Although oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, they only produce 2% of its food. Not surprisingly, that’s led many experts to say the solutions to the world’s hunger problems lie in the sea, not the land. And fish aren’t the most viable option: the United Nations Environment Program has said that our fish supplies are on track to drastically decrease within the next half century.
Not so with seaweed. Kelp, a type of seaweed, has a number of benefits: it’s rich in nutrients, low in fat and one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. One study form the Netherlands estimates that only one percent of the Earth’s ocean surface would be needed to grow the amount of seaweed equal to the amount of all food we grow on land. Some cultures have already caught on. “In Korean culture, seaweed is like bread,” Jin Jun, the founder of SeaSnax told TIME in June. Companies like SeaSnax are trying to market kelp in the Western world, where we’re already getting used to eating seaweed salads with out sushi. It’s an acquired taste, though—for now.
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