Mike Fata of Manitoba Harvest and Julie Daniluk, RHN, inspect the crop (Manitoba Harvest)
15 years ago consumers could snicker and walk by because they didn't know how good hemp food products are
—Mike Fata, Manitoba Harvest
A business decision that Manitobans Mike Fata, Martin Moravcik and Alex Chwaeiwsky made 15 years ago has them on a high -- and it's not from smoking what they produce.
"The three of us got together and we thought we could change the world one hemp seed at a time," says Fata, the co-owner, co-founder and CEO of Manitoba Harvest.
Indeed unlike marijuana, hemp contains negligible amounts of THC, the psychoactive drug that can make you feel good -- or super paranoid.
But the hemp that Manitoba Harvest grows, produces and manufactures into products at their hi-tech, energy-efficient plant, will certainly do your body right. It's even gotten recommendations from Dr. Oz.
Manitoba Harvest products, like their organic Hemp Hearts, Hemp Oil and Hemp Protein powders are chock full of good stuff; from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are great for your joints, heart and skin, to folic acid (which is recommended for women trying to get pregnant), to Vitamin B and iron. Their products are also kosher and contain no genetically modified organisms, while some of their lines are certified organic.
But getting these products and information out hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows.
"We'd like to say hemp has gone from taboo to trendy," Fata says. "15 years ago consumers could snicker and walk by because they didn't know how good hemp food products are. They thought it was connected to marijuana as the information was not there."
Indeed the DEA shared that sentiment back in 2000 when they delayed the company's entry into the United States. It wasn't until a court case was resolved -- supported by Manitoba Harvest and other hemp companies -- in 2004 that hemp products hit American shelves. Since that time business has literally been growing like a weed.
"Now people sing the praises of our company [for] offering such a healthy food product, having sustainability in mind in every aspect we do, and being a valued part of the community here in Winnipeg," Fata explains.
2012 alone saw the company's workforce grow by about 45%, and they now employ more than 80 people.