Restorative ocean farming is a developing industry offering opportunities to both newcomers and experts alike. Catherine Puckett is the latter -- a lifelong mariner and a seasoned shellfish farmer who is now incorporating seaweed into her farm on Block Island, RI.
Since originally starting with quahog clams, Catherine has introduced scallops, oysters, and most recently, sea greens, to her crop list. She values the species diversity that the restorative ocean farming model emphasizes, and introduces new species when possible. GreenWave’s Farmer-in-Training (FIT) program helped Catherine conceptualize the 3D ocean farming model for her site and integrate new ideas into her existing farm design, which enabled her to approach the permitting process with confidence. Catherine will be growing kelp on her site for the first time this season, using kelp seed grown in the GreenWave Hatchery that is provided to new farmers enrolled in the FIT program.
Block Islanders have historically collected Irish Moss, a local seaweed, as an export used in a variety of trades including pharmaceuticals and textile manufacturing. Restorative ocean farming is an opportunity for Catherine to honor this tradition of seaweed on Block Island while also restoring the local marine ecosystem. Being the first on the Island to incorporate kelp in her operation, she hopes to inspire other local ocean farmers to follow her lead. As the only independently woman-run ocean farm on the island, Catherine uses her gear to make a statement, painting her boat bright shades of pink and teal to normalize women on the water. Catherine hopes to empower other women to take on leadership roles in the new restorative ocean farming industry; GreenWave is eager to support her efforts!