Model & Strategy

GreenWave is supporting a new generation of restorative ocean farmers and building the foundation for a new blue-green ocean economy that creates jobs, mitigates climate change and grows healthy food for local communities. Their 3D Ocean Farming system, which won the 2015 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, grows a mix of native seaweeds and shellfish that require zero inputs – making it the most sustainable form of food production on the planet – and simultaneously sequesters carbon and rebuilds marine ecosystems. Since their farms sit below the surface and leverage the entire water column, they produce high yields with minimal aesthetic impact and a small footprint. They create communal, not privatized, spaces by welcoming residents to boat or fish on our farms. Their crops are used as food, fertilizer, animal feed, biofuel and more. This farming model also has a low barrier to entry: anyone with 10 acres, a boat and $20,000 can be up and running within one year.

GreenWave was founded in 2014 to replicate this model. They’re laying the foundation for a just, restorative and resilient ocean economy that meets the needs of both people and the planet. They work in three areas: farmer training, policy development, and R&D. Their training program provides new ocean farmers with permitting support, hands-on technical assistance, donated Patagonia gear, free seed, small startup grants, and introductions to guaranteed buyers. Their policy and R&D programs are developed in partnership with a range of private and public institutions. GreenWave believes this is the first opportunity in generations to “do food right” by embedding justice, equality and climate mitigation into the DNA of the new ocean economy. GreenWave views our oceans as a blank slate, allowing us to take the lessons learned from the missteps of industrial agriculture and aquaculture, and build a system from the bottom up that ensures we can all make a living on a living planet.

At a Glance
Founded: 2014
Environment & Climate Change
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
GreenWave
43 E Pearl Street
New Haven, CT 06513
Growing good, local food for local communities.
Infographic detailing GreenWave's 3D Ocean Farming systems
Meet Bren Smith and Emily Stengel

Bren Smith is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of GreenWave, and the owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm. A lifelong commercial fisherman since the age of 14, Bren pioneered the development of restorative 3D Ocean Farming, which is designed to restore ocean ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create blue-green jobs for fishers and others — while ensuring healthy, local food for communities. Bren’s work as a 3D Ocean Farmer has been profiled by CNN, Google Food, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and others. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and National Geographic. In 2013, Smith was chosen as one of six “Ocean Heroes” by Oceana and Future of Fish’s “Ocean Entrepreneur” of the year. He is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Fellow.

Emily Stengel is the Deputy Director and Co-Founder of GreenWave. With a background in food industry management and agricultural research, Emily brings experience with and knowledge of the struggles faced by land-based producers. She’s committed to bringing lessons learned from land to the creation of a new blue-green economy, supporting sustainable livelihoods on the water and making the sure the barriers to entry for new restorative ocean farmers are low. Emily has an M.S. in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont.

IMPACT

GreenWave has supported over 60 farmers and entrepreneurs in NY, CA, AK, and WA, developed an online farming toolkit, incubated kelp carbon, sensor, fertilizer and feed projects, and steered $2 million of investment into industry expansion. They’ve also partnered with First Nations to leverage ocean farming for frontline climate resilience.

GreenWave farms are currently operating in 4 states. They aim to have farms in 8 states by 2020.

Building on this success, GreenWave is poised to scale reef expansion to 10 reefs, 500 farms in the next five years. A 10-acre restorative ocean farm has the potential to absorb up to 7,000lbs of Carbon and 1,536lbs of Nitrogen per year.

  • "The scientists propose the establishment of industrial-size farms to grow seaweed to maturity, harvest it, and the… https://t.co/wyqaSSlnh0
  • "A #GreenNewDeal should include reforms in ocean habitat restoration, community based fisheries and restorative oce… https://t.co/7wOghrYTan
  • "If enough of these facilities were built, they could eventually offset the total global emissions from fossil fuel… https://t.co/NrOr7EBmRL
  • Cheers for "E-Ferry Ellen's" maiden voyage! "The E-ferry has been designed with integrated battery + transmission s… https://t.co/CoRprFvVn1
  • We team up with entrepreneurs like Courtney Boyd Myers to scale the demand for ocean farmers' crops. She launched A… https://t.co/fyFO7CQt2u
  • RT @StewartalsopIII: Here is my conversation with @oceanfarmer at the @ToniicNetwork conference about ocean health. Last two episodes we ta…
  • While food forests help preserve green space, provide homes for wildlife, enhance biodiversity, and encourage commu… https://t.co/Bq862DPuW0
  • "A total of 450 dives per year will be conducted at 21 areas in kelp forests along the San Diego coast in the five-… https://t.co/fuYUiubmSS
  • "When winter storms fill estuaries with fresh water, it temporarily reduces the water's saltiness. The rainwater up… https://t.co/9GJfimcN0I
  • RT @wef: One man’s incredible plan to fight climate change by growing food underwater. Watch the first of our weekly videos in collaboratio…
  • Bren sits down with @beside_media to discuss the future of the food system at sea. https://t.co/B7nSEEcLJB
  • "[Rockweed] canopies provide the shading, cooling and sheltering that many rocky intertidal dwellers have come to r… https://t.co/waZAjlB8u8
  • "Small farmers and food businesses are essential to building a resilient food system, but they need flexible, patie… https://t.co/asFf1F2tOa
  • "a significant number of California mussels had died inside their own shells—and it could be because the temperatur… https://t.co/zGw2P9yMVO
  • "once-remote coastal fishing communities are fast adapting and innovating to cater for the rising global craving fo… https://t.co/PzjXu4oLlB
  • Chatham Kelp talks restorative ocean farming with Edible Cape Cod: https://t.co/jx17a7vEUI
  • Catching up with Amy Clark from @Medium! https://t.co/9eXpbtx1Oc
  • RT @Disruptive_Env: A short clip from the latest podcast episode with @GreenWaveOrg. So many wise words from Bren that I could have chose…
  • "SeaTrees is about planting and protecting coastal ecosystems: mangrove forests, kelp forests, coral reefs, seagras… https://t.co/nAW2liQyzJ
  • 50 years ago, 1000 small & family-owned seed companies produced and distributed seeds in the U.S. Fast forward to p… https://t.co/a4YfzwxTjh