Our Founder

Richard Rose, “Chief Hemp Nut”

Mr. Richard Rose is founder, president, and “Chief Hemp Nut” of HempNut, Inc., a food company specializing in researching, developing and marketing hempseed foods, the first 2 of which were introduced in 1994. He is also founder and president of Omega Nova Corporation, specializing in novel omega-3 delivery systems, and until its sale in 2001 was founder and president of Rella Good Cheese Company (formerly known as Sharon’s Finest), a food product development and marketing firm making many cheese alternatives, including TofuRella. In 1998, Richard founded the Hemp Food Association, dedicated to improving the quality of education, production and marketing of hempseed foods.

Cooking since childhood, he has been making and marketing natural foods commercially since 1979. In the 1980s Richard invented and marketed over 60 new products based on tofu and soymilk (under the Brightsong Tofu brand), and was the only small or natural food company to be named one of the “Top Ten Innovators of 1985” by Food and Beverage Marketing magazine. In 1981 he opened and ran one of the first 100% non-dairy vegetarian restaurants (so long ago the word “vegan” hadn’t yet been coined), using only foods made with tofu and other soy products.

In 1986, the company’s main product, TofuRella, was introduced, sales of which landed the firm on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 1993 (950% growth in 5 years). The cheese alternative is still sold today in supermarkets and natural food stores in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The firm helped pioneered the concept of vegetarian foods merchandised in produce sections, a now-common practice.

Now age 48, Richard has long put his beliefs “where his mouth his”…literally: a vegetarian since age 12 and still a vegan since age 22, his personal mission is to introduce and popularize the use of super-nutritious hempseed for food, in order to reduce the deliterious health and planetary effects of the animal-based diet. Richard started HempNut, Inc. in order to market new hempseed foods, starting with HempRella cheese alternative and Hempeh Burgers, both introduced in 1994. He also invented and marketed HempNut brand shelled hempseed, peanut butter, hempseed oil, whole food bars, chocolate chip cookies, organic blue corn chips, Hempscream, and lip balm.

Richard making Hemp Potato Salad with Roseanne Barr on “The Roseanne Show”, the first national mainstream exposure for hemp foods

(Click to watch the show in streaming video)

Richard was awarded the 1997 Hemp Times “Bioneer Award” for Outstanding Achievement in Food, the 1997 Hemp World “Hempy Award” for Food, and the 1998 Hemp World “Hempy Award” for Product Innovation for his HempNut brand of shelled hempseed. The last award is especially noteworthy since he was selected by his peers in the Hemp Industries Association, of which he was Treasurer and a Director for 2 years. He has received a Citizen Citation from Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore, MD, for his work with hempseed foods. Richard is directly responsible for the use of hempseed in over 35 hemp industry dinners, and is the co-author of The HempNut Health and Cookbook and The HempNut Cookbook. The acknowledged father of the U.S. hemp foods movement, many new companies have adopted Richard’s vision of a hemp foods future, business model, and products, including Nutiva, Fresh Hemp/Manitoba Harvest, Galaxy Global Eatery, Ruth’s, Hemp Oil Canada, and others.

Photo: Andre for Hemp Times, taken in the kitchen of HempNut World Headquarters

Richard’s companies have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of organizations working to make a difference on the planet (such as EarthSave, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club of Western Canada, NORML, and others), donated many thousands of dollars in food to hunger and disaster relief organizations, and has donated countless thousands of hours of his expertise to start-up food and hemp companies and others.

Richard has appeared on hundreds of radio shows, dozens of TV shows, including a 9-minute segment on hemp foods on the CBS-TV national program “The Roseanne Show,” and has been the subject of hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories.

He is the founder and director of the Hemp Food Association, past Director, Treasurer, Textile Certification Chair, and Chair of the Food and Oil Committee of the Hemp Industries Association, and is a member of the International Hemp Association, the North American Industrial Hemp Council, and the Institute of Food Technologists. Richard earned a BA degree in marketing and an MBA with a concentration in marketing and international business, both from California’s Sonoma State University and while starting Rella.

With offices in both California and Amsterdam, Richard may be reached at P.O. Box 2036, Sebastopol, California, 95473-2036, USA, or by email at bio@richardrose.com.

For more information on the Hemp Food Association click here.

You Missed