Seagriculture Speaker

Seagriculture USA

7 - 8 September 2022

Portland, ME, USA

Severine v T Fleming, Co-Founder, Farmer, Activist-Organizer, Smithereen Farms, Seaweed Commons, USA

About the speaker:

Severine v T Fleming is co-founder of Seaweed Commons, an online learning community of seaweed farmers, harvesters, scientists, and advocates. Severine is a farmer, activist, and organizer based in Downeast Maine. She runs Smithereen Farm, a MOFGA certified organic wild blueberry, seaweed, and orchard operation which runs a value-added processing kitchen and store, and hosts educational camps and camping. She is a founder and board member of Agrarian Trust and current director of the Greenhorns, a 15-year-old grassroots organization whose mission is to recruit, promote, and support the incoming generation of famers in America. Seaweed Commons (www.seaweedcommons.org) is a project of Greenhorns and a recipient of the 2021 NE SARE grant for “ Alternatives to plastic in Aquaculture” and the Seaweed Commons+Ecovative’s MYCO-BUOY project to create and deploy biodegradable flotation solutions for aquaculture. She is joined on this panel by other members of Seaweed Commons. 


Company info: 

The Seaweed Commons is an international community of seaweed growers, harvesters, scientists, and advocates in support a collaboratively managed and locally controlled seaweed industry. The Seaweed Commons supports an ecosystem-based approach to the development of the industry that is informed by research to ensure that farms are in appropriate locations, of an appropriate size, and protect biodiversity. We seek to By provide the public with nuanced and accessible information on the politics, ecology, governance, and economy of marine algae. 


Presentation:

What is a right-sized seaweed economy and how do we get there?

Severine v T Fleming runs Smithereen Farm in Downeast Maine, and is a co-founder of the Seaweed Commons network (www.seaweedcommons.org) We will learn about the seaweed commons international network and position paper and their various project including the MYCOBUOY project. For example, Sue Van Hook’s mycelium buoy initiative seeks to replace plastic in kelp and oyster aquaculture applications

Severine will present some international case studies to provoke questions that inform decision-points we face here domestically. 

The regulatory and market structures that will define the “Blue Economy” in our state will impact us all. As the seaweed sector grows, how will we ensure the co-authorship of smaller scale operators, entrepreneurs, youth, indigenous and traditional wild harvesters in participating actively in shaping the rules, and running businesses in this space? How can we take action now, to arrive at a locally owned, conservation-minded, suitably scaled seaweed sector?  How do we achieve economic and ecological resilience in these critical coastal habitats, avoiding the boom and bust cycles of other fisheries and of fin-fish aquaculture? 

How can we learn from past experiences and shape the sector together? In particular:

1. Avoiding privatization of leased public trust waters.

2. Biodiversity and biomass inventories' role in informing harvest permits.

3.  Precautionary regulation to avoid unintended consequences of GMO seaweeds and genetic contamination of/disease pressures on native macroalgae.

4. Caution with allowing speculation for ‘ carbon sequestration’ using algae. 

5. Prioritizing native/ resident access to public trust waters. 


Keywords: 

Conservation, Just Economies, Biodiversity, Small-scale farmers, wild seaweed harvesters

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