Hawaii & Alaska
Bull kelp bobs near Favorite Reef in Saginaw Channel west of Shelter Island on Sept. 14, 2021 near Juneau. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

AK - OPINION: Kelp farming helps foster Alaska's economic independence, food security

Alaska is home to many remote communities in coastal, arctic and subarctic environments. The difficulty of transporting food to many of these areas means that food insecurity is a huge issue. According to the Food Bank of Alaska, about one in eight Alaskans face hunger.

In Cordova, a coastal community that is off the road system, groceries come to the town by barge or plane. Long transportation times mean that produce is often bruised or wilted when it arrives. Many of the nutrients have been lost, and prices are hugely marked up because of transportation costs. For homes where money is already scarce, fresh and healthy produce is simply not accessible.

To address the issue of food insecurity, the Alaska Food Policy Council recommends that Alaska produce more food in-state to combat this issue. Kelp farms, like Cordova’s own Noble Ocean Farms, are rising up to help build strong local food networks and increase Alaska’s climate resilience.

Kelp is considered a superfood. According to Healthline, kelp contains high amounts of minerals, like magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and folate, as well as a whole host of vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of iodine, which can support thyroid health, leading to better brain function and higher energy levels.

Seafood Nutrition Partnership adds that kelp has a high level of antioxidants. These can protect cardiovascular health and help fight off other diseases. Kelp is also rich in fiber and healthy fats, like Omega-3s. Did you know fish get most of their Omega-3s from eating seaweed?

Interestingly, kelp contains alginates that clump toxins together, which can clean out the lymphatic systems and flush toxins out of the body. Kelp can also help people with diabetes regulate glucose levels in their blood, according to nutrition website Eat This, Not That.

Read more.