Bren Smith: The Least Deadly Catch: Ocean Farming in the Climate Change Era
Bren Smith, founder of GreenWave and winner of the 2015 Buckminster Fuller Challenge award, tells his personal story of ecological redemption. He dropped out of high school and became a commercial fisherman at age 14, but witnessed the destruction of the ocean firsthand. In a quest for a better way, he pioneered a revolutionary new model of harvesting bounty from the seas. He describes his innovative, practical design and future vision for “restorative 3-D ocean farming”. It restores ecosystems, mitigates climate change, creates jobs in a blue-green economy, and ensures healthy, secure local food for communities.
The Restorative Food Systems Program helps transform the dominant, exploitive food system to one that is ecologically based, humane, socially just and equitable.
Over the past 30 years, Bioneers has demonstrated and taught how food system visionaries and practitioners are creating viable alternative models and practices that are regenerative, fair and economically robust. With the onset of climate disruption, taking these practices and models to scale is imperative.
Through the Bioneers conference, our media and special projects, we highlight successful models and innovative practices to expand grassroots knowledge and hasten the transformation to ecological agriculture and a just and healthy food system. We provide information, inspiration, connections and conceptual frameworks to help individuals, communities and decision-makers envision and implement their own sustainable food future.
• Since 1990, the conference has highlighted diverse visionaries reimagining food systems: organic and “beyond organic” ecological farming; seed diversity; soil fertility; food justice; carbon farming; more localized food systems; Indigenous farming practices; healthy food and nutrition; and resistance against GMOs, agribusiness and the corporatization of food and farming..
• We produce extensive media related to food systems, including our most recent Carbon Farming Series, and we’ve catalyzed significant media exposure and advancement for little known breakthrough people and work, such as Michael Pollan’s inclusion of farmer Joel Salatin as the protagonist in his bestselling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The Bioneers Food and Farming Media Collections offer themed collections of the “greatest hits” of conference food and farming keynotes. We create and distribute articles, interviews, podcasts and blogs with leading ecological farming visionaries and sustainable food systems leaders for the Bioneers website and partner outlets.
• We produce numerous hands-on trainings on leading-edge practices on model farms led by master eco-farmers and Permaculture, Biodynamic and other teachers.
In 2017 we began working with Bren Smith and GreenWave’s breakthrough model of 3-D Ocean Farming, profiled in May 2018 on 60 Minutes. Bioneers is collaborating with GreenWave to advance this remarkable technology spread to California. Not only does this elegantly simple system produce abundant health food, it simultaneously revitalizes the ocean, sequesters substantial carbon, provides terrestrial fertilizer, and offers an economic democracy model for localized food systems.
We’ve implemented change-oriented projects including:
• We produced Dreaming New Mexico: An Age of Local Foodsheds and a Fair Trade State, an atlas of food system sustainability that developed a framework for a state-level, local, socially just food system.
Today there’s a hugely encouraging generational resurgence among young people to transform the food system. We work closely with youth including our Just Us for Food Justice initiative that convenes youth activists to cultivate awareness of and participation in the local and global food justice movements while building leadership skills.
We thank all the remarkable people lighting the path to a healthy, just and regenerative food system.
Arty Mangan, Restorative Food Systems Director, Arty@Bioneers.org
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