Restorative ocean farming is a new industry - uncharted territory - and women have emerged as leaders at every level. Connecticut farmer Suzie Flores is one of them. She’s growing kelp with her husband, Jay, an Iraq war veteran, on their farm, Stonington Kelp Co. Suzie’s intentions for her farm started small; however, she and Jay quickly found themselves with the ‘go big or go home’ mentality for their farm. They started with just a few lines in the water in 2017, and are already scaling their farm in their second season to include additional lines and species.
For Suzie, restorative ocean farming is a cooperative movement, rather than a competitive one, with a focus on new business values like restoring the planet and nurturing local communities -- including her own family. From demonstrating the transformation of kelp from an amber-brown to a vibrant green after taking a bath in boiling water for her daughter’s 1st grade class to delivering kelp for use as fertilizer in her son’s school garden, Suzie is introducing restorative ocean crops to her local community through multiple channels. She’s given presentations about her farm at places like the Florence Griswold Museum, and is eager to help train and support new farmers as her skills develop.
When she first started, Suzie expected this new world would be dominated by men, but found GreenWave’s Farmer-in-Training program welcoming -- and women-run. Here at GreenWave, we are reveling in the possibility of this industry being built and led by women. This field is wide open for women’s leadership at every level, from beginning farmers and entrepreneurs to hatchery technicians and policy experts. We’re excited to champion women, like Suzie, as leaders in this new industry and continue to share their stories. This is just the beginning!