Bren Smith, a fisherman and ocean farmer based in Long Island, New York, writes in In These Times that after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy destroyed his crops and swept away his fishing gear, he began vertical underwater farming. He worked with GreenWave, a nonprofit organization that offers funding and training to help farmers start up 3d ocean farms.
Excerpt From the article:
We addressed the first question of farm replication and scale, not by patenting or franchising—those are tools of the old economy—but by open-sourcing our farming model so that anybody with 20 acres and a boat and $30,000 can start his or her own farm. One of our new farmers is a third-generation lobsterman who was unemployed because climate change had pushed lobsters northward. We got him up and running, growing and selling the first year. Among our other farmers are former Alaskan salmon fishermen, an Iraq war veteran and a Latino family whose ancestors were driven off their farmlands in Mexico. We replicate and scale by specifically designing our farms to require low capital costs and minimal skills. We seek simplicity not complexity. We believe that replication is driven by setting low barriers to entry so that people from all walks of life can grow and prosper with us. At the same time our farmers receive start-up grants, access to free seed, gear donated by Patagonia, and two years of free consulting from GreenWave. What is most important, we guarantee to purchase 80 percent of their crops for the first five years at triple the market rate.
Replicate & Scale
Farm Startup & Farmer Apprenticeship Program Our open source model is designed so that anyone with a boat and $20,000 can start their own farm. We help farmers’ start ocean farming businesses by providing necessary resources:
- Legal and Permitting Support: Working with GreenWave staff and partner law firms, farmers receive pro-bono support with their farm applications, crop insurance, and more.
- Startup Grant: Farmers receive a need-based grant to support them with initial farm setup costs.
- Farmer Training: two years of hands-on training on our “floating classroom.”
- Weatherized Gear: With the support of our generous partner, Patagonia, GreenWave farmers receive seasonal gear to protect them from the harshest weather conditions.
- Guaranteed Purchasing: Farmers receive guaranteed purchasing of 80% of their crops at triple the market rate for their first five years.