Southwest Minnesota Indian Tribe Builds First Fireproof United States Homes From Hempcrete

Hempcrete Indian homes in Minnesota.


Hempcrete has long been thought of as an excellent idea for building eco-friendly homes and even ‘Earth ships,’ homes reminiscent of the Hobbit houses from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie series, but it has often been thought of as a pie in the sky type of idea for many — until now.

A Sioux Indian tribe based out of ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ Minnesota, has been busy building homes for local citizens using the unique, fireproof material, and it’s a story that is just now making the rounds in the United States media.

Mold, Pest and Fire Resistant Homes With Hempcrete 

The idea of building homes with hempcrete has been put on the back burner for quite some time because of the illegal status of hemp, which has been reversed in recent years. Many people have begun using hemp as a supplement as it can help to heal and fortify the endocannabinoid system in the human body, which makes people and animals alike naturally more relaxed and content the way nature originally designed before it was banned.

In the meantime, Minnesota’s Lower Sioux Indian Community, seen on the maps below southwest of Minneapolis, is pioneering green building with its fully integrated hempcrete facility – a first in the entire country, according to a report from The Guardian. 

Lower Sioux Indian tribe on the map.


About 1,120 people are currently in need of housing in the Lower Sioux Indian tribe, roughly half of the tribal nation’s enrolled members.

According to member Earl Pendleton, the community began experimenting with hempcrete back in 2016, before it was officially made legal in the rest of the United States.

The tribe is set to open the very first vertically integrated hempcrete facility in the country this year, complete with its own growing operation. 

The facility is 20,000 square feet and cost $6.2 million to make.

The whole idea was just to be able to service our own needs, because we’re short at least 150 houses [on the reservation],” Pendleton said.
The United States' first hempcrete home.

The United States’ first hempcrete home. Photo via Lower Sioux Industrial Hemp Project


The buildings are surprisingly less time consuming to build than traditional concrete and wooden structures and are mold, pest and fire resistant.

Hempcrete also keeps homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

“If we could cut down our members’ energy costs, we had to try it,” Pendleton said.

Hempcrete was not officially legalized in the United States until the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. A six-person tribal construction crew has built three hempcrete homes in seven months with more in the works.

“Just the word ‘hemp’ has a stigma surrounding it,” said Danny Desjarlais, a carpenter with the organization.

“Some of the elders didn’t like that we were even growing hemp before we started building with it. Earl had an uphill battle to get the program going, but once we had a building that people could walk through to see the end product, the community really rallied around it.”

Hempcrete homes built by Sioux Indian tribe in Minnesota.

The first hempcrete home built by the Lower Sioux Indian Tribe in summer 2023.

The building crew has made believers out of skeptics as it continues to explore the exciting properties of hempcrete as an eco-friendly and sustainable building material.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t believe we could do it,” said Pendleton. “But soon, we’ll have first-hand accounts from people who are living in these structures that will help the rest of the community really see the benefit.”

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About Nick Meyer

Nick Meyer is a journalist who's been published in the Detroit Free Press, Dallas Morning News and several other outlets. He founded AltHealthWORKS in 2012 to showcase extraordinary stories of healing and the power of organic living, stories the mainstream media always seemed to miss. Check out Nick's Amazon best-seller 'Dirt Cheap Organic: 101 Tips For Going Organic on a Budget' by clicking here, as well as its sequel Dirt Cheap Weight Loss.