Everyone, buckle up. Seaweed is preparing for total world domination.
According to a recent story in the New Yorker, seaweed is "one of the world’s most sustainable and nutritious crops. It absorbs dissolved nitrogen, phosphorous, and carbon dioxide directly from the sea — its footprint is negative — and proliferates at a terrific rate." In other words: it's a powerhouse — "the culinary equivalent of an electric car."
With the oceans' fish populations depleting rapidly and land agriculture getting increasingly screwed over by climate change, a group of experts (entrepreneurs, scientists, farmers, and more) are trying to make seaweed the next big thing. And yes, this may very well include that bacon-flavored seaweed everyone was talking about recently.
A major driver of this movement is Bren Smith, owner of Thimble Island Oyster Company and a champion of vertical aquaculture who only grows things that help restore the ocean.
The key, he says, is to teach people to love the stuff.
In order to do so, Smith is currently planning "a twenty-five-farm co-operative revolving around a seafood hub near New Haven, with processing equipment, a seed bank and hatchery, value-added venders making kelp smoothies, and a Beyond Fish market, where the only fish available will be barramundi, fed on seaweed."
And the seaweed business looks promising so far, as it's already competing with kale. Sales of seaweed snacks are growing by 30 percent annually, with 2014 sales reaching $500 million, while the kale-chip business is worth $200 million.
So, in order to help this movement and protect the oceans, let's start thinking of seaweed as more than just something that holds our sushi together. Let's make it the new kale.
(h/t New Yorker)