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Grassroots Development in Fargo, North Dakota, is building two new homes for research—one of hempcrete and one of traditional framing and insulation. Using the inner woody core of the hemp plant, the team mixed it with water and lime binder to form the hempcrete.

And you blend the mixture to a consistency, a nice sort of chicken salad — is our joke —consistency,” said Grassroots Development sustainability consultant Sydney Glup. “And we hand packed, physically hand packed, this entire house."

They were guided through the process by Bismarck, N.D.-based Homeland Hempcrete, but the process was easy to learn said Glup, just a lot of work schlepping buckets of the material, dumping it into forms and packing it so the walls would be even after the forms were removed.

"We're just trying to get that concrete nonbiased research to contribute to the industry so we can troubleshoot and figure out how to do better,” said Glup. “We want it to be so that anybody who wants a healthier dwelling can afford it."

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