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🍏 "Kelp: Foraged, Farmed & Delicious!"

Reversing Climate Change

Photo by James Lee / Unsplash

Host: Ross Kenyon
Guest: Matt Kern | Co-Founder | Barnacle Foods
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Kelp

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:51] “We are a food manufacturing business based […] in Juneau, Alaska […] and we make assorted kelp foods with Alaskan kelp as the principal ingredient in pretty much all the products we make. […] It's very nutritious and has long been known to provide lots of nutrient value to people. And then the other really nice characteristic of kelp is that it's extremely sustainable and regenerative. […] There's a lot of motivation to get it infused into more people's diets. […] We do that by using it in a line of products that are familiar like hot sauces, sauces, pickles, seasonings, all kinds of things, because kelp is such a versatile ingredient.”

[23:57] “One of the biggest ways we see ourselves as different is that we do have a very strong mission around improving our ocean health and really trying to be a tool for positive change in our communities and coastline. And climate change really ties into our motivation to start in this business and focusing on kelp from the outset. […] Kelp farming could be a growing industry in Alaska in the coming years, […] [but] what's lacking in this whole equation is we need to have people who want to buy kelp and eat it and there has to be demand for this activity for it to scale and flourish across Alaska. And so we saw ourselves as we could play this role to develop a market for kelp that would help this activity prosper throughout the region because it has so much potential around carbon sequestration.”

[26:33] “Kelp […] can play an extraordinary role in terms of pulling carbon out of the ocean and working as a sequestration tool. And what sets kelp apart from other tools that are being considered and are all being implemented right now is the speed and the efficiency at which kelp pulls carbon out of the ocean. […] Kelp has a life cycle for many species of about a year and so kelp grows from a tiny spore that's microscopic to at some species up to 100 foot long organism that weighs many kilograms in just one short year. And it's able to incorporate carbon from the ocean into its structure by being really successful at photosynthesis, and having a really fast growing cell structure. And whereas a forest being planted for sequestration purposes takes decades to reach maturity, a kelp farm or plot can reach maturity in a single year. And then that kelp can be taken out of the ocean or sequestered in a number of ways and then replanted the following year and done successively.

[28:14] “A lot of the other sequestration activities are going to compete with land based activities, like food, where we have a lot of competition for space. And so in the ocean, we have a lot of room to grow kelp and pull carbon out of the environment. And […] the last really big factor here is that kelp doesn't require any inputs in terms of fertilizer, freshwater, and land. So it's really got a lot of advantages and seems like it's a really exciting tool in the sequestration realm.”

[29:43] “Kelp grows so fast, you can create an immense biomass in a short period of time, and then potentially sink it into the depths for long term storage. That is a strategy that could become really useful and important. We are focusing on a different type of strategy in that equation. And so our emphasis at Barnacle is to use food and use a business as a way to drive that process forward. However, the difference there is that our kelp that we're working to source and grow the demand for wouldn't be sunk, but rather, it would replace more carbon intensive foods that we're currently eating. […] So it is part of the replacement equation, where you're increasing regenerative foods in your diet and decreasing more carbon intensive foods.

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 45 min | 🗓️ 03/22/2022
✅ Time saved: 43 min

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