Bluegrass Kitchen owner Keeley Steele supports locally grown and organic food at her restaurant and tries to find environmentally friendly ways to run the business.
She pays extra for disposable items like bags and takeout containers made from compostable and biodegradable materials and searches for items made from sustainable materials like bamboo.
So it was a no-brainer when the national organizers of an event called Hemp History Week asked her to participate.
All this week, Bluegrass Kitchen and its sister bakery and cafe, Frutcake, will feature menu items that contain hemp seed products.
The week is designed to raise awareness about the plant and its differences from marijuana grown for drug purposes.
Hemp is grown for different reasons, and the variety grown for food, beauty products and textiles doesn't contain the level of tetrahydrocannabinol - THC - that exists in the marijuana plants grown for, well, getting high.
Hemp seeds and hearts - those are the shelled hemp seeds - contain essential fatty acids, protein, fiber and vitamins A, B, D and E. Hemp seeds can be used to make oil and beauty products. The fiber from the plant is used for textiles ranging from clothing to rope and even shoes.
Hemp is widely available in the United States in all of these applications, but here's the rub: It's imported from other countries. A 1930 federal regulation prohibits U.S. farmers from growing it. A growing lobbying effort is trying to change that.
To that end, hundreds of restaurants around the country are participating in Hemp History Week.
Steele said her restaurant already uses hemp seeds.