Kelp Farming, for the Climate
Seaweed and giant kelp are sometimes called “the sequoias of the sea.” Yet at a time when so many people are talking about climate solutions and reforestation — there aren’t nearly enough people talking about how the ocean can be part of that. In part one of our two-part series, we go out on the water to see how seaweed can play a role in addressing climate change, and how a fisherman named Bren Smith became kelp’s unlikely evangelist.
Agriculture in Canada
In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.
The Ocean Farmers Trying to Save the World With Seaweed
Referred to by some as the “seaweed guru”—by others, as the “kelp grandfather”—Druehl, 84, was the first commercial seaweed operator in North America when he began growing kelp, a brown seaweed, in 1982. Seaweed is his life: he has studied it, farmed it, cooked it, and written an award winning, bestselling book about it. Over the years, Druehl has watched interest in seaweed come and go. But now, as climate change wreaks havoc on ecosystems across the planet, the world is turning to seaweed as a potential climate change solution. “All of a sudden, people have discovered seaweed,” Druehl tells me. “They’ve discovered us.”