From 3D ocean farms and hatcheries to emerging kelp foods companies, women, like Leslie Booher of Sunken Seaweed, are wearing multiple hats to lead the industry. Leslie is a Marine Ecologist turned restorative ocean farmer. She’s bridging the gap between science and watermen: translating science into improved farming techniques and contributing her findings to farmer-centered resources.
Sunken Seaweed is supported by San Diego State University and the Blue Economy Incubator -- an initiative of the Port of San Diego encouraging the community to conduct environmentally sound enterprise with the waterfront. On the farm, Leslie and her partner Torre are using their skills as scientists to study sea lettuce, kelp, and gracilaria - a type of red algae - to better understand how seaweeds grow and how they enrich the ecosystem. In the spirit of perpetuating the industry’s collaborative environment, Leslie and Torre work with GreenWave to document their research as an open book of their successes and failures that will transform into a Farmer Toolkit tailored to the West Coast. With the help of Kelp Ecologist Dr. Matt Edwards, Sunken Seaweed is building a library of kelp expertise to help pave the way for future ocean farmers in California and beyond.
For Leslie, restorative ocean farming is the rebirth of seaweed and aquaculture, and women are fervently rebuilding this new frontier. She’s eager to harvest data to benefit prospective farmers and food for San Diego’s sustainable seafood movement.