Down to Earth

Kristina Long is founder and CEO of Sea Forest, a kelp farming company in British Columbia, Canada. We talk about everything kelp–sustainable farming and harvesting, uses of kelp, the business model, and the community.

0’58 how she got interested in seaweed
1’13 professional sea captain
2’21 apprenticed with kelp farmer, then launched a farm
2’46 kelp farming and wild harvesting
3’21 the makings of a sustainable kelp farm
3’38 learning from the mistakes of others
4’05 healthy kelp farms
4’42 the role of kelp in ecosystems
5’25 the role of kelp in climate change mitigation
6’12 overharvesting of kelp
6’44 how to sustainably harvest kelp
7’18 the regulation of kelp harvesting
8’17 the act of harvesting from the deck of the boat
8’33 using drone technology to harvest kelp
9’23 both wild harvesting and farming
10’08 marking the boundaries of the aquatic farm
10’55 uses of kelp
12’21 iodine in seaweed
13’16 the process of taking the kelp from boat to market
14’07 various products they make from kelp
14’28 the taste of kelp ice cream (spoile alert: sweet potato)
15’28 the market for kelp connected to the rise of Japanese food
16’09 the various markets, direct and retail
16’38 going national
17’11 sustainability vs. capitalism
17’52 looking to diversify to terrestrial kep farming
18’54 their interaction with the other people on the sea
20’06 early conflicts with neighbors, and how they were resolved
21’09 feeding kelp to cattle…good idea or not?
22’03 not a good idea to feed kelp to cattle
23’16 problems of monocultures
23’31 “green gold rush” can lead to overindustrialization of kelp and wreaking havoc with ecosystems
24’27 better to have multiple small comanies/farms
25’01 the artesinal approach
25’14 necessary components of good policy
26’40 the aquatic species that depend on kelp
27’38 the other species she sees on the sea
28’54 education for healthier marine systems
29’37 would like to be able to show people the farm
29’56 what she loves about her work
30’22 all the different people on the community
30’59 harvesting timelines
31’45 mapping where they’ve been
32’10 being a woman ship captain
33’00 dealing with male ego
33’22 sexism on the sea
34’10 assuming a female leader is someone’s wife
34’50 things have changed a lot in the last five years–for the better
35’53 international community
36’43 the seaweed commons