Dr. Charles Yarish heads the Yarish Seaweed Marine Biotechnology Lab at the University of Connecticut at Stamford, Ct. and is a pioneer in the field of sustainable seaweed aquaculture, otherwise known as seaweed farming. Yarish is nothing short of bullish on seaweed, and kelp aquaculture in particular, and it is no wonder why. The benefits of seaweed are enormous. Some seaweed species take CO2 out of the atmosphere at 5X the rate of land-based plants and it is a sustainable food source for humans and animals. Nori, a red seaweed, provides more protein than soy, more vitamin C than orange juice, as much heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids as many fish, as well as minerals like iodine, zinc, and magnesium – all with no need for agro-chemicals, fertilizer, or antibiotics. Kelp species could well be the biofuel of the future. Initial feasibility studies suggest that an acre of kelp can produce 2,000 gallons of ethanol, five times the amount derived from corn. This just keeps getting better!
With Yarish’s help, seaweed farming is experiencing a small boom in Maine, Southern New England, and Alaska and it is predicted to grow significantly over the next several years. Kelp farmer Bren Smith, formerly a traditional fisherman, contacted Yarish after hurricanes Irene and Sandy devastated his shellfish beds. It was Yarish who introduced him to kelp farming. Smith has gone on to found the non-profit GreenWave whose mission it is to create jobs and protect the planet; grow good, local food for communities; and to make a living on a living planet.
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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.