At the mention of eating seaweed, the strips of nori which cradle our sushi rolls immediately come to mind. As do those strangely textured, crunchy yet melt in your mouth roasted seaweed sheets. As a the main ingredient of a gourmet dish, or a go-to protein rich snack? Hardly. Seaweed has long been overlooked as a viable food source in America, but is now fighting its way into superfood status.
The Future of Farming is in the Ocean
Industrialized fishing has taken a toll on ecosystems of the ocean, chasing fish away and leaving fisherman jobless. That’s what led Bren Smith to found Greenwave, an initiative which works to train unemployed fisherman into sea farmers who grow different kinds of seaweed and shellfish. These restorative species provide a highly sustainable form of food production, and positively impact ocean conditions by soaking up carbon and nitrogen that threaten aquatic ecosystems.
Inspired by this, Beyond the Shoreline has begun creating innovative kelp based snacks that step outside the nori sheet box. Their first product, kelp jerky, has yet to be released but promises to sidestep the issue of appetite appeal. The American palate may not yet be prepared to embrace the slimy, fish flavored plant at face value, so moving forward with a familiar form of snack is a huge step in the right direction. But what’s spurring the movement to bring this abundant crop from ocean to table in the first place?
Good for You
Kelp, the unlikely hero of the sea, has more to offer than expected. “Nori contains more vitamin C than orange juice, more calcium than milk, and more protein than soybeans. And it might surprise those of us on the hunt for Omega-3’s to learn that many fish do not create these heart-healthy nutrients — they consume them. By eating the plants fish eat, we get the same benefits.” (National Geographic) Truly the “perfect plant based snack”, Beyond the Shoreline’s kelp jerky is vegan, protein rich and contains zero calories from sugar.
Good for the Earth
Beef jerky has been a long standing staple for road trips, hikes and all manner of adventures. But with cattle farms contributing to to environmental damage on a devastating scale, consumers and companies alike are leaning toward more sustainable and healthy snacking options. Kelp is unique in that it requires zero fresh water, fertilizer, feed or deforestation to thrive. It’s an environmental powerhouse that is versatile enough to be used for food, fuel, fertilizer, and feed. It’s food that supports the depleted oceans and local economies alike. Additionally, the final portion of funding for Beyond the Shoreline focuses on packaging the product in recyclable bags for a 100% environmentally friendly food option.