Rachel Berry, Kim Croes and Alex Escher on this week’s iHemp Hour!
Rachel Berry is the Director of Regional Leaders for the U.S. Hemp Building Association and the Founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association. She is a first-generation regenerative farmer raising poultry, growing heirloom vegetables, native medicinal plants, and industrial hemp with her family on their 13 acre farm. As a community organizer and dedicated volunteer, she works to educate farmers, business owners, law makers, and families about the potential of hemp as a “community crop”. She is also experienced in hemp-lime construction.
Kim Croes started her hempcrete company, FiberFort, in Detroit, Michigan with the hopes of making a positive impact on the earth. Currently a painter, she is making her transition into natural building practices. Kim started her training and education of hempcrete in January 2021 and is now certified for spray and hand-cast application by the companies Hempitecture and Americhanvre. FiberFort is set to start the first hempcrete house this July in Chelsea, Michigan.
Alex Escher is the Director of Hemp Fiber Applications at Escher Design, Regional Leader of the US Hemp Building Association (USHBA), Founder of Hemp Hollow Processing, and member of ASTM D37.07. An entrepreneur with a keen eye for disruptive industries, he joined the Vermont-based architecture firm, Escher Design, to help develop cost-effective applications using hemp bio-composites. In 2017, the firm went on to build the first permitted hempcrete structure in Denver, Colorado. Currently, the firm has numerous hemp-based projects in several states including Vermont, Colorado, Missouri and New York. With the USHBA, Alex serves on the supply chain, certification, and education committees.