Springtide Seaweed, LLC, founded by Sarah Redmond, is the largest fully integrated USDA Organic Certified seaweed farm in Maine. They provide nursery and farm technology, services, and seed to commercial and hobby farmers throughout Maine and New England. Their nursery species include sugar kelp, skinny kelp, alaria, and dulse for end products such as organic ingredients for the food, nutraceutical, and agricultural industries.
The company is also a founder of the Maine Seaweed Exchange, a non-profit devoted to seaweed aquaculture education and research. “Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy and helping them to reach their full potential strengthens Maine’s economy and creates new employment opportunities, particularly in our rural communities,” said the Senators in a joint statement.
Springtide Seaweed will use this funding to refine its cultivation system, the products of which will be used both by them and also commercialized for aquaculture businesses globally. “We welcome this investment from the USDA, which will allow Springtide Seaweed to develop new seaweed crops, increasing sustainability and efficiency in the industry, diversifying the aquaculture industry, and supporting jobs in coastal communities,” the Senators’ statement went on to say.
The announcement acknowledges that the potential of U.S. seaweed aquaculture is immense, but the industry remains stalled at low-value brown kelp crops. New turnkey systems, adaptable to red and brown seaweed cultivation, will increase sustainability, reduce gear and crop failure, and enable high-value red seaweeds to be easily integrated into existing aquaculture commerce, including shellfish, finfish, and seaweed farms worldwide.
The funding was awarded through the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The program encourages the growth of domestic small businesses by offering grants to support high-quality research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture. These small business ventures are recognized as having the potential for larger scale commercialization as well as benefits to the community at large.
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