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
Co-Founder & Executive Director: Bren Smith
Co-Founder & Deputy Director: Emily Stengel
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

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.

  • We're hiring! GreenWave seeks a self-starting, team-oriented individual to fulfill our full-time Farmer Training P… https://t.co/qhCTWnn0WR
  • Happy, healthy kelp growth one month after outplanting!
  • "We need more hatcheries—and more scientists—to support the growing number of ocean farmers, satisfy market demand,… https://t.co/VUsnZ3U4KE
  • "Kelp jerky is not only a nutritious snack, its production could help fight climate change. AKUA, the startup behin… https://t.co/E1gfGw6cyL
  • “It’s a really good fit with our existing fishery infrastructure. We have an ocean workforce of fishing communities… https://t.co/s2eMwW45As
  • Kelp is striking at all its stages. The GreenWave hatchery team carefully monitors these baby kelp blades until th… https://t.co/4SvEeVazt6
  • By 2035, @BillionOyster hopes to have distributed 1 billion live oysters around 100 acres of reefs, which will make… https://t.co/Xj7OmiINw7
  • A freshwater mussel apocalypse is underway—and no one knows why. https://t.co/YtDe25vDjz
  • REMINDER: tomorrow is the last day to apply to the AK ocean farming workshop series hosted by GreenWave in collabor… https://t.co/mmKvg3pjh5
  • Help us continue to spark collaborations between ocean farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to scale demand for r… https://t.co/7Qrc237mEl
  • "In addition to its reported health benefits, this seaweed is also harvested sustainably — a factor increasingly im… https://t.co/EZS3F7V2Ml
  • "Oceans are having a moment in climate science. Politicians are increasingly taking cues from scientists as they bu… https://t.co/Ah0je36F1d
  • With Washington's natural kelp beds declining, some scientists think seaweed aquaculture could fill an ecological n… https://t.co/ZmffYy5GWX
  • Francke adds that "the importance of a supportive community in the recovery process is that it gives you an opportu… https://t.co/PLMfAkVLGQ
  • 4,000+ people have reached out to GreenWave to join forces w/ the ocean to battle climate change. Help train an arm… https://t.co/HHam6HN7JG
  • "The oyster shell taste is then balanced with kelp seaweed and other ingredients, like juniper and Amalfi lemon. Th… https://t.co/zg6sLIaQ7h
  • "@kanyewest shared that Yeezy is planning to move its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, where it will… https://t.co/v1prJZZoFF
  • “We are sleepwalking toward a climate catastrophe and need to wake up and take urgent action,” said Alden Meyer, di… https://t.co/Xf1zR2MsK3
  • "If managed sustainably, the oceans could provide more than two-thirds of the world's future protein needs, and wit… https://t.co/tXZ4gtZfKr
  • Stunning footage of the work in Alaska! Beautifully done, @NOAAFisheries! https://t.co/uqPFCpFh04