Ocean Farming is the Future!


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/

Permaculture Podcast Philly Episodes

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is the Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann.  A number of the episodes have focused on Philadelphia-area Permaculturists.  It’s great seeing people getting exposure on a global platform like this podcast.  Philly has some amazing work being done.  Check them out below!

Episode 1608: Jewish Traditions with Nati Passow, Part 1 (Faith and Earth Care)

Episode 1609: An introduction to Philadelphia Orchard Project

1611 – Permanent Multi-Culture with Robyn Mello

1613 – Philly Round Table, Part 1

1619 – Philly Roundtable Q&A


Permaculture Center at Crefeld School

I recently stubmbled upon the website for a Permaculture Education facility at the Crefeld School!  It looks like it’s an outdoor classroom / learning area to teach about sustainable living practices, and permaculture.  From their website, “environmental sustainability is now a part of Crefeld’s curriculum.”  The project seems to have completed it’s first phase including a greenhouse, aquaponics system, chickens, and a bat house.  Future phases involve using the heat from an adjacent glass-blowing workshop to heat the greenhouse, rainwater collection, composting systems, mushroom production, and an outdoor classroom.

“The goal of this project is to develop our curriculum to enable our students to take ownership of this learning space and then share their knowledge with others. It’s happening faster than we expected. Last year, neighborhood elementary school students were invited to campus to learn more about urban agriculture. Our students became the teachers and taught a group of interested younger students about chickens and greenhouses.”

Very cool stuff!  Good for the Crefeld school!

Rewild Yourself podcast – Ben Falk

static1.squarespace.jpgThis particular podcast episode really hit home with me.  The host speaks about how dance and tribal-festival culture are related to re-wilding and communal release.  He also speaks about his philosophy toward hunting as a way to ethically and sustainably steward our local habitats.  Finally, one of my favorite permaculture practitioners, Ben Falk, discusses how he turned away from the depressive battle against ecological destruction, and focused his life on ecological regeneration.  As humans, we have a unique ability to repair and build ecosystems.  While our society necessitates exploitation and destruction by its very structures, we can choose to learn and practice a new way of living that focuses on regeneration of local resources and community.  We are nature, working.