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Learn about kelp from the farmers that cultivate it

Suzie and Jay Flores, Stonington kelp farmers.
Elizabeth Ellenwood
Suzie and Jay Flores, Stonington kelp farmers.

New England Kelp Harvest Week is coming to Southeastern Connecticut for Earth Day.

Kelp is a seaweed that grows naturally in the waters of Long Island Sound. It has many environmental benefits, and can be eaten.

Kelp farmer Suzie Flores said not everyone is aware of its benefits for humans and the environment.

“It absorbs excess carbon and nitrogen from the ocean,” Flores said. “Cultivating seaweed can provide a habit for other species and it can also absorb energy from storm surges.”

Flores is one of several kelp farmers in Connecticut that cultivates sugar kelp, which can be eaten. She also supplies seaweed to local restaurants in the state and Rhode Island.

Flores helps organize the Harvest Week.

“We’re gonna do a walkthrough of kelp and how they can include it in their curriculum,” Flores said. “This is all offered through the Yellow Farmhouse, which is a Connecticut-based, Stonington-based nonprofit. And then on April 22, that same nonprofit, along with all of the Connecticut seaweed farmers will be gathering at Grey Sail Brewery and we’re going to be doing a kind of small kelp primer explaining to people, this is kelp and we’re all going to be around to answer people’s questions.”

Details about the activities of the New England Kelp Harvest Week can be found at newenglandkelp.com. The event runs until April 30.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.