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The Future of Our Food
Growing Underground and Underwater #1

PART ONE: Farmed vegetables from the sea

October 10, 2017

The Future of Our Food
Growing Underground and Underwater #1

The promise of things to come…..I’ve been listening to the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2017 in the UK and to inspiring people whose businesses are likely to become important in the future of our food. They could change how food is grown sold and distributed in years to come.

Off the north coast of Ireland where the Irish Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean is a little island that is home to just 140 people. A pioneer is growing seaweed on ropes in the cool waters. She says kelp grows very quickly and is utterly delicious to eat with a ‘Chickeny, salty, umami flavour’. There are many culinary uses for this versatile ingredient.

Dulce another seaweed variety, is the darling of the relatively new mainstream wholefoods movement here in Australia. But in Ireland and Scotland it has been harvested for many years. It was, and still is a popular fun-fair treat. It evokes the same excitement among children akin to candy floss….wonder if Aussie kids would be ok if we swapped the sugar laden spun refined air for salty mineraley seaweed?!

Microscopic kelp spores can swim to where they want to grow. With a little bit of help in a lab the reproductive part of the seaweed is popped in a dry fridge overnight just long enough for it to believe it’s life has taken a turn for the worse! Once re-submerged in their beloved salt water they release their spores in a last ditch attempt to reproduce before another disaster occurs. The life cycle begins again.

There are of course other commercial enterprises already cultivating seaweed commercially from the ocean around the world.

Farmed seaweed globally is worth $5.5 billion. Farmed salmon, $99 billion. The yield is where it gets interesting. For $99 billion you only get 5 million tonnes of fish. For $5.5 billion seaweed yields a massive 25 million tonnes.

Farming the seas comes at a price as we know with salmon farms causing destruction of coastal waters. In the future is farming seaweed going to be sustainable in a ‘family farm’ kind of way or can it be successfully produced on a ‘soy farm in Brazil’ model? Only time will tell.

Part two of this blog will be coming next week.

The control of food production threatens to be dominated by global companies, with six major players what is on the cards for the future?

You can also read about an amazing business that is flourishing in central London, growing salad greens and fresh herbs on a commercial scale in a bizarre location.

This is innovation at its’ best.

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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