It’s nearing the end of a long work week. We’ve lined up three pieces for you that focus on sustainability in food production (at sea and on land). On the menu, in no particular order.


ICYMI: seaweed could be a miracle food…and vertical ocean farming could help us address important environmental issues. We look back to a fabulous article by Dana Goodyear, which appeared in the November 2015 issue of the New Yorker. The piece profiles the work of Bren Smith, a fisherman and founder of GreenWave. GreenWave is an organization that works on “restorative 3D ocean farming.” A rationale for Bren’s work is the potential of the ocean to help feed a growing world population. While the ocean covers about 70% of the earth, it produces only a small percentage of our food. Per Goodyear, “To grow the rest, we use almost forty per cent of the world’s land and nearly three-quarters of our fresh water.

UC Food Observer’s editor, Rose Hayden-Smith, had an opportunity to hear Bren speak this week. It was a fascinating presentation and it inspired us to go back and re-read Goodyear’s piece. Goodyear wrote: “As industrial land-based agriculture becomes increasingly untenable — environmentally destructive and at the same time vulnerable to drought and changing weather — we are being pushed out to sea. Smith says, “The question is, Are we going to do it right or wrong?”” A #mustread


Are sustainable farming certifications making a difference? Independent, third-party certification is on the rise and is driving positive change in practice and policy in sustainable agriculture. But are there challenges that haven’t been fully addressed as certification scales up? Ana Paula Tavares and Andre de Freitas explore this topic in a piece written for GreenBiz. Tavares and de Freitas provide a quote that will stick with us for a long time: “We don’t have the luxury of narrowing sustainability imperatives to conform to the conveniences or limitations of businesses, governments or even certification regimes. We have to come together to transcend them, and make global agriculture conform to non-negotiable limits of sustainability set by the planet.” A good, #longread.


ICYMI, our Q&A with fisherman and organizer Brett TolleyBrett told us this: “I feel like we’re at this moment nationally and internationally…a tipping point 15819536397_135ba216b3_zwhere fisheries are getting pushed toward a model of industrialization which we know has displaced small and medium-scale food producers on the land and created enormous ecological damage. And I know it’s the wrong way to go. It strips away all the things I care about and am grateful for. I know I’m in the right place when I’m building power with the fishing communities. We’re trying to find solutions and make change.” This piece pairs nicely with Goodyear’s piece about Bren Smith.


Have a great weekend…we’ll see you Monday with some fresh, original content for you to dive into!