Keeping Up With Kelp: A Delicious Partnership with Atlantic Sea Farms to Save Our Planet 

Did you know that despite covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, only 2% of the food we eat is supplied by the ocean? Although the first foods that come to mind when you think of the ocean may be animal products, such as fish, shrimp, and lobster, many people are also eating sea vegetables–specifically kelp!  

In recent years, you may have seen kelp incorporated into a variety of trendy recipes and taking on various forms. Some kelp-lovers have chosen to add kelp powder to their daily green smoothie, while others have opted to eat it as-is within salads. The possibilities are endless with this adaptable sea vegetable!  

What are the Benefits of Eating Kelp? 

Kelp, a kind of seaweed, is a marine algae that is full of vitamins, over 20 different minerals, and fiber that nourish our bodies.  

Furthermore, sea vegetables, like kelp, typically have mineral contents that range from 10 to 100 times that of land vegetables.  

What many people don’t know about kelp is that it has higher iron, calcium, and magnesium contents than spinach; this makes kelp a top contender for those who are looking for a quick yet tasty way to nurture their bodies. In fact, some of kelp’s health benefits include regulating your blood sugar and taking care of your gut and heart health. 

When you eat seaweed, not only are you enriching your body with healthy and delicious vegetables, but you are also helping to save the planet! Due to climate change and the use of fossil fuels, the ocean has become more and more acidic, which threatens marine life. Kelp, a low-carbon hero, is able to combat ocean acidification by naturally absorbing carbon dioxide during its rapid growing process. Globally, seaweeds have the ability to remove 200 million tons of carbon dioxide from the ocean each year! 

Our Partnership with Atlantic Sea Farms  

For over a year, UMass Amherst has been partnering with Atlantic Sea Farms (ASF) in Maine, a women-run business that is the first commercially-viable seaweed farm in the US. The goal of ASF is to harvest kelp during the fishing off-seasons to diversify the uses of the ocean’s abundant resources and expose people to the environmental and health benefits of eating kelp–the superfood of the sea! When we eat kelp, we are supporting marine life through the sequestration of carbon dioxide, taking care of our bodies, and taking part in the revolutionary movement of environmentally-proactive superfoods.  

Furthermore, by farming kelp, ASF actively strengthens Maine’s coastal economies, as kelp offers another source of income for fishing families during the off-seasons. ASF even assists communities along the waterfront with starting their own kelp farms, acquiring proper gear, seeding, harvesting, and more. 

Hungry for a Taste of This Incredible Superfood?  

Through our partnership with ASF, UMass Amherst has created a wide menu that highlights the versatility and deliciousness of kelp within dishes ranging from pasta, to tacos, and even to crab-like kelp cakes. With ASF, we are developing a handbook to inspire and guide other university dining programs to incorporate this delectable superfood into their rotation.  

Be sure to keep an eye out for different kelp dishes at all UMass dining halls! You can see when, where, and which kelp dishes will be served by looking at the menu calendar on the UMass Dining app.  

Or, if you’re eager to try Atlantic Sea Farms’ kelp outside of UMass, their products are available on their website and at select retail locations under their “Where to Buy” section.