By Morris Beegle
Welcome to my Let’s Talk Hemp weekly industry profile – Shine on You – where I get to feature folks involved in the industry and who are doing important and interesting work from various corners and crevices of the hemp space. This week I have Anna Chanthavongseng (Anna Cha), Assistant Executive Director of the National Hemp Association. Anna has been an important advocate in the emerging hemp industry here in the U.S. since 2013 and continues to dedicate her time, energy and passion towards the plant we all believe can play a significant role in changing the world for the better.
Let’s get to know Anna a bit better and why he loves hemp!
Anna Chanthavongseng is the Assistant Executive Director of the largest hemp non-profit in the United States, the National Hemp Association. With a professional background in Early Childhood Education and as a freelance Graphic Designer, Anna joined the hemp industry as an advocate back in 2013. She combined both her professional backgrounds to create educational hemp infographics on Social Media Channels as part of her advocacy work. Her work has been shared throughout the web and her educational articles on hemp have been shared and viewed hundreds of times. Her hemp recipe has also won the first Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance hemp recipe contest and can be viewed on the National Hemp Association app through Learner Mobile.
She continues to create hemp educational content through NHA’s hemp education series, whether it be through graphic imagery, educational blog posts, and/or video shorts.
To learn more about the National Hemp Association’s work and mission, please visit nationalhempassociation.org
When and why did you get into the hemp/cannabis industry?
Back in 2012 I stumbled upon sustainable housing and the model behind earthships. To further explore my curiosity, I did more digging and learned about hempcrete, thanks to John Patterson and business, Tiny Hemp Houses.
I learned a little bit more about industrial hemp and like anyone else, became consumed by its history and potential and hence naturally became an advocate. With a background in education and graphic design, I decided to help with hemp advocacy through graphic art and an educational blurb about hemp via social media channels.
Luckily in the state of Pennsylvania, where I currently reside, there was an industrial hemp movement I was able to be a part of. And in 2015 I was able to attend a hempcrete workshop sponsored by the Hemp Heals Foundation and meet fellow PA hempsters, including Erica Stark, now Executive Director of National Hemp Association.
You are involved in non-profit work, can you tell us about the organization/organizations that you work with and what you do with them?
Before working for a non-profit, my previous profession was in Early Childhood Education where I taught little ones and eventually helped operate facilities and manage staff. National Hemp Association is the first non-profit organization I have worked for and currently I do volunteer work for another well-known hemp non-profit and was recently asked to be a Board Member of another non-profit that works with children that live in villages in the Ivory Coast.
My duties vary with each organization, but my primary work with the National Hemp Association is to help those looking to get into the industry and help assist our members. We have an open-door policy here at the NHA and try our best to help anyone, member or non-member, which is the best part of my job.
The second-best part of my role at NHA is creating educational content — whether it’s through writing, video, and/or graphic design, I like to educate the public through those mediums. Education shouldn’t be dry, right?
What are your favorite products and/or attributes of the hemp/cannabis plant?
One of my favorite products of hemp is currently non-tangible, which are ideas and people’s passion in their eyes and smile when they talk about hemp. It’s the emotional state that hemp can provide, which is hope, experimentation, research, and innovation. It doesn’t judge a human’s innate ability to create and try something new — if anything, it’s a catalyst to being an innovation instigator.
My second product would have to be any hemp waste being turned into a product, like an additive for biochar which then may be further processed into wood vinegar and/or biofuel. I believe hemp can be a part of the circular economy model and be zero-waste, but that can be discussed another time!
Do you have any current or upcoming projects you’re working on and would like to let folks know about?
Yes, aside from NHA, I have one or two projects I am working on that I hope to share in late 2022. What I can give away is that it combines three passions; education, children, and of course, hemp.
What legacy would you like to leave for the next generation from your work?
Ah, legacy. Legacy is one of the words that stroke the human ego, but in this lifetime, if I were to inspire just one person to think outside the box and help guide their way into making this only habitable planet, better, I would be happy. Whether it’s the generation before mine or after or in between, I believe anyone despite their age can play a part to save this planet.
What is your favorite hobby and who are your top 3 favorite bands/musical artists of all time?
Favorite hobby would be creating art through different mediums and my three favorite bands currently would be Sir Sly, Dirty Heads, and Missio.
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About Morris Beegle
Cannabis/hemp advocate and entrepreneur Morris Beegle is Co-founder and President of the WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) family of brands. He is also the producer of NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo as well as publisher of Let’s Talk Hemp. For additional information on what Morris is up to, visit his website at www.morrisbeegle.com and if you would like to get in touch, drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org