Sustainable Sea Treats with Nautical Farms

05.26.2023 Arts & Culture
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We take a deep dive into the world of sustainable ocean farming with Morgan-Lea Fogg, the Co-Founder of Nautical Farms, a regenerative ocean farm located off the coast of Maine where they plant, grow, and harvest seaweeds that get transformed into healthy & delicious food products that are salty, savory, and nutty in flavor along with nourishing bath products inspired by nature and generations of self-care practices.

Her deep appreciation for health, wellness, and sustainable food systems guided Morgan to co-create a modern farm that promotes sea greens. Read on for sustainability, aquaculture, and some salty sea treats!

Q: Tell us more about seaweed! How is seaweed a foundational pillar for a healthy planet?

A: There is so much to say on this topic. For starters, while rainforests are undoubtedly vital to our planet’s ecosystems, algae and seaweeds are estimated to produce roughly 70% of the oxygen we breathe. In addition to that, they increase our resilience to climate change and strengthen the ocean’s health by absorbing excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Both micro and macro algae support biosequestration and increase biodiversity. Plus, as a plant-based food source, seaweed also has a much lower carbon footprint compared to traditional animal-based protein, and it doesn’t require any dry land, fresh water, fertilizers, or stimulants to grow.

Q: How can someone incorporate seaweed into their everyday life?

A: Like many popular herbs, mushrooms, and plants today, seaweeds can be both ingested or used topically, and both provide benefits. If you’re interested in edible seaweeds, I like to tell people to start using seaweed as a salt alternative and sprinkle it on your eggs in the morning. In whole leaf or flake form, it is naturally salty but also provides the added vitamins and minerals that are not found in traditional table salts. It adds an umami, savory flavor to soups like miso or ramen, sprinkled on veggie or fruit salads, or incorporated into stir-fries. It’s delicious in chocolate chip cookies or homemade bread if you like to bake. We experiment in our kitchen often and add the best recipes to our website. The Carrot & Alaria Pudding is one of my all-time favorite side dishes to make.

If you’re hesitant to eat seaweed but are interested in the health benefits, we offer vegan kelp capsules and bath soaks. Brown seaweeds, like the ones we grow at Nautical Farms, contain alginic acid, which can bind with toxins and heavy metals and help to flush them out of the body, making them great detoxifiers. Seaweeds are also rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides, making them great hydrators and aiding in anti-aging. One of my favorite ways to use our seaweed for self-care is using our kelp powder in face masks. I mix up a concoction of chaga mushroom, pearl powder, lavender powder, and kelp powder with a little bit of rose water, spread it on my face, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes until dry. It’s an incredible exfoliator and moisturizer all in one.

Q: What can you share about Nautical Farms’ regenerative practices? I know you use a 3D ocean farming model as well. Can you touch on that too!?

A: When I think of being regenerative, I think of the word reciprocity. I love finding and exploring the reciprocal relationships that can exist within our Nautical Farms ecosystem. This synergistic relationship starts with polyculture farming, which is at the heart of what we do here. Polyculture farming or regenerative agriculture (in our case, aquaculture) is simply the practice of growing multiple crops simultaneously or in rotation. By growing several species like sugar kelp, alaria, skinny kelp, and mussels, our farm has enhanced nutrient utilization but also takes up less space and increases biodiversity.

Taking it a step further, our packaging is always plastic-free, compostable, or reusable. Some of our packaging materials can be planted and will sprout wildflowers, which help bees. We have a use for every single blade of seaweed that we grow — whether it becomes a product we sell or it goes to fertilize the fields of local farms who, then, provide even more great products that support our health and wellbeing.

Q: What products can one find in the Nautical Farms shop?

A: Our seaweed shop has a variety of offerings, no matter your comfort or interest level. We offer Sugar Kelp & Alaria in whole leaf, flake, or powder form — all of which can be used in cooking. The whole-leaf versions are a popular edible for those who love a salty snack. We have kelp supplements, bath soaks, and a super luxurious Maine sea salt & kelp body scrub. Soon, we’ll be expanding our edibles into seasonings. Our customers love our Seaweed Flake Bundle and Kelp Capsules the most.

Q: What does the future hold for seaweed? Is there anything common folk can proactively do now to protect the future of seaweed farming?

A: The future is bright for seaweed. It’s taking over our kitchens and bathrooms in ways it never has before and is now making its way into biodegradable plastics.

However, the majority of seaweed consumed here in the United States is still imported. To support a sustainable future of seaweed, no matter how you like to use it, we highly recommend supporting local farms growing seaweeds. Not only does that provide you with fresher ingredients, but its traceability is much higher, ensuring your seaweed comes from safe, clean waters.

Co-Founder of Nautical Farms, Morgan-Lea Fogg set out to impact the world and disrupt food systems by building a modern farm that promotes sea greens and creates sustainable food & bath products that are just as healthy for consumers as they are for the planet. With a background in community building and event production, Morgan-Lea also is focused on building sustainable ocean farming networks and has her own kelp farm off the coast of Maine.

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