A while back, I listened to an interview with Bren Smith on the For the Wild podcast that was really inspiring. Bren is the Executive Director of Green Wave and the owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm. Bren has developed a new way of practicing restorative farming in the ocean using a method that he calls 3D ocean farming, (aka “Integrated Multitropic Aquaculture” in the scientific community).
With a background in commercial fishing, Bren has witnessed the impacts of climate change on the industry. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy devastated coastal fishing industries, inspiring Bren to develop a resilient and regenerative method for producing ocean-based food with zero inputs. He began to grow new species, resilient species that were more affordable to grow. He lifted his farm off the bottom of the sea, using the entire water column , making his farm resilient to storm surges.
After more than 15 years fine-tuning his methods, Bren created the Green Wave ocean farmer training program which helps train new farmers to become profitable quickly using his open-source regenerative techniques.
Shellfish filters 50 gallons of water per day. Kelp soaks up 5x more carbon than land-based plants. His system is zero input, and produces food, carbon sequestration, and the diversity of species of kelp and shellfish allow the system to be regenerative as well as resilient. Kelp can be used to replace corn and soy for animal feed. Cattle that eat a kelp-based diet produce significantly less methane than when they are raised on corn or soy. “In the presence of Asparagopsis taxiformis—described by De Nys as “a real stand-out” among the tested seaweeds— methane production was cut by 99 percent. Experiments in sheep showed that if dried Asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed made up just 2 percent of total feed, methane emissions drop by 70 percent.”
Bren grows kelp, mussels, scallops, oysters, clams, and his 3D ocean farms attract native fish species, supporting local fishing industries.
Barriers to entry are low: permits to farm on the ocean are a lot cheaper than land leases. You do need a boat, that’s one important component. Bren’s Green Wave program is designed to provide information and access to this new industry, and make it accessible to those who need it most.
More info: http://greenwave.org/about-us/