 years, the plant had been banned for being a part of the cannabis genus; along with other plants that contain THC: the psychoactive drug that causes hallucinations. Although these concerns are well-warranted, hemp contains very small, very negligible traces of THC, and at Virginia Tech, its uses and capabilities have been studied extensively during its industrial ban. The results have proved remarkable: hemp has the heavy-lifting ability and potential to change the production landscape as we know it today.


According to Jabari Byrd, a Masters student at Virginia Tech, hemp is commonly known as the plant of 50,000 uses. The post-production of hemp products range from lip balm, concrete, and even to apparel such as shirts, backpacks, and sacks commonly containing cotton. This greater scope of future implication could not be without the technology of today, however, and as Byrd compounded, cross-breeding and genetically modifying hemp to maximize fiber count and durability have proved monumental in broadening the horizon. For example, hemp will eventually be able to compete with or even replace cotton farms as hemp is more convenient to harvest and has a better moisture-wicking ability. This appeals to both producers and consumers: producers are spending less on irrigation techniques and herbicides, and consumers are benefiting from the cooling capabilities of hemp clothing.

Additionally, even though hemp has just been legalized a few months prior, the plant has already made a stamp on the protein market. Hemp seed, when grounded, has an exceptional protein and fiber count. These attributions make for a great supplement to vegan or vegetarian diets and also in protein powders and as an everyday cooking additive.

The medical field, too, can benefit from the use of hemp. As recounted by Byrd, there was a miracle story in which a young girl suffered from epilepsy and witnessed abnormally frequent seizures. The doctors prescribed hemp, and the seizures tempered drastically, soon numbering 1 or 2 each year. For the average consumer, hemp has a vast array of everyday benefits. As mentioned earlier: in contrast to marijuana, hemp has a much lower concentration of the psychoactive drug THC and can, therefore, be consumed with little caution. According to, some major benefits of hemp include: lowering the risk of heart disease, improving skin disorders (such as itchiness), and aiding in digestion.

As hemp continues to broaden its horizons, scientists, such as Jabari Byrd at Virginia Tech, will continue to research and ensure the full health implication of hemp. However, as of now, hemp appears to be a heavy-lifter for future product landscapes.

To learn more about hemp’s health benefits visit:

To learn more about what Virginia Tech’s involvement visit:

Lindsey Brantley: First Blog

About the Author:
Lindsey Brantley is from Virginia Beach. She grew up around cows and horses. She has a passion for animals and writing. She rides horses, shows cattle, and writes whenever she has the time. She spends her time at her grandparents’ lake house with four dogs and enjoys swimming in the water and tubing. If she’s not at the lake, you can find her volunteering with the Virginia Beach Public Library, or going to the beach with her mom and family.
Making My Way
Governor’s School for Agriculture has been a great experience, even just being here for only a week. While the food has had its ups and downs, the people, classes, and activities have been a lot of fun. I started out at Governor’s School a little bit scared because I had never left home for four weeks before. After the first day, it was very clear I was going to be okay. There was a welcoming atmosphere from the beginning, and I think that’s what made me feel even more at home.
Let’s Go Hokies!
The people at Governor’s School for Agriculture are some of the most interesting people I’ve met. Since I’m from Virginia Beach, there are not a lot of people with the same interests that I have. However, as soon as I came here I met a least three people who are as obsessed with cows, horses, and animals as I am. They also have a lot more life experience around them and that made me able to find out more about my interests and bond with the students here at the school. The GSLs are also a good source of information to find out about the subjects that I am interested in, but they are there for anything I may need. They are easy to talk to and get along with. While there are interesting people here, there are many amazing classes that I have had the privilege to sit through this week.
These Classes are B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
The first class I had was Plant Science. Going into it, I didn’t really think it would be that interesting, but soon it proved me wrong. I learned about how soils are more than just dirt, about how genetically modifying plants is key to our future, and much more. The next class I had was in Economics. Economics was another class I thought wasn’t going to be that good, but, again, I was proved wrong. Dr. Mike Ellerbrock brought the class alive. He made something that we all took as boring and dull and applied it to things around us that made our interest in economics grow. The final class I had was Biological Systems Engineering. This class was something I thought was going to go right over my head because I’m not that good with technology. But I soon found out it was more than just technology. It was about improving the world around you, whether it was a neighborhood in the United States or a village somewhere else in the world.
Old McDonald Had Some Fun
The activities here at Governor’s School allow me to interact with some of the other students that I didn’t get a chance to meet with and relax after a long day in class. Volleyball is a time when almost everyone in the school comes to the court to either play or watch an intense match. However, you can also play kickball on the Drillfield, or go on a run with friends, or anything you want to do (as long as it’s within bounds). My time at Governor’s School has been great, and I look forward to doing further updates as my journey here continues!